Episode 23 – JuvoHub Podcast
Resident retention has become an even more significant challenge due to the pandemic. Leslie Thaxton joins us to discuss what the future of resident retention looks like and how she and her team plan to keep making a difference.
Estimated reading time: 3 minutes
Our special guest: Leslie Thaxton from RangeWater Real Estate
Leslie Thaxton is the Regional Director at RangeWater Real Estate. She has been in the industry since 2001 and got her start as a leasing professional. She loves what she does and is very passionate about her on-site teams and taking care of the residents.
Resident retention has gone through many changes over the years. Unfortunately, resident retention can quickly become impersonal. It's the “throw a BBQ once a year, and you are good to go” mentality.
Leslie starts off our show by sharing how Covid, for once, actually did the property management industry a favor. How do you work on resident retention when you can’t get together? Her team’s response was to bring back some “old school” things. Writing personal notes or sending flowers to a resident to show appreciation can have a lasting impact. That was just the start.
Key Questions/Topics Covered
Tell us why you are so passionate about resident retention.
Resident retention is so important. It is easier and financially responsible to keep a resident rather than have a revolving door of tenants. Residents that feel valued based on their experience with your teams will generally stay. They need to feel heard and that their needs are being met.
What have you noticed that has changed about resident retention? Has it become harder?
I feel that we, unfortunately, have forgotten some of the “old school” basics. Residents want to feel like we truly know and care about them. A handwritten personal note for a resident who may have lost a loved one or some flowers can show this.
With Covid, we needed to think outside of the box. We couldn’t just shrug our shoulders and tell our residents “sorry, we can’t do anything”. People’s nerves were raw being stuck at home. There was a need to find ways to connect and show them how much we cared and wanted to help.
We got creative from having socially-distanced personal patio parties with a mariachi band, to Zoom baking. We found ways to get together in safe and fun ways, and I think this was key in helping our residents feel cared for.
Has the pandemic changed the way we retain residents?
I think moving forward, we will combine both pre-covid retention practices and incorporate the new things we came up with. It will be nice to have those pool parties again, but Zoom get-togethers will continue because some just prefer them. We need to focus on doing something for everyone.
How do we find out what our residents want? The younger generation?
Surveys are the best way to determine this. You can then plan accordingly. I see virtual events being more popular with the younger generation, so that needs to be made available along with in-person events.
How are you helping your team understand the importance of resident retention from a financial aspect?
Training is a big part of this. I feel everyone should have access to training from management to maintenance and everyone in between. Proper training highlights that it’s financially more responsible to retain a resident than to have a unit empty.
Training will also show how clear communication, follow-up, and caring for our residents’ needs will make retention easy and attainable.
What one actionable tip could you share that has served you well as an educator?
Don’t ghost your residents!Leslie Thaxton
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