The Demand Solutions Blog

Joanne Chapman-Reps

Recent Posts

2019 Resolutions: Three Ways to Create Effective Organizational Change

Posted by Joanne Chapman-Reps on Dec 27, 2018 8:23:00 AM

New Year’s resolutions typically revolve around some type of change. It might be a change to our routine and well-being (such as fitness, yoga or meditation) or a change within ourselves (Weight loss seems to be a popular one post-holiday indulgence!)   However, although people make resolutions somewhere around the beginning of January, many of us have forgotten or abandoned them within about a month.    

The New Year is often prime time for change within companies. However, just like the New Year’s resolutions people attempt, those changes get lost or forgotten if they are not planned and executed well.   

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Topics: New Year's Resolutions

The 4 Levels of Customer (Resident) Experience

Posted by Joanne Chapman-Reps on Oct 20, 2017 4:00:00 PM

Open up any business publication and it’s a pretty good bet you’ll see something that talks about customer service or the customer experience. In the multifamily industry, the focus by nature is on our customer - the resident. 

However, one problem with much of what’s written on the topic is that customer service and customer experience is often used interchangeably. To drive the type of results you want from your initiatives, you must understand the difference between service and experience, and the continuum of customer experience.

Customer service is about process. It's a lot of the standards and internal processes. It's the basics that we have defined for our teams: the stand, smile and greet, the way that we engage with a customer when we meet them, when they come in the office, when we pick up the phone and so on.

Customer experience, on the other hand, is a journey that companies go on as they start to evolve from providing service, that’s focused on our processes, to truly focusing on the customer and crafting an experience designed for them: and equipping our teams with the necessary processes and products to deliver that experience purposefully.

Customer service is about standards, processes and techniques. Customer experience is how everything comes together to create an experience for the customer, and it’s how that experience feels to the customer.

As you design your intentional customer experience, it’s important to understand there are, in essence, four levels of experience:

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Topics: Customer Experience

9 Tips for Implementing Successful Change Management

Posted by Joanne Chapman-Reps on Jul 14, 2017 10:00:00 AM

Companies spend a lot of time, effort and energy introducing new initiatives into the organization (often referred to as a rollout), some with more frequency than others. Before starting a ‘rollout’ it’s very important to remember that what you’re doing is introducing a change. And, more importantly it’s important to realize that change is not easy to introduce (or sustain), and it certainly doesn’t happen on its own. 

Have you ever participated in a conversation with other leaders where the topic of conversation is focused on frustration about a new initiative that the teams are not embracing? Often the solution for that problem is a request for more training since the belief is that the teams didn’t ‘get it’ the first time. However, if you dig deeper you will probably discover that the root cause of the problem isn’t that the teams didn’t understand the training, the reality is that the initiative wasn’t introduced with an intentional change management approach. As a result, the teams (for one reason or another) are still doing things the old way. 

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Topics: Customer Experience, Change Management

6 Tips for Handling Renewals: How to Create Value for Your Resident

Posted by Joanne Chapman-Reps on Apr 6, 2017 12:00:00 PM

When we think about renewals, it’s probably tempting for most of us in the multifamily apartment industry to immediately think about the renewal ‘process.’ As we know, that process is triggered by an offer sent to a resident because their current lease is ending. That is the time when an associate at the community starts to engage with the resident to begin the conversation (or perhaps negotiation) that typically occurs when it’s time to renew a lease. The discussion continues, often over multiple conversations, until they renew or decide to move-out.

However, if you consider the resident’s perspective, the reality about renewals is that ‘process’ starts long before the pricing tool calculates the renewal rate and the offer is sent. In fact, the ‘process’ starts the moment the (then) prospective resident makes contact with us for the very first time as they begin to shop for their new apartment home. They consider their experience with us as a continuous series of events; they don’t differentiate by our lease, move-in, renew and/or move out processes…. it’s all one living experience to them. And how we make them feel as we interact with them and help make their living experience the best it can be (each and every day) is what they remember.

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Topics: Renewals

Why More Training Isn't Enough to Solve Your Multifamily Sales Problems

Posted by Joanne Chapman-Reps on Nov 17, 2016 4:00:00 PM

Everyone wants positive sales numbers, right? After all, when leasing/sales numbers are strong, it means the overall financial health of the organization should also be strong.

But what happens when those numbers aren’t as strong as you’d like them to be? How does leadership react? What steps are taken to improve results? In my experience, it is often tempting to reach for the ‘easy’ button…and believe “everything will improve if we just do more training!”

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Topics: multifamily sales

5 Ways to Use Customer Feedback in Multifamily Housing

Posted by Joanne Chapman-Reps on Sep 2, 2016 1:00:00 PM

If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you know that we believe strongly in soliciting customer feedback to help improve the customer experience. In fact, in this post, Seven Ways to Impact the Customer Experience, asking for customer feedback is first on the list.

That’s great, right? Getting customer feedback is easy enough…send out a few surveys, conduct some interviews…and you should be all set. But getting the feedback is only part of the equation. Knowing how to use that feedback to positively impact the business, and the customer’s experience, is the ultimate goal.

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Five Ways to Coach Multifamily Leasing Teams

Posted by Joanne Chapman-Reps on Sep 25, 2015 12:00:00 PM

We know our multifamily leasing teams are typically the first point of contact for a prospective resident, and are the face of our community. And, it's important that we spend time coaching them to be their best. Here are five easy tips:

1. Create achievable goals. Leasing teams enjoy goals. They are, after all, sales people and are motivated to meet their target. However, all too often we set goals that are unachievable and thus do nothing more than de-motivate the entire team. It is important to set goals that are achievable, and don't forget to revisit the goals regularly to review progress.

2. Instead of telling teams about their performance...Ask. Taking the time to ask a leasing associate about their last phone call(s) or tour(s) seems like an obvious thing to do for leaders; but in reality we often find it much easier to jump in with suggestions such as "I heard you say x to Mr. Jones but in the future why don't you say y instead."  We do this with the best of intentions and are trying to help. However, instead of jumping in to 'fix' the problem, ask the leasing associate about what they think went well (or didn’t go well), and then pause to listen to their response. You will learn valuable information about how the leaser believed they performed, and they will learn more by reflecting on their own successes and failures rather than being “lectured.” As a bonus, often they will surprise you with ideas and opportunities for the future that you may not have thought of on your own.

3. First explain 'the why.' Take time to pause and explain the big picture to team members. Sometimes we assume that our associates understand why we’re doing something, but remember that you are aware of information (via email, conference calls, etc.) that they may not be aware of. Take time to talk with the team and explain the big picture, and how their role fits in. They will learn more about the company and will gain a greater appreciation for the task at hand.

4. Develop skills. Sales coaching often focuses on immediate sales effectiveness but remember that change does not happen overnight. Make time in your schedule for role plays, practice (especially through 'what if' discussions) and scenario analysis with team members to improve their skills. Success takes effort and development over the long term.

5. Provide frequent reinforcement. Zig Ziglar said "People often say that motivation doesn't last. Well, neither does bathing. That's why we recommend it daily". Coaches provide frequent feedback to motivate teams by reinforcing those things they are doing well, and providing this kind of feedback means that teams will continue to perform the desired behavior.

Spend some time coaching your multlifamily leasing team. It will be a win-win for everyone.

Relationship Selling Whitepaper

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