The renewal rate of existing renters has been on the rise since Roxanne Prada, a regional property manager, began a community text messaging campaign seven months ago.
“I get more feedback from my residents via text messaging,” said Prada, who manages Franklin Street Management Services' 1,808 multifamily housing units in Florida. “I’ve grown closer to them and, as a result, they inform me of things about the property I may not have otherwise known.”
A significant number of landlords are increasing their level of customer service initiatives in an effort to retain renters.
“It’s hard to find good tenants so when we do find them, we go out of our way to keep them,” said Prada. “The speed at which my tenants get back to me is quicker than making a phone call, especially for my younger residents.”
Establishing a one-on-one texting relationship with residents is a reliable way to increase an apartment community’s retention rate. Text messages have a 98% open rate while email has only a 20% open rate, according to Mobile Marketing Watch,
“The benefits we have found from texting is how easy it is to send out mass messages and how it reduces costs in printing and payroll to distribute flyers,” said Prada.
Whether it is to follow up on rent payment due dates, notify a resident of a completed work order, send an invite to an upcoming event or alert residents of a lease renewal deadline, property managers are getting hip to the efficiency of SMS.
“Never has text messaging all residents, all prospects or individual subscribers been so quick and easy,” said Terry Slattery, president of For Rent Media Solutions,
which recently launched a text messaging platform call Community Messenger.
According to experts, launching a successful mass texting campaign requires three important elements. First, property managers should customize and include pleasantries to personalize a text message that might otherwise be perceived as distant by tenants.
“We start the message with their first name and we never leave our tenants without a remark made as part of polite conversation,” said Prada. “‘We are here to help’ or ‘we are only a text away’ and ‘don’t hesitate to contact us’ is vocabulary we use to relay politeness within a text.”
Second, renters are busy and they appreciate information that is useful to them like package delivery notices or discount promotions.
Finally, secure permission in advance.
“We give prospective tenants a waiver to sign while they are completing their application for occupancy or at the time they are signing their lease,” Prada said.
is an author, lecturer and TV host based in New York.
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