BH is ranked #8 on Reputation’s 2022 Property Management Report, which ranks top property management companies based on Reputation Score. To celebrate moving from 9th place to 8th we sat down with our very own Director of Customer Experience and Contact Center Services, Jacob Kosior, for a Q & A session to catch a glimpse of BH’s secret sauce when it comes to reputation management and creating wildly awesome customer experiences.
Q: How does BH set a customer experience standard?
Jacob Kosior: As part of our company rebrand in early 2022, we developed BH’s first Customer Experience Philosophy. Our Customer Experience Philosophy is the north star of what we are working toward from a customer service standpoint. It clearly outlines to prospective and current residents as well as BH team members how we fulfill BH’s promise of Making Living Here Mean Living More.
Q: What led to the birth of the customer experience philosophy, and what do we want our customers to reap from that philosophy?
Kosior: Before our rebrand, we knew we needed something to guide our service efforts and to clearly outline to prospective and current residents what we hope to deliver to them. We want customers to know what they can expect as a BH customer. From the moment they tour as a prospect to their move-out day as a resident, we want every interaction at BH to be welcoming, for home to be a haven, to make connections matter and to create happy moments. When we were going through our rebranding process, we were conscious of words, phrases, and actions, that people were using to describe what it means to be a team member at BH and what it is like to be a resident. We used those insights to craft a customer experience philosophy that speaks to our promise.
Sentiment. What is it? What does it mean?
Q: According to Reputation’s 2022 Property Management Report Findings and Rankings, review volume is up but sentiment is down. What does that mean for BH?
Kosior: It is the natural progression of what we have seen in the industry with occupancy and rental rates. At the end of 2021 and beginning of 2022, we saw high occupancy rates across the industry—the highest they have ever been. Increased rents go hand-in-hand with the increase in expectations of our renters. If prospects and residents are not seeing the increase in the value of the community, then they are going to have concerns – and review sentiment goes down. For BH communities, negative sentiment is down 20% in 2022 compared to 2021.
Q: With the overall progression of sentiment being down across the industry, what does BH do with the received feedback?
Kosior: We have tools in place to categorize and filter reviews based on the stage of everyone’s journey with BH. From there, we share review sentiments far and wide depending on the nature of the review and the stage in the customer journey it was shared. My team is really empowered to pass that feedback along to the corporate support team or individual who most directly oversees that aspect of the customer journey to make sure the resident feedback is incorporated into future initiatives and updates. For example, the feedback shared by a prospect who had a negative experience with curb appeal is going to go to a different person than feedback from a current resident expressing frustrations about the renewal process. With our on-site teams in mind, it was a big decision when changing our approach to responding to reviews and shifting that responsibility to Widewail. Our partnership with Widewail has enabled BH to improve the way we do business. Instead of our on-site teams spending time crafting review responses across multiple platforms, they can focus on creating moments that matter and making improvements based on feedback.
The turning point for BH.
Q: Describe BH’s partnership with Widewail.
Kosior: Being Widewail’s first multifamily client has allowed us to focus on our prospect and resident sentiment like never before. We were excited to explore partnerships outside of multifamily because we knew we couldn’t keep using the same tools as others in the multifamily space and expect a different outcome. The tools we used in the past were all about reporting review data, but Widewail allows us to act on that data. It is also important to realize we should not solely rely on tools that are specific to multifamily, because renters don’t think about their shopping experience for an apartment any differently than their shopping experience elsewhere. So why shouldn’t we be looking at tools that touch on different industries, especially if they are best-in-class?
Q: How does Widewail’s approach to review engagement make BH a game changer in customer experience?
Kosior: Widewail has allowed us to do some exciting things. First, we introduced automated review invites that go out to our prospects and residents, and as a result of those automated invites, our review volume has gone up 62% year-over-year. Automated review invites ensure every prospect and resident interacting with our team is asked to leave a review, thereby creating more avenues for authentic feedback. That means we have more reviews and more data points about the experiences our customers are having in our communities. Second, our partnership has helped inform us on what we could be doing better, what we are doing really well, and where we can replicate best practices for consistency in those experiences across all BH communities.
Data tells the Story.
Q: What is the significance of having a role dedicated to customer experience, and how does your role act as a liaison between on-site teams and corporate support teams?
Kosior: In my role, I am reading the crystal ball of the data. I am taking in review and survey data and mapping it out to reveal trends and understand how experiences vary along the customer journey. I am then quarterbacking that information and passing it to the relevant departments, because the real challenge is making sure we are doing something with the feedback we receive. Most of the feedback we receive is indicative of what is happening throughout the industry, and what BH does well is taking and embracing that data and running with it to make operational changes. A lot of companies struggle with having the data but not prioritizing making changes surrounding it. We were excited to move up a place in the rankings, because it shows the time and energy that we have put behind contracting new tools, training our team members, and reviewing the data on a consistent basis is not only resulting in more positive experiences for our customers, but more insights on how we can continue to deliver great experiences.
BH’s Year-Over-Year Reputation Data
Review volume has increased 60%
Average review scores are up 4%
Negative sentiment (reviews of 1-3 stars) is down 20%
Read Reputation’s full report here.