WANT TO END UP IN THE NY TIMES
If you think your customers aren't talking about you, better rethink your position. You can no longer bury your head in the sand without suffering the consequences. The story reported in the New York Times last week is a classic example of what Not To Do. It outraged folks and drew over eighty comments. Every company, small medium or large should be listening, and taking action. The world is different today, take heed, grasp and embrace this space we call Social Media, It IS Her to Stay. THE CUSTOMER IS NOT ALWAYS RIGHT
This story "Tenants Encouraged to Socialize, but Not Criticize
by Chester Higgins Jr./The New York Times is particularly dear to me because it is about Apartment Operations, my livelihood and about Social Media, my passion. I DO NOT deny the apartment operator, Rockrose Development
the right to not renew a lease, as I have NEVER subscribed to the theory "The Customer is Always Right", because they aren't. WHAT WENT WRONG
The story starts here; "When a luxury tower in Queens would not renew their lease, Katy and David Griffiths moved into a walkup in Brooklyn. Rockrose Development Corporation markets itself as something of a cruise director, fostering a sense of fun and neighborhood spirit in its luxury rental buildings fitted with pools, barbecue grills and party rooms.
But one former tenant, David Griffiths, now thinks of the real estate developer as more akin to Big Brother. Mr. Griffiths, an information technology consultant, and his wife, Katy -- who is pregnant -- had to move in November when Rockrose declined to renew their lease at its EastCoast waterfront development in Long Island City, Queens. A Rockrose employee, he said, told him it was because he had posted critical comments about the building on the Internet. That surprised Mr. Griffiths, who indeed had posted complaints, but on a Google Groups forum that he created -- a tenants' group accessible only to members whom he approved.
"Dave, we understand that you're not happy living here, so we made the decision for you," the employee said, according to Mr. Griffiths."It's very '1984,' " said Mr. Griffiths, 38, a Briton who seems mystified to find himself part of the turbulent annals of New York landlord-tenant relations.
Sofia Estevez, the company's senior vice president for marketing, said she approved the decision to part ways with the Griffiths. Ms. Estevez said that in Rockrose's holdings across the city, some 6,000 units, there are about 10 tenants a year whom she deems more trouble than their rent money is worth. "In these times, I try to renew everybody -- unless somebody's a real hothead and a troublemaker," she said. "You could speak to any staff members in the building who would say that he was abusive, that he was unhappy from the time that he moved in." Rockrose's treatment of Mr. Griffiths was "obnoxious," but legal, said Maddy Tarnofsky, a tenants' lawyer who tangled with the company over a resident's dog.
What most irks some EastCoast tenants is that Rockrose markets its luxury apartments as part of a community -- but then seems to limit open debate in that community
An article about EastCoast in The New York Times last fall, however, prompted another tenant to call the newspaper about the Griffiths' experience. In the article, Ms. Estevez joked that while most landlords might discourage socializing among tenants, to avoid any organized uprisings, Rockrose was bucking tradition by encouraging tenant networking. That was a sentiment hardly shared by the Griffiths, and some other tenants. Asked on Wednesday about Mr. Griffiths, Ms. Estevez said that she would detail his "abusive" history, and that if he had said anything untrue about Rockrose, "I will retaliate." Later, in an e-mail message to the paper, Ms. Estevez said a lawyer had advised no further comment.WHAT WENT WRONG
This is not about WHO Was Right and WHO Was Wrong; It is about the absolute lack of Conversation. There was no open, transparent Conversation. Social Media is about Participating in the Conversation
. If that had happened, via a company blog, via a company facebook entry, via a company forum or any of the other many excellent venues and conduits that Social Media offers, we, any of us could simply read them and make a pretty quick determination as to right and wrong. A chronic complainer never survives long term in the Social Media space, the community will self police that for the most part. Likewise, the company doesn't get to filter what they want folks to read and comment on, that doesn't work either.
February 1, 2009
Eric Brown has (30) years in the Multi-Family Apartment Business having built and developed over 17,000 apartment units, both market rate, luxury and tax credit apartments. Having started Urbane Apartments in 2003 after leaving a lengthy stint as a Senior Vice President at Village Green Companies, a national apartment developer, Eric decided he wanted to create wealth, and set out from Corporate America on his own and created Urbane Apartments in Royal Oak, MI.