Reputation is one of the most important factors in the greater success of a business. The trust established between brand and customer from this reputation directly influences almost all of a business’s quantifiable metrics.
When you think of a company’s reputation, what comes to mind? Exceptional customer service and 5-star reviews are the two most obvious, but a company’s reputation is far more than online praise. Reputation is the cornerstone of a company’s longevity, where success in building a customer base relies on a strong foundation built upon trust and consistency. From prospect to resident, reputation reflects the promises a brand makes and upholds throughout the customer journey.
Focus Building Customer Relations
Regardless of your strategy, building a reputation for your business is a long-term process. A critical first step is creating a relationship between the brand and its customers. At CARROLL, we knew early on that the growth of our multifamily brand, ARIUM, would share a symbiotic relationship with customer perception, so we continue to spend ample time developing relationships with our residents through consistent communication, community events, and our Experience ARIUM program, which spotlights our residents – creating moments that nurture meaningful relationships.
Develop Your Brand
Within the multifamily realm, on-site teams are oftentimes the first face-to-face introduction prospects have with your company. Think of these interactions as creating a personality for your brand. If your brand’s “personality” is welcoming and open, then the brand feels less robotic and more authentic in its relationships with customers. The first impression you put forth and how you interact with prospects will directly affect your business’s reputation. A friendly welcome sets the tone for the visit and helps increase the prospect’s recall of your community details. Establishing an interpersonal connection at the start helps immerse a prospect in the community and plants the seed for the trust needed to foster long-term residents.
As your reputation grows, you develop a degree of loyalty among your brand’s customers as they share their experiences with friends and family. This loyalty ultimately has an impact on the outward perception of your brand, which can, in turn, create efficiencies in your marketing. For ARIUM in 2020, not only did we see our portfolio reputation score rise from a 3.4 to a 4.0 – with more than 7,000 reviews – but we were also rewarded with a lower average cost per lease. Knowing that a lower property rating often equates to a higher cost-per-lead, diligently fostering our reputation allows us to optimize our advertising spend to target high-intent prospects versus casting a wide net to compensate for a less-reputable brand. Combining a strategic approach to reputation management with the power of word-of-mouth sharing is an important tool in the multifamily business and helps differentiate us from competitors.
Nurture Your Online Reputation
Brand-building exercises can also double as opportunities to boost your reputation and subsequently contribute to metrics such as overall retention and average lead-to-lease generation. Monitoring your brand’s reviews and online rating and actively reaching out to consumers works to continue the trust-building that will ultimately result in these metrics rising. Essentially, no matter how you look at it, a focus on improving ratings and reviews is a vital piece of the marketing puzzle.
With an established online community, taking time to craft personalized responses to your customers’ reviews is one of the easiest ways to continue building your brand’s personality. This seemingly insignificant process is actually a major part of the puzzle because it lets customers know that you are open to honest feedback and criticism while demonstrating your commitment to listening to and working with customers. Mismanaging your reputation and ignoring customer feedback can be a costly move. Today’s consumers have broad access to widespread information, and a negative thread around customer sentiment – if not managed properly – could unravel even the biggest brands.
Success in generating a lease, closing a sale, or managing a business hinges on a strong reputation. As you adjust your company’s strategies to bolster your reputation, remember that this piece of the larger whole shapes the future of your success. It’s important to adjust your approach and align the reputation choices you make today to tell the story of where your brand is going tomorrow.