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Are tenants customers?

Renting somewhere to live is more of a commitment than purchasing a product from a store, but the experiences have very little in common. Should it be like this?

I don’t know about you but I wonder how this is a question… of course, they are!

Brand and shops spend millions on becoming experts at engaging and pleasing their customers because they need to. With it being faster and easier than ever for customers to find exactly what they’re looking for, to complete a purchase, to receive their orders, and to contact customer service the expectation on what brands need to deliver is sky-high.

But could you say the same for PRS in the UK?

Renting somewhere to live is more of a commitment than purchasing a product from a store, but the experiences have very little in common. Should it be like this?

A growing minority of BTL providers have seemed to adopt this “customer-centric” approach but the majority of PRS is privately owned and quite frankly landlords don’t have the time to become expert “front of house” but that doesn’t mean that they should be any less customer focussed.

There are, therefore, a number of ways that you can treat tenants more like customers which will enable you to fill vacancies, satisfy current renters, and build a respected reputation:

Keep up with the times

Technology has come a long way, and companies are getting better at using it to improve the customer experience. A similar approach to technology can help you when managing your property and can enable you to please and retain tenants, streamline communication, and strengthen security.

But ... We would say this, wouldn’t we.

Maintain a positive relationship

Technology may improve your ability to respond to your tenants’ needs in a timely, reliable manner, but it’s no substitute for personal interaction. If you’re struggling with tenant turnover and want your best renters to stick around longer, build a strong relationship with them. 

Relationship-building doesn’t end when you sign the lease and hand over the keys. In fact, that’s just the beginning. If tenants are like customers, they’ll want you to be readily available in case any issues arrive. This is especially important during the move-in process, when they haven’t yet settled into their new home or neighborhood. To make them feel at home, you can offer a welcome gift or perhaps provide them with more information about the local community. 

These are small gestures, but they can set a foundation of trust and support between you and your residents. They’ll know they can count on you down the road to respond kindly and responsibly to emergencies, questions, and requests. And when they do have to leave for whatever reason, they’ll leave with a positive impression.

Just like loyal customers will spread the word about brands they love, happy tenants will share their rental experiences and promote your properties. So empty apartments won’t stay empty for long! 

Knowing they’re safe

Tenants are becoming savvier and savvier and are more and more aware of their rights. Therefore, you should be too. It is easy for a simple procedural error to result in big issues down the road so make sure you have all of your compliance items and regulatory documents in place and your tenants know that these are here.

Like customers of any product nowadays, tenants are more clued up and some out there will be waiting to catch you out so make sure you’re using a tool like Ark Compliance to make sure you’re never the one to get cough out!

Tenants will also appreciate that their landlord is keeping them safe by being fully compliant.

Tenants are more clued up than ever and whilst the market conditions don’t yet necessitate landlords to be the ultimate customer-centric machines that they are in the US for example, times are changing and getting ahead of the curve will only befit your portfolio and bottom line in the future!