We are taught to be friendly and inviting when talking with residents, but is there a line? Mark and Jonathan take us through the top ten expressions you should never say to a resident. Some will definitely make you chuckle, but they all show the importance of being careful to keep our feet out of our mouths.
We reached out to community members to help us create this list. Some are no-brainers, while others could use a little more tact. Either way, this highlights how careful property management professionals need to be when interacting with residents.
Key Questions/Topics Covered
Top 10 Things You Should Never Say to a Resident
- How did you end up in a wheelchair?
- How far along are you?
- Our policy says…
- Did you see that guy from apartment 134 get arrested last night?
- Your lease says that it’s not our fault.
- Are you single?
- I heard from Marsha in D5 that you have a new boy toy.
- It smells a little like Mary Jane in here.
- What’s up with all the loud banging coming from your apartment?
- Night, night, don’t let the bedbugs bite.
As we said earlier, some of these are no-brainers. Go ahead and ask a resident if they are single and watch the sexual harassment claim ensue. And why would you ever risk a possibly very uncomfortable conversation by asking a woman when her baby is due? Others though, require a little more thought and a whole lot of finesse.
For instance, when discussing your policy with a resident who is probably already not in the greatest of moods, remember to tone down the corporate speech and follow up with a human explanation. This should also be the case when discussing a conflict over a lease. Remember, there isn’t a person alive that actually reads the fine print. Being careful with how we word things can go a long way to avoiding complaints.
Another point to keep in mind is that while we, of course, want to be friendly to residents, they are not our friends; they are our customers. We need to be careful about the type of conversations we have with them and avoid gossip, especially about other residents.
Teaching Takeaway Points
We are sure you have heard many other foot-in-mouth comments. Use this to get a conversation started with your team. Ask them what they would add to our list or make your own top ten for your community. Whatever you choose, just get out there and start listening and working with your team to avoid these conversation failures.
Jonathan (00:16): Well, hello, everyone. Class is back in session with episode 50 with Mark Howell from Howl Creative Concepts. Mark, how are you, my friend?
Mark (00:23): I am good, my friend. How are you doing? Glad to be here. Thanks for having me back.
Jonathan (00:27): I know, I know we're having so much fun. I'm loving some of the new things that we're doing with this show. And today you and I are going to do the top 10 expressions you should never say to a resident. So we're playing off of the late night, David Letterman. Is that what it is? Late night show. And we just wanna provide a little bit of humor for everyone today, but as always some good teaching points. So good things to think about. You should never say to a resident. So number one, Mark, what do we got?
Mark (01:02): All right, I gotta put on my glasses to see this. All right, so number one is to someone that is possibly handy capable. How did you end up in that wheelchair?
Jonathan (01:11): Yeah. Yeah.
Mark (01:27): Oh, I hate that one.
Jonathan (01:28): The resident might say, like, what are you talking about? How along am I? Nope. So be careful with that question. All right.
Mark (01:38): That's terrible. All right. Number three is our policy says they don't give a crap about the policy. You know, it's kind of like when people are always saying, well, due to our policy, or our part policy states, you have to remember that saying that someone that's already upset is never a good thing.
Jonathan (01:58): Right? Exactly. Yeah. It's like, you may have to use the word, but be sure to have a human
Mark (02:28): That's a great one. I love that. All right, so number five, your lease says that's not our fault.
Jonathan (02:40): Yeah, so I, you know, I was reading that one and these all have been contributed, by the way, these aren't just things that Mark and I have come up with. We were, these were contributed by the community of things that they have heard actually on site. And, so just to kind of give everyone some context. And that one, you know, when I was talking to the person who contributed it at that particular quote, you know. I think that goes back to the, our policy says one very, very similar. It's just like, you know, we have the paperwork about what this should be, and that should be, and how this should be. And, you know, I don't know about any of our audience, but I doubt anyone has actually taken the time to read every single fine line print in an apartment lease. I can't imagine someone would have.
Mark (03:31): They haven't, I can pretty much guarantee you that.
Jonathan (03:37): Right. Right. Okay. Number six. Ooh, woo. This is like, I'm just wondering, like how many different types of violations would be this question if you say this to a resident. Hey, are you single?
Mark (03:49): Ooh. Boy, that can be taken so many different wrong ways.
Jonathan (04:06): Yeah. Yeah. You know, and that's another one. I was like, our previous show Mark and I were talking about water cooler talk and so on. But this is interesting for me, even that perspective. Like, how you wanna be friendly and connect well with your residents. But, I mean, this is really, really going probably to a whole other wrong level when you start getting into gossip about other residents and what's happening in their lives. And that could just lead to so many potential lawsuits and other things. Right?
Mark (04:41): Yeah. Even when you think it's, well, I'm gonna say this loosely, even when you think it's appropriate, like in a fun setting and maybe, you know, this person, but you found out this information from Marsha in D5, I think you have to be very careful, you know. We've always said in this industry that these residents are not our friends. Right?They are our customers and we have to be very, very careful about what type of conversations we allow ourselves to get in with them. So, yeah, that's a good one.
Jonathan (05:13): Yeah. This next one, number eight. And I will have to admit for those who were around back when we had the apartment chat on Twitter, I was and I've always been that naive person. Apparently everyone was talking about on this Twitter chat about Mary Jane and Mary Jane was doing this and Mary Jane was doing that and I'm on this Twitter and I'm like, who, who are they talking about? How can they talk? Who's Jane? Like, that's not, doesn't sound very nice. And then of course, all of my wonderful industry friends had to explain to me what, what Mary Jane was. So anyway, coming to number eight, you know, this again is another one of those things that depending on what state you live in and what location, you gotta be careful about how you talk about things like that. And so accusing someone or saying what's that Mary Jane smell or something along that line, more than likely is not a good thing you should ever say to a resident.
Mark (06:17): All right. Number nine on our list is can you explain all that loud banging in your apartment?
Jonathan (06:29): Uh, what do you,
Mark (06:54): Oh gosh. Woo. Don't ever say that on property. Yeah.
Jonathan (06:59): Bugs is like, if there was to be a horror film that was dedicated to property management and that was it, it would be about some bedbugs that turn into like, you know, mutations and start taking over the furniture and people and all kinds of things.
Mark (07:14): Eating us whole.
Jonathan (07:17): Exactly. Just even the word I know every time I hear that word, it's like instantly you just start feeling.
Mark (07:23): A little itchy.
Jonathan (07:24): Check the furniture and, oh goodness. So anyway, we just thought we'd bring a little humor to a serious topic. Obviously, you know, there are some things you should never say to a resident, and maybe you can use this episode as a, as a teaching tool for your team to talk about things that you've heard and share it amongst yourselves, things that you probably should never say to a resident and understand the reason why, what right. Mark.
Mark (07:52): Absolutely. I think we all could spend a little more time spending time out in the office, just listening to what types of conversation we are having our employees are having. So we can get in front of a lot of this. When you, you know, I've never been on a call like this, Jonathan, any type of conversation where we've talked about the top 10 things, not to say because there, it could be like the top 100 things not to say, right? Like this list could go on and on. But I think until you really know, what's being said, you won't know what your top 10 things are that you think your employees need to avoid. So start making notes, spend time out in the office and start listening to things that you might deem inappropriate, make a little diary of those in host set in your next team meeting.
Jonathan (08:41): Absolutely. And since this is a podcast and we love our community and love your feedback, just tell us, we would love to hear what are the craziest things you've ever heard, an employee say to a resident, or, you know, anything along that line and share it on our YouTube channel, share it on LinkedIn when mark and I post this or on our Instagram account, make sure you're following us on YouTube and our IG account that's at, at Juvohub. So we would love to hear from you, you know, like Mark said, there's probably hundreds of expressions that we should never ever say to a resident. So it'll be good teaching for all of us, if you could contribute what you, um, you know, what you've heard. So, all right, well, that was fun. Top 10 expressions, never to say to a resident. And I'm sure we'll probably do this one again. Once we get some community feedback. So Mark, how from how creative concepts, what's your site? My friend.
Mark (09:36): Yes. It's um, Howl Creative Concepts .com. Howl is spelled H O W L. So kind of like how at the moon, uh, and I can be reached at Mark at Howl, which is H O W L Creative Concepts.com.
Jonathan (09:48): Yeah, very good. And, uh, Jonathan, so from Market Me Social, this is Juvohub episode 50. We have met our class objectives today to help you appreciate things you should never say to a resident. So class dismissed, take care, everyone. Bye bye.
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