As a property landlord or operator, tenant satisfaction should be your top priority. When the satisfaction is high, tenants are more likely to take better care of their space and renew their leases for longer periods of time. This, naturally, is the business dream of all landlords as it means stable rental income and reduced turnover costs.
We are all familiar with the basic drivers of tenant satisfaction – multi-purpose amenities, a flourishing community and local ecosystem, and technology that makes daily life easier and more enjoyable in buildings. On the other hand, there are some other significant factors influencing tenant satisfaction that often go unnoticed.
In our recent webinar, we took a look into those factors, by bringing real-life experiences and insights from Conscious Coliving‘s Naima Ritter Figueres, Urban Campus‘s Carlota Gil Carretero. Such a knowledgeable duo has a lot to say, so let’s dive in!
Create a robust onboarding process
The first impression means so much more than most people think. It sets the tone, expectation, and view for future interactions. If you offer a mediocre onboarding experience to new tenants, no doubt that it will be harder to change that in the future.
“Moving to a new place is always stressful. To make it easier, make sure that the onboarding process begins even before the move-in day. After the lease is signed, send a series of emails to help your new tenants get informed and excited about living in their new home. These emails should explain building rules and things that they should know, very openly. That way, the stress of the actual moving day is eased, because the tenants will know what to do and what to expect.”Naima Ritter Figueres, Conscious Coliving
Don’t be afraid to be hyper-specific – a substantial number of occupiers will welcome the information to what floor they should go, what door to open, and who to speak to.
“Before the move-in day, invite the new tenants to join the tenant app, so they can see who lives in their own building, and in other buildings of the operator in the particular city. They’ll have early access to important documents such as rules, guidelines, announcements, and events. This also centralises both the tenant-operator communications and connections with the wider community. Technology makes everything so much easier and supports the comfort of living.
“Explaining not only how the building works, but also how the community works in the pre-onboarding stage is so important. Share the values of your community with to-be tenants very explicitly even before they get involved in your community, so both you and they know that there is an alignment. After all, tenants are a group of strangers who are here to build a home together. Contribute to the formation of that home feeling by making sure that the members will live in harmony together.
“Convenience, design, location – these make people attracted to move into a new place, but it is the community that makes them stay longer. This is why it is vital that people get onboarded to the building with clear expectations about the community and how they fit into it, too.”Carlota Gil Carretero, Urban Campus
Distinguish between managing relationships vs. facilitating them
Creating the first spark for people to network and connect is the community manager’s responsibility. Once people get neighbourly enough, it is best to help them and let them create their own activities and events.
“Residential communities are not comparable to a hotel experience – operators should allow tenants to be the leaders of the shared living experience. It is the tenants’ job to make the community function. A good balance is having events equally organised by the staff, and the community members. The game changer is to take some of the budget that would normally be used by the operator for community activities and allocate that equally to tenant groups for creating activities they want to be involved in instead.
“The best events and activities are those that are organised by the tenants themselves, and most successful communities have facilitators, not managers who take all decisions themselves from a bottom-up perspective.”Carlota Gil Carretero, Urban Campus
Rituals are an ancient part of human nature; they serve the need to have predictability in life. In living spaces, coordinated and regular activities help people get bonded with ease, which eventually contributes to the formation of long-lasting relationships in the space.
Rituals come in all kinds and purposes.
“A simple example – we organise community meals every two weeks, and people know that these meals will take place no matter what. On top of that, there is at least one event that we organise per month that tenants can look forward to. It is important for the community managers to initiate the rituals, and then let tenants create theirs as well.”Carlota Gil Carretero, Urban Campus
Create learning and growth in the space
Living spaces that contribute to the higher growth of its residents will have an impact on tenants’ satisfaction with their stay in the building. Regardless of the type of residential space, be it student housing, co-living, or multifamily, run workshops that add value to tenants’ lives in the building, and out of it.
“Today, people really appreciate community meetings where people come together in a safe space, listen and bond without judging, speak about their personal experiences and create a vulnerable space. If we are building communities, we need to make sure that people have a deeper bond beyond the fun and entertainment – that they also go through difficult things together. If people get out of their apartments, trust each other and speak about problems, we’ll know that such communities will last longer; and grow.
“For example, we’ve seen spaces giving workshops on the basics of conscious communication. Though so underestimated, this is very important in multi-tenant spaces.”Naima Ritter Figueres, Conscious Coliving