Onsite teams across the country are in the busiest season to date, looking for better ways to manage high demand and the dizzying diversity of tasks on their to-do lists. With multifamily-focused offsite services, teams can lighten workloads that would often require multiple full-time employees.
If you feel like your leasing team has been running a million miles a minute lately, you’re not alone. The Great Resignation has hit the multifamily industry hard with reports of up to 70% of multifamily teams resigning. As staff shortages play out against the backdrop of record-high demand, leasing teams are in a constant state of catch-up. In the last year, 40% of multifamily workers took time off as a result of not being emotionally well enough to perform their jobs.
In a recent survey, multifamily employees cited work-life balance and prioritizing staff wellbeing as key factors that would encourage them to remain at a company. Yet, strained teams don’t have to solve all of these challenges alone. One often-overlooked resource is outsourcing. Third parties that specialize in multifamily, as well as core property functions, can help leasing teams improve without having to stress over staffing challenges.
Why outsourcing and how to start?
Outsourcing covers a range of areas, from marketing to renter communication and reputation management. Because third parties have already taken care of setup, supplies and training, it is often more cost-effective to use outsourced services than to hire and onboard additional employees. This could mean a difference of thousands of dollars and hours of time per week for owners and operators.
The first step is zooming in on your team’s biggest challenges. Run an audit of your team’s pain points to find out what you need to prioritize most. A Workforce Needs Evaluation is a great place to start. While assessing your team, you can break down where you could use extra help in three categories: communication, property branding, and renter lead generation.
With a clear picture of your pain points, you’re ready to explore your team’s options. Here are three main ways multifamily-focused third parties help property teams:
Handling frontline communications
Communicating with renters is a critical part of securing new renter leads and ensuring residents stay satisfied. 46% of incoming calls to a multifamily property are missed by leasing teams, which threatens a large chunk of opportunities to secure occupancy long-term.¹
It can be hard for onsite teams to delegate communication because of the skills needed to connect with prospective renters and residents effectively. Properties need support teams that will talk to renters and residents in a way that your own onsite team would — by offering personable, in-depth assistance without renters feeling like a third party is complicating the process.
Here’s where multifamily-specific leasing centers come in. With industry-specific training and knowledge of your property’s needs, virtual leasing agents act as onsite staff without the constraints of an onsite schedule. Virtual leasing centers are available after hours, can take on calls during high-volume days, and can also respond via live webchat.
Contact centers have also proven to capture ROI from missed calls, gaining up to $82 in revenue for every dollar spent for the service.² With minimal setup time, many virtual leasing agents can qualify renter leads, set appointments and answer inquiries. For sensitive cases, they can also escalate calls to the internal team so renters reach the best person for their inquiry.
Boosting your property’s brand and reputation
79% of renters will not visit a community due to negative online reviews. Positive online reputation is a sure way to build trust with renters in their decision to lease.³ To avoid being blindsided by issues after they’ve moved in, renters look for word-of-mouth feedback that will help them choose the most reliable home.
Third-party reputation management specialists respond to reviews, monitor ratings, and guide residents on the next steps for getting issues resolved at the property. As reputation experts, they’ve seen it all. These third parties often have a formula for the best way to handle positive, negative and neutral reviews while still making each response personable.
Managed reputation services can also alleviate the pain of responding to severely negative reviews that target specific staff, who must reply with complete composure, even after facing false or defamatory accusations from angry residents. They are also Fair Housing compliant so properties can confidently rely on their expertise to put a community in the best light possible.
Championing expert-level advertising campaigns
The work to produce ad creative, generate audience lists, and review performance eats up time for leasing teams. Search and social advertising can often come last on the priority list for leasing teams, but research finds that up to 70% of renters are on Facebook.⁴
The expertise needed to run search and social ads is also often out of the onsite team’s wheelhouse. But third-party rental advertising specialists can help drive results up and budgets down. Data-driven offsite teams target in-market renters using first-party data while executing highly-engaging campaigns specifically designed to attract and convert.
As a result, properties save budget that would otherwise be wasted on targeting audiences that are too broad. The key is to find third parties that partner with your leasing team by providing helpful strategies to optimize performance and choosing the advertising channels that will yield the most results.
The complex environment onsite teams work in makes it critical to choose offsite support that meshes seamlessly with your team’s core needs. Property owners and operators can get support during this challenging time by choosing partners that are Fair Housing compliant, communicate with renters as a talented onsite team would, and know-how to build a lasting positive reputation.
¹ MaxLeases July-September 2021. Average was calculated from 418 Contact Center client properties which share lease data with Contact Center through their Property Management System integration.
² MaxLeases Oct-December 2021. Average was calculated from 418 Contact Center client properties which share lease data with Contact Center through their Property Management System integration.
³ 2022 NMHC/Grace Hill Renter Preferences Survey Report
⁴ Renters Survey 2021, Rent.