Have you been reviewing the communications sent to your residents in the past few months and found that they aren’t opening emails? Or perhaps, they aren’t reading text messages about ground maintenance and are unpleasantly surprised by the noise? A resident might not be engaged in the community for several reasons. Let’s take a look at three residents – Jacob, Sally, and Sandy – and understand those reasons.
Jacob works full-time during the day as a manager of a local coffee and bakery shop. He’s also a very busy dad, dropping the kids off to swimming practice in the evenings and cheering them on during competitions. Thus, after a long day’s work, heavy traffic on the way home, and picking up the kids from practice, Jacob missed seeing an email from the managers.
Sally recently moved into a three-bedroom condo after living in an apartment for four years. This is the first time that she is a part of a condo association. Therefore, the experience is very new to her and she doesn’t know how to receive community updates.
Sandy has been living in the community for two years now but hasn’t shown an interest in community ongoings recently. She finds it too difficult to know what is going on in the community or what association rules she has to abide by.
How can you compete against time crunches, lack of understanding, and apathy to effectively reach your community?
1) Focus on transparent communications
Any communication your team sends should focus on improving the transparency of your operations. This is one step that goes a long way toward building resident engagement. Residents with less time will want to find a way to be involved and the company can gain the trust of previously uninterested residents.
2) Use direct mailers or flyers to make the initial intro
Direct mailers and flyers are a great way to make the initial introduction to residents who aren’t engaged. Although direct mailers can be costly depending on the volume, this avenue could be money well spent if it increases resident engagement and reduces problems. For example, you opted to send a direct mailer to the entire community on the recently launched resident web portal. Let’s see how each resident reacted:
- Jacob is happy to be knowledgeable of when maintenance will arrive to fix the water pipes on his property so he can be present.
- Sally is now more at ease because she can learn about the community she lives in. Specifically, she will learn how to pay her dues online and understand the association rules.
- Sandy can now receive updates on community ongoings, events, and how her contribution is valuable. Being proactive and taking small incremental steps can make a big difference in building the foundation for trust.
Being proactive and taking small incremental steps can make a big difference in building the foundation for trust.
3) Use multi-channel online communications
Make it easy for your residents to get information quickly by using multi-channel communications. If you stick to just sending out emails, you risk reaching out to those who do not have an email or aren’t tech-savvy. There is a popular saying in marketing – “Be where the customer is”. Similarly, the best policy for managers to reach disengaged residents is to be active on the communication channels they use. Those channels might be a website, social media, email, phone calls, or text messages.
4) Keep the message short and to the point
People tend to have less attention span when they multi-task. Long messages lose focus and will further disengage residents who already aren’t engaged. Additionally, messages to residents should be short and concise. The language should be easy enough to understand and the resident should know why they are receiving the message.
5) Encourage resident engagement through events & scheduled meetings
The best way to spur some activity from busy, apathetic, or uninformed residents is to be proactive yourself as a community manager. Encourage residents to attend the board meetings and explain why it is important to be involved and give their inputs. Host fun social events for the community to not only serve as an ice-breaker but get them more involved and knowledgeable. Additionally, you can schedule a one-on-one meeting or phone call with the resident to get down to the crux of their concerns and come to a resolution. The resident will appreciate that their property/community manager is taking time out for them and that their voice matters to the community. They will truly feel that they are part of a community that takes their best interests to heart.
Facing Low Engagement/Responsiveness Challenges
One of the most prevalent challenges a community or property manager faces is reaching unresponsive or disengaged residents. Low attention spans, disinterest, or lack of an understanding of how a community works can be obstacles to reaching residents. However, being proactive and setting your company or community for transparent operations can help make the transition from a dis-coordinated community to a more engaged one, easier.
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Pilera Software is the premier community and property management suite that has helped thousands of community managers and back-office personnel enhance communications, improve customer service, and manage compliance and operations. May we help your community achieve these success stories? Book a demo to see how Pilera’s community management suite can help your company.