Resident experience refers to a resident’s living experience in a building. It doesn’t solely rely on trendy amenities, great designs, or flashy decor. Instead, the resident experience encompasses a holistic approach to residents’ wellbeing and fosters a sense of community within their living space. Delivering a great resident experience is an integral component of any successful development.
Resident experience impacts retention rates
It’s far more cost-effective to retain happy residents. Average turnover costs for an apartment within the industry is around £1,200, however, this number can often be significantly higher, depending on a wide variety of factors specific to the property.
Although turnover to some degree is inevitable, in many instances, developments lose residents because the living experience falls short of their expectations.
The good news is that nearly 60% of all resident turnover is preventable, according to a report by Zillow Renters, with the most significant contributors being staff performance and dissatisfaction with the building. Whilst some turnover cannot be avoided, such as a resident needing to relocate for a new job, there are still many improvements you can make to keep residents staying year after year.
Here are six ways to improve the resident experience.
Enhance communication and responsiveness
Great communication between residents and property managers is important to making everyone feel welcome. Property managers need to be seen as being proactive and keeping residents informed about all the goings on in the development, from maintenance works, onsite events being held, and general resident feedback. No resident wants to get to the lift with an armful of shopping bags, only to discover it’s out of action.
Property managers should also consider the effectiveness of sending emails and physical flyers which can be easily ignored. Instead, having a resident portal that allows for push notifications to be sent directly to a resident’s mobile phone is likely to be a more effective way of keeping residents updated and engaged.
With 31% of residents choosing not to renew their tenancy due to seeking better apartment management according to research by NMHC and Kingsley, this seems the logical place to start.
Make operations more efficient
Feedback gained by HomeViews for their 2021 Build to Rent report found that residents that had previous experience using resident portals instantly recognised how useful they would be in their new buildings. Residents who did not have access to a portal also believed it would help issues be resolved quicker. Furthermore, there were also frustrations voiced about having to email reception to book onsite amenities, which makes accessing them a lot more laborious than it needs to be.
Residents want to do things when it suits them, without having to involve anyone else. A mobile portal enables residents to complete important life admin, like paying rent, booking the gym, or reading the latest fire safety policy – without having to rely on anyone else.
Although often overlooked, parcel rooms and delivery solutions also play an important role in the resident experience, with 13% of reviews specifically talking about how useful this was in the 2022 HomeViews Report.
Having an easy and efficient way to manage deliveries is becoming increasingly important as global online retail sales are expected to reach £515 trillion by 2023, with the increasing volume of packages now being delivered to homes.
One of Spike’s clients reduced parcel processing time by 75% when switching to Spike Living. Staff are able to scan packages as they arrive which then automatically sends a notification to the relevant resident informing them that a package is ready to be collected, saving staff from having to manually message them individually. This has led to a saving of more than 9 hours per week at each development, freeing up the on-site team to focus on other value-add activities.
Streamline maintenance requests
Without an easy and simple way for residents to report issues, maintenance problems can often go unreported, with seemingly small problems at risk of turning into serious repairs.
Resident experience is greatly improved when residents can contact the management team quickly, while your team attends to maintenance requests in a timely manner.
Many residents reference resident apps and how useful they were for reporting issues and having them swiftly resolved in the 2022 HomeViews Report.
Having a residents’ app in place can speed up the reporting of issues, with residents able to quickly provide maintenance staff with better details about the task ahead. Enquiries and defect tickets can be logged centrally, as well as being tracked and shared between teams, keeping the resident informed at all times.
Connect your residents to the surrounding area
Residents aren’t just moving into your building — they’re also moving into the surrounding neighbourhood. Some residents might be moving across the country while others just across town. Therefore, many may not be familiar with the surrounding area. Connecting them with local shops and services, or details that can bring convenience to their lives is a great way of ensuring they feel engaged from the offset. Even if they are already familiar, receiving a special discount because they are a member of your community makes them feel special.
Many of Spike’s clients team up with local businesses to offer exclusive discounts to their residents on anything from cleaning services, and dog walkers, to local bars and restaurants. All of which can be promoted and driven through Spike Living.
Allow a building to be community-led
Research by Apartment Life found that the more friends a resident have within their building, the more likely they are to renew their tenancy. Without any friends living in their community, residents only have a 29% chance of renewing. That number jumps to 38% if they have 1-3 friends, and if they have 7 or more friends, there’s a 47% likelihood that they’ll renew. Facilitating safe and easy communication among members of the community allows people to get to know each other more easily.
Spike Living allows residents to create their own clubs and forums, allowing residents to find like-minded people who share similar interests. We’ve seen residents start their own book clubs, and even arrange communal BBQs and beer tasting classes, to questions being asked on utilities and hairdresser recommendations to where to find the best pint.
Unlike social media, Spike Living can be building-specific, enabling residents to meet like-minded people in their building, without being at risk from scammers and strangers.
Have a single multi-purpose portal
To keep residents happy, one multi-purpose management app is a necessity. Besides being inefficient and time-consuming, single-purpose apps also have negative effects on residents’ phones. Devices with multiple apps lack performance and drain batteries faster. And who really wants to remember which app you clicked on to do one of ten different things?
Spike’s resident engagement portal, Spike Living, allows residents to virtually manage every aspect of their lives from a single app. From being notified when a package is ready to be collected from reception, reporting maintenance issues, unlocking their front door, booking a slot at the gym, hiring a private meeting room, interacting with other residents via forums and clubs, or learning about the local retailers in which they can support, Spike Living allows residents to build budding friendships with neighbours and get the most out of their buildings.
With so many different accommodation options now available, many operators and developers have looked to ‘outdo’ one another by providing buildings with increasingly luxurious amenities. Whilst those amenities will undoubtedly make residents sit up and take notice, they become somewhat meaningless if the resident experience isn’t up to scratch.
In such a crowded market, the only way to ensure you remain at the forefront is by providing residents with an easy way to access and enjoy what’s on offer within the development and the surrounding area, something that Spike Living is proven to do.