Crafting an exceptional customer experience is crucial to make a difference in today's real estate environment. In our recent article, we shared that understanding your customers well, and how creating amenity-rich, diverse and personalized experiences make wonders .
In this article, we tweak the perspective, and explore some inspiring lessons learned the hard way while establishing divine experiences in buildings – and how to make them actionable.
01 Missing Out on the Basics
Think about Maslow's hierarchy of needs: to thrive, we need to fulfill our basic needs first. Your building, be it residential or commercial, must have perfectly-functioning internet connection, HVAC system, waste management, safety measures, accessibility, and other elements that are of utmost importance to any space.
You may be surprised, but even today, there are so many buildings missing out on one or more of these. It is best to make sure that your building doesn't, and never repels occupiers with unwanted circumstances like the sick building syndrome, or occupiers wishing to stay at home due to bad wifi at the office.
We observe that people are increasingly more interested in quality in buildings. The basic functionalities of buildings such as how the light is being used, air filtration… These are vital components.
02 Assuming that Your Occupiers Know Everything About Your Building, and How to Use It (and Use It Responsibly!)
Occupiers move in and move out, and it is a big loss if the newcomers don't know how they make the full use out of your building. Let's say you're offering an excellent, accessible rooftop with greenery and occasional community events, but how will your occupiers know that the space is open for their use, if you don't let them know?
Make sure that you communicate how the building works with each occupier from day one, and share building news and guidelines with them constantly.
This brings another topic to the scene – do occupiers use your building responsibly enough? As a landlord, you may expect that occupiers' level of knowledge on sustainability may vary, as well as how they act on their existing knowledge. When needed, take actions to help them learn more about recycling, energy conservation, and other things that you want them to be conscious of. This will make eco-savvy tenants happy, and help others feel more responsible to their environment as well.
From our experience, wording in waste management has had a huge impact on how we tackle waste management. When we renamed ''general waste'' as ''landfill'', the amount of non-recyclable waste got reduced very substantially. People could very immediately get conscious about what they are putting in there, and it is their responsibility to the environment. Small tweaks like this may do wonders!
03 Not Connecting With Your Customers the Right Way
Everyone knows that communicating with your customers is key to success and retention, but how you do it may change the whole game. At what intervals, in which way do you collect occupier feedback? Do you convey your vision and values, or do you simply provide the space to live in or work at?
On what social media platforms do you connect with the customers – and is that the right platform based on their profile? Are you sure you want to use emails or WhatsApp messages for each string of communication (solving issues, announcing news, sending documents, etc.), or do you rather use a dedicated tenant app that unifies all of these operations in one place?
All are relevant questions to all asset types, while the answers and strategies to tackle them will change not per asset type, but per building. For instance, you may have student housing portfolios across several countries, but your customer groups will respond differently to communication tactics that you may have found applicable to all.
Define how you talk to each unique customer group, and redefine – until you learn what works best. Consider getting help from data in sorting customer communication dynamics out.
The younger customers are very focused on how we deliver service complying with sustainability. Build-to-rent customers are more concerned about who we are as a company and what we deliver. Their priorities change and according to that, we convey the message.
04 Assuming that Sustainability Is Not a Priority in Occupier Decisions
The location, accessibility, affordability – these are the first couple of things that landlords know occupiers care about in choosing a new space. Though they often miss out on the fourth addition to the list: sustainability and wellbeing.
In an era where we pay increasingly higher bills for energy, and in parallel, want to be more conscious about the impact we create on the environment, occupiers do care about how energy-efficient the building of their next living or working space is.
If you have effective measures in place for energy efficiency, or you're going to create them; make sure that you underline it well during your conversations with tenants – because they want to know more about them.
We see in CBRE's 2023 occupier survey that when occupiers choose their office location, accessibility and commuting time is definitely crucial, but so is sustainability. They are willing to pay higher rents for offices with sustainability certifications.