by Kimberly Cameron
Small Services Add Up to Resident Satisfaction
Property managers can shut down their swimming pool and spa for a week for renovations, and residents will be understanding. Temporary gym or game room closures for equipment replacement are generally acceptable, as well. Managers can even require residents to relocate their vehicles off-site for a few days while the parking lot is repaved, and receive little push-back.
But run out of printer paper or forget to restock the complimentary coffee machine, and the office team is going to hear about it.
It’s often the attention to the little things that keeps everything on an even keel at apartment communities. Residents depend on those seemingly minor conveniences to help them stick to their daily routines. We’re creatures of habit, and we build dependencies on those services that have been ingrained into our daily structure.
Simple Services are Significant
Think printing isn’t important to your residents? Check with your on-site teams to see how often residents ask to have things printed. They’re probably spending far more time accommodating resident printer requests that you think.
More than 32% of apartment residents who responded to a recent survey said their printing, copying and scanning needs have increased since they started working or schooling from home, due to the pandemic. Print volume has also gone up accordingly. More than 57.4% of residents said they now print more than 10 pages each month and 31.5% of survey respondents reported that they print more than 25 pages per month.
The survey also asked residents which amenities they would like their community to offer to accommodate their working/schooling from home needs. Predictably, the No. 1 answer, listed by 54.5% of respondents, was faster internet service. Perhaps surprisingly, right on its heels as the No. 2 answer was wireless self-service printing, copying and scanning, named by 50% of survey respondents.
While a printer/scanner/copier available for resident use may have previously seemed like an auxiliary amenity, it has become a must-have feature in the multifamily space, not to mention a marketable service.
Many residents will be working or schooling from home for the foreseeable future. According to the World Economic Forum, 98% of people would like to have the option to work remotely for the rest of their careers as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally, 86% of parents now want to work flexibly, compared to 46% pre-coronavirus. They’re now looking for an apartment community that makes that feasible by featuring the necessary equipment and services to accommodate their current work-from-home needs.
Properties have to account not only for their residents’ changing necessities but also the demands that those needs will place on on-site associates. If more than a third of residents have experienced an increased need for printing services, that translates directly to additional workload for on-site teams. The man-hours required to facilitate resident print jobs has become significant for communities that haven’t already adopted an alternative solution.
By implementing a wireless, self-service printing platform, management companies can create a simple convenience for residents, and remove the potential for a massive headache for their teams.
The Little Things Keep Residents Happy
One of the toughest tasks faced by multifamily communities since the start of the pandemic has been maintaining resident satisfaction. Residents likely didn’t select their apartment based on Monday donuts or wireless printing capabilities. It was the poolside cabanas, rooftop lounge and state-of-the-art cycling machines that probably caught their attention.
Unfortunately for property managers, most major amenities and common areas are now operating under occupancy limits and restricted hours. It’s a hassle for residents to reserve time in those spaces and, regardless of the reasoning, they’re likely not thrilled about the extended lack of access to those paid-for facilities.
With big-ticket property features at least somewhat off the table, it’s up to management teams to fill other gaps in residents’ lives in order to demonstrate the value of the living experience being offered. That’s possible through explicit attention to detail, a recognition of the evolving needs of residents and by providing little perks whenever possible.
So, keep a stockpile of coffee creamer, make sure paper trays are full, keep Taco Tuesday on Tuesday and keep residents happy.