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Top 10 Ways Community Rewards Will Transform Your Life (And How It Transformed Mine)

Laura Formica
January 10, 2019 at 3:04 PM

Property management isn’t easy. It’s so refreshing when a business partner focuses on critical challenges you face; then solves them by giving you a solution that’s easy to implement, maintain, and fully integrate with your property management system. I limited this list to the top 10, but it’s just the tip of the iceberg how Community Rewards can make managing your Student Housing or Multifamily property easier.

Top 10 Ways Community Rewards Will Transform Your Life

  1. Use automation to improve online reputation without your team having to continually solicit residents for reviews
  2. Encourage residents to share feedback and suggestions to the property organically
  3. Drive new social media engagement that impacts SEO and overall online reach
  4. Facilitate community engagement and event attendance
  5. Enhance the resident experience through local perks and exclusive resident offers
  6. Promote adoption of company initiatives, like online leasing, online rent payments, and maintenance portals
  7. Connect residents with the onsite team via staff profiles while also encourage face-to-face interactions
  8. Eliminate the frustration of on-site, physical gift-card management
  9. Generate cost-savings by giving cash back for un-redeemed gift cards
  10. Increase customer appreciation and satisfaction driving more renewals, referrals, and ultimately NOI

How It Transformed My Life During My Property Management Days

Let me start by saying, I love Student Housing.

I miss overseeing 10,000-ish beds, and all the twists and turns (and aches and pains) it brought. I sometimes long for that level of intensity, the daily countdown to graduation, and the guessing game of “how will turns go?”

I started my Student Housing career in my late twenties. I worked twelve-hour days, weekends, vacation, whatever it took. The adrenaline rush from the constant pressure, and excitement when we saw success made it all worth it. The opportunity to build a company and be a part of growing an organization from 16 to 150+ employees was so inspiring to me.

Then, my husband and I received wonderful news…Our second child was on her way. I had lived through property management pre-kids, while pregnant with our 1st (that was fun), and into the first few years of motherhood. I was tired. The frenetic pace of the Student Housing world was catching up to me. I knew I had to slow it down, so I transitioned back to Sales, which is where I launched my career in Multifamily. Working from home meant traveling, but it also gave me the flexibility I needed for a balanced life with two kids.

Re-igniting Passion With a Product I Knew and Loved

One day, I was speaking to John Hinckley, Co-Founder and CEO of Modern Message. He told me about the growth of his team, and how the company was enhancing the resident experience.

I knew Modern Message from my property management days. In fact, they were one of my favorite vendors when I was on the management side. I always thought it would be special to be a part of a company like theirs.

Not only that, but I LOVED their product, Community Rewards. I told everyone I knew about it, and how much it helped improve our resident experience and digital curb appeal. So much so, that my husband still asks me when it will cross over into the eCommerce/retail space.

Laura-Formica-Modern-MessageAn opportunity arose to join this growing team. I was aware of Modern Message’s fantastic reputation for cultivating an entrepreneurial and appreciative culture. I knew this was a career-defining moment that would lead me back into the Student Housing world, equipped with a solution that I personally knew to be a game-changer.

Talk to Laura!


The Student Housing Struggle Was Real

I honestly don’t know how we survived before Community Rewards. It’s with a mix of pride and angst I reflect on our early days, and the struggles we faced as a fledgling Student Housing company.

We acquired properties with terrible online reputations, reputations so bad that one community, in particular, had been dubbed “Knife Point,” and known by this unfortunate nickname for years. We were in challenging markets and forced to give away hundreds of dollars per bed just to stay competitive.

Gift cards were a staple in every market, yet there was not a quality platform to manage them. I shudder when I think of the tens of thousands of dollars that didn’t make it into the right hands due to human error (or worse), and the thousands of dollars wasted on gift cards that were not redeemed.

Our only method to combat these issues was to put more responsibility on our managers. The weekly calls often hammered on the same points:

  • We need more and better reviews!
  • We need more engagement on Social Media!
  • Why aren’t we getting a better turnout at our events?
  • Here’s a form, write all your gift cards down on this, so we have a paper trail in Accounting…

Any of this sound familiar?

There's an (Award-Winning, Industry Focused) Solution for That

Enter Modern Message and Community Rewards. When I say this was a game-changer, I’m actually understating the impact it had on our Marketing and Operations. It was a life-changer.

The running joke by my team, for literally EVERY initiative we had, and one of my favorite follow-up questions, was “How can we leverage Community Rewards for this?”

  • Need to know how many potential renewals are still out there? Launch a poll.
  • Need more online reviews and a better overall sentiment? Use Community Rewards.
  • Want to make sure leasing incentives are making it into the right hands, and any unredeemed balances go back to the property? Hello Custom Incentives.

And remember “Knife Point”? Their Google rating went from 2.2 stars to 4.2 stars in our first 90 days on the platform.

You're Incentivizing Peoples’ Time and Attention

Community_Rewards_Reputation_Page_laptop_imageAs Vice President, I oversaw both Marketing and Operations, but my first love was Marketing. I instinctively knew the impact Community Rewards would have from a marketing perspective. Yet what I didn’t realize, until further immersing myself in the platform was how much it benefited Operations and Accounting.

We now had a platform we could utilize for every Operational and Marketing initiative, as well as a concrete way to increase resident adoption. We had real-time data from residents that helped us make better operational decisions. Our properties could count on resident engagement because their actions were incentivized by points and rewards cards. Even on the reputation front, where there are no incentives for 3rd party reviews, the response was better than ever before.

Community Rewards provided a way to encourage our residents to adopt the processes we needed them to…set up online rent payments, use our maintenance request portal, tell us what you want for Free Food Friday...the options were endless!

And while the decision to use this platform was motivated by the desire to increase our effectiveness and save money, it had the added value of making our residents feel appreciated. They loved the fact we were asking for their opinions, and they could actually influence decision-making at their community. We were able to identify our community advocates, and would often recruit them to become part-time leasing agents or outreach specialists.

When I left the company, our portfolio review average was over 4 stars. Renewal rates were trending over 42%. Our Accounting team was thrilled with our new gift card platform and how we alleviated the chaos that was the previous process. And trust me, if I could implement an initiative that our Controller not only supported but was excited about, I felt like a real hero.

Take Control of The Resident Experience With Community Rewards

Community_Rewards_Mobile_App_imageIf you’re thinking this all sounds like it’s too good to be true, I’m here to tell you, it’s not. As someone who actually used Community Rewards, it’s incredible. I experienced the value and benefits. I utilized all the possibilities we could leverage it for every aspect of our business.

The platform continues to evolve based on our customers’ needs. In 2019 Community Rewards will offer:

  • 2-way, staff-resident Messaging
  • Community Guide
  • Staff Profiles
  • Local Perks
  • And much more

The resident experience is a significant focus in the industry right now. Increased customization is critical for product differentiation in these highly competitive times. Developers sink a ton of resources into market research to better understand the needs and desires of their residents. We’re missing one critical piece of the puzzle though - the intangible aspect of the resident experience. A rewards program not only fills that gap in your strategy, it’s an amenity offering that can be used as a differentiator, and a tool for sales positioning and closing.

Do yourself a favor, and request a demo today. Look at your budget and ask yourself, “Can I afford $6 per resident, per month to improve our property’s online reputation and elevate the resident experience through improved resident relations, retention, engagement, and incentives?”

How can you not?

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