So, your prospect runs into one of your customers and they strike up a conversation. Yikes, what now? Well, It is the Moment of Truth. Are you ready for the answer? Have you done all you can do to nurture and create Customer Evangelists?

WATCHING FROM A FAR
As I wandered around one of our apartment communities on Saturday, I saw a young couple come walking up to one of our vacant Mini Models on our GO SOLO tour route. I was in a second floor unit, and had an excellent vantage point to "Watch First Hand" at one couples' reaction to the GO SOLO self-touring process. With their Starbucks coffees and their GO SOLO sheet  in hand, they quickly and easily found the Mini Model with the Gold Key. Twenty minutes later, I wondered what are they doing, but then out they marched.

WILL THEY RECOMMEND YOU TO THEIR FRIENDS
Being in the vacant apartment that long seemed like a good thing to me, they must be thinking about furniture placement and how they may live in their new space. At least that is what I hoped was happening. What happened next was also fascinating to watch, as out walked one of our residents, and the touring couple struck up a conversation. They talked for another ten minutes or so. I wonder what they were saying? Are you ready when Your Prospect talks with Your Customer? They are, be it in person or on line. And whats more, your prospect believes something they read on a rating site far more than your marketing program.

A FAVORABLE OUTCOME
To our delight, we rented this couple a new place they will call home. Our resident had favorable comments, which also delights us. To have witnessed this was interesting because the outcome could have gone either way. When the stage is turned over to your customers, and they have a choice, they can either sell for you, because they believe in you and your Brand and they have had favorable experiences, or not.

We too have a choice; We can Choose to Enhance the Customers Experience or ignore them. Most marketing plans are aimed at new customers. Most businesses give lip service to retaining customers but their actions and behavior are inconsistent with customer service.
 
Make a difference by Enhancing the Customers Experience. You should be doing that anyway, but if you are not, start today.  



March 21, 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.






Comments(6)

yes , This post is completely valid . Its more important to maintain an existing customer rather than attracting a new customer

@Florida Web Design, Thanks for stopping by.

I wonder what the world may look like if all companies turned their marketing efforts inward, and focused on the Customer Experience

Great post

Most companies focus on the product as it’s easy to optimize. When it comes to service and customer experience then it’s much harder to make changes, as it involves changing the behaviour of the employees.

I very clear you need to work on the service and the customer experience if they want loyal customers, and want to be recommended by these people.

@Computer Science, Thanks for stopping by, we appreciate your comments

@Steen, Good Morning, We agree with your point, and it is much more fun to work on teh next deal, the new product and the next customer, but the real value lies in establishing a sustained relationship with your existing customers.

Great points Eric, but you can do more than focus on your vision of improving the customer experience. You can also encourage your customers to tell you about their experiences, in their own words. The social web and online customer reviews make this task so much easier, but you have to be listening for and reacting to the feedback to make it work for your business!

It's always a good idea to follow and respond to reviews on the Web -- an apartment complex will likely be reviewed on several sites. If your reviews are very positive and you've made it a regular practice to respond to your feedback, you won't feel that anxiety when a prospect talks to a customer.

You should also consider adopting a "net promoter" methodology to assess the loyalty of your customers and the effectiveness of your customer service program. Again, if you do this on a regular basis, you'll remain responsive to your customers' needs and you'll be pretty confident of a recommendation when you need one. For more information about "net promoter", check out Fred Reichheld's book, Ultimate Question, or visit the associated website, www.netpromoter.com.

Again, great post and a great topic. Thanks!

Paul, Good Morning,
Thank you for the comments. We agree with you about how important it is to monitor what folks are saying about your brand on the web.

To your point, it is also paramount to not only be listening, but to Participate in the Conversation!

Great points Paul, and thank you for the book suggestion,

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