In the first three installments of the Ultimate Guide to Marketing Your Management Company, we focused on creating a brand identity, defining a target audience, attracting the right audience to your brand and acquiring your dream client. But none of this matters if you can’t keep them.
In this guide, we’ll review top considerations in a digital world to build client retention and transform a customer into an evangelist. We’ll break down how customer service and retention is affected by a digital world and the tools you need to drive communication, engagement, and stickiness.
At the end of every sales pipeline is the ideal; not just a customer, but your evangelist. This is the end all be all of your marketing efforts, because the person becomes the next level of your marketing.
An evangelist is someone you’ve won over so completely that they espouse your goods and services to everyone they know. This is more than the person who fills out a super positive feedback survey, or leaves a five star review on Facebook.
When they run into acquaintances and former colleagues at a conference they say, “don’t forget to stop at this booth, they completely changed my work life!” They share success stories to their own social media and tag your business page, thanking you for everything you provide. These are the people you are striving to create with the last phase of your marketing.
This is especially true in the Community Association Management (CAM) industry. By definition, this industry sees a lot of internal movement – homes are bought and sold every day! This means people get to experience a lot of different choices. Sometimes current homeowners become board members a few years into your time with the community, meaning you may have to re-win over a frequently-changing board of directors. Or it can mean a homeowner or board member moves to a new community and recommends your management company. In the end, there is a massive benefit to making an evangelist out of every single person in each of your communities.
Creating evangelists is about making your current customers feel warm and fuzzy inside, and effortlessly supported in all of their needs. Here are five ways to foster evangelists in the year 2021 and beyond:
1. Focus not just on customer experience, but on employee experience.
Customer Experience (CX) has been a major marketing focus for over a decade. This emphasis has paid off for the client and their end-user experience, especially when it comes to digital marketing. But we’re forgetting something if we’re only considering the customer. We’re forgetting that there is a direct correlation between customer satisfaction and employee satisfaction, and employee experience is key in driving customer loyalty.
Employee morale is a key component in brand loyalty, and driving morale can be achieved by prioritizing empowerment, efficiency, and effectiveness.
2. Create on an omnichannel approach to communication.
The term ‘omnichannel’ is a fancy way to say that you need to be everywhere to connect with your customer. It means providing a seamless and consistent experience for your client across a variety of channels.
In 2021 and beyond, an omnichannel approach means means providing the ability for your client to converse with you in the platforms that they prefer. Whether it’s text, email, phone or WhatsApp, conversations need to be conducted on their terms.
An omnichannel approach isn’t just about direct one-on-one communication, either. During Brand Attraction Week, we discussed the importance of online reviews in building your company’s brand presence and reputation. Review management plays a massive role in customer service success, and a company that is responsive to both positive and negative reviews will be viewed as a customer-centric brand.
3. Create a personalized experience for the homeowner.
For years, consumers have grown accustomed to hyper-personalized advertisement. If one looks at a bed set online but doesn’t buy anything, that very bed set will appear in their Instagram feed later that night. Because we’ve adapted to personalized advertisement, we now expect personalized approaches to everything we experience in a brand – from marketing to service.
It’s easy to consider what personalization means from a digital marketing perspective – from dynamic email content to retargeting messaging, the list goes on and on. From a service perspective, personalization is all about creating an environment in which the client feels they are at the center of your universe as you’re interacting with them. There are many ways to create a personalized approach to service that builds retention, including:
4. Use technology to be proactive in your service approach.
Finally, it’s time to look at your goals for the company. You probably have written down your plans with respects to acquisition and profit. But have you built KPIs around your satisfaction scores from your boards and homeowners, and would you even know where to start?
By developing a numeric goal towards service, you are putting retention as a top priority within your company and you are aligning your team with your customer retention goals. There are numerous ways you can measure service within your organization and it would be easy to go down a rabbit hole into various calculations. However, you can keep things simple by developing a Net Promoter Score.
A Net Promoter Score is an annual score one would obtain from their boards that would simply answer the question, “How likely are you to recommend our association management company to a board?” High responses indicate higher levels of satisfaction with one’s experience. To start an NPS process, you can deliver a survey to your clients to get an initial read (many tools such as SurveyMonkey offer out-of-the-box NPS templates for you to use very easily.) From there, determine a goal for the following year based on what you feel is reasonable and achievable. The commentary you receive from your negative promoters will help you understand the key focus areas for your team. For a simple template to use to start the NPS process, take a peek at this template from SurveyMonkey.
Evangelists are built through service.
Oftentimes when we think of creating value to build customer loyalty, we emphasize service during the initial sale and onboarding process. While these are crucial moments in building the relationship with our clients, they are often not the moment in which a customer becomes an evangelist. Loyalty happens when a customer service issue is resolved. If a client has a tremendous experience when a problem was handled for them, they will become lifelong champions of a brand. On the flip side, 70 percent of customers will lose all brand loyalty after just one negative experience. That’s why it’s so important to understand the latest trends in service and retention and consistently apply strategies and tactics within your team to drive efficiency and service within your associations.
In the last section, we discussed a omnichannel approach to communication as a key driver in customer loyalty for 2021 and beyond. When it comes to communication, your clients expect you to be where they are. They have no intentions of changing their communication behavior to adapt to your company; if you want to keep them as a customer, they expect you to adapt to them. The key to a strong omnichannel communication approach? You guessed it – your phone.
What Is A Mobile-First Strategy?
When was the last time you logged into Facebook or Instagram from your computer? Unless you are in digital marketing or have to regularly review social content for your work, you are probably scrolling through social media on your phone while you’re sprawled out on the couch – not when you’re sitting neatly in front of a desktop. Now imagine if a social media company that you regularly consume developed a product that looked really good on your computer, but terrible on your phone. You’d be shocked, right?
This is what we mean by a mobile-first approach. In web development, a mobile-first strategy is one in which the mobile-enabled version of the website is given priority over its desktop version. This often seen in social media portals as well as most E-commerce companies.
So what does this mean for you? When we think of the ways in which Property and Community Managers work, we consider a mobile-first approach as one that gives priority for completion of day-to-day tasks on a mobile device over a desktop. The same concept applies to homeowners and board members – we consider how our clients will be using our products on their phones over their laptops.
Why Would a Mobile-First Approach Build Evangelism?
You may understand that people are utilizing mobile more and more over desktop applications for their consumer needs, but you may not realize how a mobile-first approach can help transform customers into evangelists. Here are just a few ways in which mobile first can drive satisfaction and retention:
How to Build Your Mobile-First Approach
You may feel ready to go mobile, but you may not know where to start. After all, your team has been used to relying on paper and laptops for decades, and things seem to be running okay, so why would they suddenly want to change anything? Here are a few ways you can start the mobile-first conversation with your team and move forward as one:
CINC Homeowner and Board App Marketing Materials
Use this worksheet to download customizable prelaunch and launch materials for your Homeowner and Board App. You will need a Canva account to customize accordingly.
Building Loyalty – One Tap at a Time
While partnering with CINC has many features to edge out your competition, one of the strongest tools in your marketing toolbox is our Web Portal. This portal is the nexus of communication between your management team and your board members and homeowners.
Now this might not sound like a massive marketing opportunity, but don’t be fooled. CINC’s Web Portal provides support, stability, and ease of mind for your board members, and that is what will sell them every time, again and again.
“You know nowadays there’s a lot of emphasis on transparency, and on giving homeowners access to information – more information than they’ve ever had in the past. And CINC allows us to do that.”
– Michael Crew, Homeowner Management Services
CINC clients have an advantage over other management companies because the CINC portals are so robust. Here are some of the ways existing CINC customers are able to leverage the portals to help their clients:
“CINC solves the problem of reporting to the Board. Many times managers get so busy getting the job done that it’s hard to take the time to report their actions to the Board.
Board Members are often only involved at a meeting and do not fully realize all of the work the manager does to maintain the community. The benefit of the Board being able to see violations, ARCs, and work orders on the website is that they can better appreciate the value of the management company.”
Digital Portal Marketing Materials
Use the attached asset to create customizable marketing materials highlighting your online portal and online payment options for both existing clients and prospects. You will need a Canva account to customize accordingly.
“The homeowner portals have been huge for us. Not only has it given us something that we weren’t able to offer our customers before, it gives our board members so much information, along with our homeowners. It’s kind of a Catch-22 though because the board members are actually able to go online and see exactly what we’ve done. So there’s no question – we’re not getting like we used to ‘Hey, how many times do you go out on the property?’ because they go on there and they see on the portal, how many times we’ve gone out, done violations. They have copies of the violations, with photographs so there’s no questions.”
“CINC websites really transformed our office into a 24-hour a day office. So the board members are able to go online and access reports, for example, mid month before their meeting, and see exactly what work orders have been done. They can check out the accounting status, they can look at violations, and it really helps keep them up to date.
It’s also great for our homeowners because with the websites they can integrate with our office virtually from anywhere when they’re on vacation. We have a lot of communities that have military people, and they pay their bills on the community website from Afghanistan.”
“Our homeowners like the website, having the data right at their fingertips, being able to pay online, seeing their account 24/7, know what they owe, do any number of things for their association at any time, without having to pick up the phone and call our office. And all of these things go into one big package, which adds value to my company as a whole and makes us more profitable.”
CINC’s Web Portal is built with management companies in mind. The customization that’s available gives each company the freedom to choose what their most important content is, and helps align the look and feel across the board. With the ability to customize colors to match your branding, manage the exact structure of your menus, and a full range of graphical support, your Web Portal will help you present a unified approach for each community association in your portfolio.
You also have full control over what your pages are used for, and who has access to each of them. Your menu isn’t just a preset handful of commonly used pages; it’s completely specific to your needs and the needs of each of your communities.
And as a bonus, if you really want to dive in and get your hands dirty, you can even create custom content using your own HTML code. CINC’s Web Portal is a massive opportunity to help your management company retain and re-win your clients and members on a daily basis.
Unlike retail businesses, where you win a client’s business once and the transaction is done, our industry is unique in that boards change every few years. That means every time there is a new election, you are stuck in the position of re-winning your client’s business.
One of the best ways you can win new board members over is to start that process from day one when they become a homeowner in your community, and never stop. That’s why communicating with your homeowners is one of the most important marketing tools in your toolbox.
Use Existing Communication Tools to Market to your Clients
Mass communication tools are more than just the bedrock of your communication plan; they’re integral to the success of your long-term marketing endeavors. They allow you to consolidate big marketing efforts into often singular activities (like drafting one SMS text message for a whole community) and reach more targeted audiences than almost every other marketing tactic.
To sum it up, it’s all about communication.
Whether it’s an app notification, a text message, a community calendar or a custom-branded site, technology drives communication that fosters customer evangelism. These tools may seem like drivers of productivity, and they are – but the true benefit of a seamless tech stack from your community association management company is homeowner satisfaction and brand loyalty.
Don’t Miss Our Fireside Chat:
Are you ready to become a mobile master so you can service your homeowners like none other? In this workshop, Brad AhChing, Product Manager at CINC Systems, and Kendra Austin, Implementation Operations Manager at CINC Systems, will share with you the process of onboarding your community association management company with CINC’s homeowner and HOA board app and key features to drive a seamless experience within your neighborhoods.