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Do you know who your best customer is? The answer is more obvious than you might think—your best customers are your current customers. They already know you, they already like you, and it is by far easier to continue a working relationship with them than to solicit new customers. Your current customers are the easiest and most predictable sources of revenue for your company, and because they are happy and loyal customers, they work for you by spreading positive word of mouth for your company.

At Catalyst, we monitor campaigns to find out more about our current customers, including tracking their interactions with us to understand them better. We analyze results to see which of our current customers are opening emails, clicking through to learn more, etc., which helps inform us of their interest in Catalyst. By analyzing this information, we can easily determine who our best customers are, and we reward them as returning clients with various benefits. Jill Griffin, author of business best-seller Customer Loyalty: How to Earn It, How to Keep It, stresses the importance of “[tracking] every step at which the company ‘touches’ each customer” because “as customers [grow] savvier about their value to your company, [they will begin] expecting more psychic rewards.”

The same can be said at the property level—your best customer is the one who is already living in one of your units. Renewals are much easier to get than new leases when you have good customer service and engage with your residents, and renewals are more affordable for the property. Once a resident moves in, they should be constantly reminded of what a great property it is and why they want to stay for another year.

There are several ways to encourage your current customers to continue doing business with you. To cultivate a relationship with your current customers, try some of the following tactics:

  1. Offer the best customer service. This should be a given, but it’s important to communicate with customers and offer them service above and beyond what they would find at your competitors. According to a study by research firm CRMGuru, the number one reason that customers change vendors is bad customer service—don’t let that be the case at your property. Remember your residents’ names and say hello when you see them around the property or stop and ask them if there’s anything you can do to make their stay even better. There are many little things you can do that take very little effort but go a long way in showing residents that they are appreciated and valued as customers.
  2. Personalize promotions. As technology continues to improve, it is easier than ever to personalize materials for your residents—at Catalyst, we use systems to assist in this process. When sending out a mailer to all residents, we use personalized URLs (PURLs) with the residents’ names incorporated. This is a small step that goes a long way in strengthening relationships and further engaging the recipient.
  3. Give incentives for renewals. If a person is already living at your property, you don’t have to sell them on how great it is; instead, remind them of why it is the best option for them. Keep residents happy and show them that you value their business by offering incentives for renewals and referrals—they work for you when they tell their friends how great your property is and get their friends to sign a lease too.

Your long-term success is largely dependent upon your ability to keep current customers, not your ability to acquire new ones. How do you treat current customers to ensure that they stay for another year? We would love to hear your ideas for fostering relationships with your current customers.