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Reducing Resident Complaints May Be Easier Than You Think

by Amanda Cupp on August 5th, 2015

We’re hardwired for the negative, but reducing resident complaints may be easier than you think.

Recently a property manager asked me, “Why does one problem overshadow all the things we do right around here?” Hmmm… an interesting conundrum. So I did a little research and here’s what I found.

Our brains are hardwired to react more strongly to negative stimuli1. A survival instinct. However the brain’s same bad-news bias that keeps us alert to danger, spills over into all aspects of our lives.

Because of the disproportionate weight of the negative, balance [i.e. satisfaction, contentment] doesn’t mean a 50-50 negative/positive split. Researchers studying married couples found a specific ratio—five to one—between the amount of positivity and negativity required to make married life satisfying. Marriages with five times as much positive feelings and interactions as negative were more stable.

It’s human nature. Now how can property managers make this work for them? The Top 10 Resident Complaints from J. Turner Research2 instantly comes to mind. Property managers have little control over rental rates—the #1 resident complaint. But 3 of the top 5 complaints, are directly related to customer service. And 7 of the top 10 can be eased with effective communications for property management.

People aren’t happy when their expectations aren’t met. Make that work for you. Sending simple, direct messages to your residents is the easiest way to set their expectations and minimize negative surprises. An automated messaging service like One Call Now makes it easy for your staff and convenient for your residents. Use it to send voice and SMS text messages via land lines, mobile phones, email and social media. Automated features save loads of staff time. Multiple delivery points for each resident help ensure they stay informed.

The property managers I know who are committed to keeping their resident population well informed all agree that the payoff is well worth the effort.

J. Turner’s Top 10 Resident Complaints:
#1           Rental Rates
#2           Poor grounds/common area upkeep
#3           Disorganized staff / lack of communication with staff
#4           Quality of response to maintenance requests
#5           Overall customer service of management staff
#6           Quality of parking / parking availability
#7           Concerns over security/safety/lighting
#8           Lack of upgraded amenities
#9           Pets not on leash / poor pet waste removal
#10         General lack of preventative maintenance

1 Estroff Marano at Psychology Today http://www.psychologytoday.com/articles/200306/our-brains-negative-bias

2 http://www.jturnerresearch.com/_blog/press-releases/post/j-turner-research-reveals-top-10-apartment-resident-customer-satisfaction-complaints/