The power of a hand-written note

Customer_service
Found this letter over at grokdotcom and started thinking about how cool it would be to use a variation of it in our community. I know most of us use welcome letters but are they personalized like the one below?

….that’s right, a hand-written note from the general manager, Ms. Lisa
DeLorean. Not a computer-written-in-handwriting-font note, but a real,
live, ink-on-quality-stock note. I wasn’t even terribly concerned about
the words themselves — the note’s pleasant enough — but this fine
business manager took the time to write that note herself, and addressed to me personally, so I know it’s not just the boilerplate greetings that tells you the name of the cleaning staff.

It actually took me awhile to read the note, as most of the "wow"
effect came from just receiving it! Of course, she thanks me for
choosing her hotel, but she also thanks me for all the other visits
I’ve made to the affiliated chain members (Crowne, InterContinental,
etc., none of which I suspect factored into her bonus those past
years), and then she finished with a bang [emphasis mine]: "We want you
to be very satisfied with your stay."

Not just satisfied, but very satisfied.

And I was. The place was indeed restful, power outlets everywhere and free internet. And, yes, fresh batteries in the remotes.

I’m sure you’ve all heard the stat that a dissatisfied customer
tells, on average, 12 others about their bad experience. (Well, Lisa
DeLorean, I just told 85,000+ GrokDotCom readers about you, your fine hotel, and the classy way you treat your customers. Keep up the good work!)

Mr. Cosslett, as CEO of Lisa’s parent company, if this handwriting
of thank-you notes is corporate policy, congrats to you too! If Lisa
did this on her own initiative, you just found your next regional
manager. Cuz if you don’t, I’m sure another hotelier will snatch up
talent like Lisa’s — and fast.

Sincerely,

John Quarto-vonTivadar, delighted customer


EveryApartment. The real Availability. Really.

EveryScape. The real world. Online.

Worlds are not born, they are created.
This is just the beginning of ours.
And yours.
Welcome to EveryScape beta — where together the real world is being created, online. [Web Site]

Are we in a way already doing this in the apartment space to some degree? The presentation of this web site has the "cool" factor for sure quite unlike our best attempts.

I like it for apartment use in that you could quickly see what the community surrounding you has to offer. Be it restaurants or dry cleaners, you could get a first hand look from the comfort of your desk chair. We shall see as they are in just four cities around the country.


Apartment Marketing Idea

Cereal_box_marketing
Here is my latest brainstorm. It’s not novel by any stretch but maybe it is novel to our business. I am going to get cereal boxes printed up with our name, logo, nutritional information (amenities), current specials etc.. and I am going to solicit a small payment from vendors who would like to have their coupons or marketing material placed inside.

The boxes will be classy, remarkable and hopefully pack a punch for action. Action in the way of redeeming the renew early and receive…., lease today and receive…. and or refer a friend and receive coupon that will be presented on the side or the back of the box.


What if EQR or some other major player bought Facebook or MySpace or Youtube or….

Well over 100 million of the prime renter segment flock to these spaces daily. What if a major apartment player owned the lions share of control over the advertisement rights? What would you have?

  • The most amazing community building tool ever
  • The most amazing resident portal ever
  • A somewhat captive audience to market to forever
  • Word of Mouth Opportunities that will exist forever

The way I see it is, why not go where the audience is instead of trying to bring the audience to you? Novel? Not at all but I don’t think it’s been executed in the Apartment space yet.

Social Network aimed at Apartment Dwellers

That’s the hope of at least one new company, LifeAt.com,
which is putting a local spin on the social networking model. The
company creates password-protected Web sites for apartment buildings
and housing developments, allowing residents to post pictures and
profiles of themselves, share information about favorite local eateries
and gripe about slow elevators and peeling paint. [Read More Here]


Apartment Review Sites; Friend or Foe, it’s up to you

Customer_reviewConsumer Online Reviews Strongly Influence Purchase Decisions

According to a recent survey by Deloitte’s Consumer Products group, consumers are
turning to online reviews in large numbers, and those reviews are
having a considerable impact on purchase decisions. 62 percent of
consumers read consumer-written product reviews on the Internet, says
the report, and of these, more than eight in 10 say their purchase
decisions have been directly influenced by the reviews, either
influencing them to buy a different product than the one they had
originally been thinking about purchasing, or confirming the original
purchase intention. [Read More Here]

If your still of the school of thought that dismisses the value of sites like apartmentratings.com, listen up. The feedback outlined in the brief above should move you to action as soon as possible. I truly think we all should open up our company websites to include a consumer and resident feedback mechanism. Instead of internal score keeping, make it completely transparent and thus authentic in nature. I would suggest that you have an editor just for the sake of carving out names and character attacks as we know they will come despite our best efforts. That in mind you have to be courageous enough to leave the meat.

I would speculate that over time the likes of For Rent and Apartment Guide will have a feedback component. Sound crazy? At the end of the day, traffic is king and if traffic goes to the consumer feedback site more often then something will have to change. I think the likes of For Rent and Apartment Guide will have no choice but to become even more “potential renter-centric” than they are now. I would love to be a fly on the wall in those strategic planning sessions.

I will be keeping an eye on this topic. Have an amazing Monday. M

Related post: Apartment Reviews – Reimagined



Apartment Amenity Essentials

Interior amenities;

Granite countertops
Slate floors
Custom cabinetry
Crown molding
Walk-in closets

On-site amenities;

Parking facility
Pool
Fitness center
Cyber cafe
Culinary demonstration kitchen
Resident
lounge.

In order to compete with the glut of condo’s and or because of the glut of condo’s, the above will be the new standard for Class A rental properties.


The Real Estate Master….Sam Zell

By COLLIN LEVY
October 20, 2007; Page A11

CHICAGO — In his office high above the Chicago River,
Sam Zell, the real estate virtuoso and master investor, is talking
about motorcycles. "I have had accidents over the years," he says, "but
most of them while standing still. I’m actually a very very good
driver." In case I look skeptical, he adds a sweetener, his wife’s
verdict: "Helen rides in the back with me and this is not Miss Bravery
or something," he says. "But you know, she won’t let me drive a car. I
get distracted." [Read More Here]