Multifamily and the Customer Experience

By Mike Gomes, Cortland Chief Experience Officer

The apartment industry has traditionally operated with a customer-service philosophy that, at best, aims for resident satisfaction. But has “satisfied” ever been a metric of true success? In my opinion, no. We’ve transitioned into an experience economy. With ever-increasing consumer expectations, customers who are merely “satisfied” won’t drive future business results.

This shift has to be more than apartment leaders claiming to provide hospitality. Real changes to service philosophies have to take hold internally and then be followed by experience- driven, everyday interactions residents can rely on.

It’s not easy to change deeply rooted industry practices, but here are four ways the apartment industry can develop a customer service model truly focused on residents:

  • Aim for delight over satisfaction. 
  • Value interactions over transactions.
  • Anticipate needs. 
  • Create experiences with emotional appeal.

Rentership is only growing in the U.S. – millions of 25- to 35-year-olds living at home are ready to strike out on their own. For the apartment industry to move beyond its perception as a second-class living option – to truly be a choice and not a necessity – it must evolve. The companies that don’t keep pace with or grow faster than the needs and wants of their residents will not be as successful. Each of these four steps pave the way to a mindset where people are the focus and the goal is excellence in experience – moving us far beyond the concept of customer service and changing what renting a home represents.