Little Known Tips to Capture Apartment Rental Leads After Hours
by Kyna Garrett, on Jun 10, 2019 9:00:00 AM
The average leasing office is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and closed two days out of the week. That’s 128 hours each week of missed opportunity for leasing agents. That means missing those crucial walk-ins and important phone calls.
We surveyed participants in a discovery session at a national apartment conference, and found that the majority of respondents said after hours lead capture was their biggest concern at the property level. While it’s definitely a challenge, the bigger issue is that many multifamily providers don’t know how to address apartment rental leads that come in after hours.
Sure, there are call centers and brochures you can leave out for people visiting the property during these off periods, but what more can you do to capture these qualified leads?
Luckily, we’ve pulled together some little known secrets on how to capture those essential apartment leads when it matters most.
Little Known Tips to Capture Apartment Rental Leads After Hours
1. Use text message automation to send information to website leads
When a human can’t answer a submitted website form right away, apartment text automation can be your savior.
When a prospect fills out a website form, allow them to opt in for text responses. They can receive quick information straight to their phone via SMS. It almost acts like a chatbot, but it's an on-the-go tool they can text whenever a question comes up and they want an immediate answer. Today’s average renter also has their phone on them almost 100% of the time, whereas email isn’t checked constantly. Plus, now that you’ve captured that user’s information and phone number opt-in, it’s easier to follow up with them and add them into a text automation workflow.
2. Offer promotional periods with extended leasing hours
An easy - and more well-known tactic - is to offer extended leasing office hours, especially during high season like spring and summer. Leads double during this time, so you don’t want to miss any walk-ins that come in at 5:30 p.m. or 6 p.m. after you’ve already closed doors.
To entice people further, offer promotions during those extended hours. Whether it’s a waived application fee if they schedule a tour or a discounted rate if they sign up before a deadline, you can draw more traffic in during extended hours.
3. Add chatbots to your call center strategy
Many call centers and CRMs offer chatbot services in addition to answering the phones. On average, multifamily professionals miss 49% of all calls to their properties, and even more so after hours. What’s more alarming: according to Zillow, 52% of callers - especially millennials and Generation Z renters will never call again if they missed you the first time. So about those website inquiries that come in? Today’s renters want instant gratification. They want responses in the snap of a finger.
The problem is that even on-site managers or leasing agents aren’t getting back to 20% of phone messages. So, yes - those leads coming in after hours are easily lost.
Chatbots (or automated assistants) on your website can be incredibly useful, however, to answer basic questions without the need for a human to be present. Very similar to text automation, an automated assistant will offer some instant answers to keep leads interested. The difference is that chatbots can be targeted on your webpage with catered messages that compliment the page the user is currently on.
For example, if the user lands on the virtual tour page - they’ve clearly shown some solid interest in your community. That’s a great page to capture their information and schedule an on-site tour. A floor plan page is a great opportunity to answer questions about square footage, space and available units.
4. Hire a professional leasing consultant during peak after hours
Automated assistants, call centers and text automation are great tools to capture those apartment rental leads after hours - but why not add a bit of personal human touch to the experience?
Apartment leads tend to increase after 8 p.m. because that’s when the average apartment renter has time to research. According to MultifamilyPro, research shows that responding within an hour gives you a seven times better chance at a meaningful interaction than responding an hour later. Chatbots and text messages will only get you so far. Sometimes that extra personal touch with professional insights about the community can go a long way.
Consider hiring a professional leasing consultant from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. to answer email inquiries and hop on the chat when leads funnel in. You’re much more likely to convert these leads than if the inquires just sit in the mail box or phone messages go unanswered.
5. Add a touch screen interactive floor plan to your lobby
How many walk-in visits do you think your community sees after hours - only to discover your office is closed and no one is there to answer their questions? While that number may be low, they’re much more qualified than a prospect just browsing your website. These prospects have arrived at your community to check it out, so why not cater to their visit in some way that can help them learn more about your property - even if they can’t physically tour it yet?
Touch screens are popping up in apartment lobbies and vestibules to give after hour walk-ins a little more engagement during their visit. For example, the touch screen may include photos, a virtual tour or even an interactive floor plan to show the user real-time availability of the property’s units. Users can then leave messages or information directly on the touch screen to hear back from an on-site manager when they’re in the office.
A touch screen like this not only captures information, it engages, which is a crucial step in qualifying the lead. It gets them excited about your community and what you have to offer - versus a simple brochure you leave out for them to take. With a touch screen, they can take control of the experience.
6. Add a virtual tour to your automated emails
Automated emails are great to keep circling prospects back to your community and stay top of mind. But if you’re just sending basic follow up emails, you want to make sure you’re also sending along something that engages.
360 virtual tours are great self-guided tools that prospects can use during those late-night hours when your office is closed. Millennials and Gen Z are most active at night when apartment hunting online, so make sure you’re hitting those right time stamps when sending emails and send along a virtual tour to keep them engaged and interested in your community.
Tell prospects that you’re sorry you missed them, but while you have their attention, they can still tour your community virtually until you’ve opened your doors to schedule a physical tour.
Don’t Let Leads Walk Away
Capturing apartment rental leads is extremely challenging for multifamily providers during those crucial off hours. Not only is that the time the average apartment hunter is researching their future home, it’s also the time when access to information and responsiveness is gapped.
Today’s technology is making it easier to close that gap with call centers, virtual tours and virtual assistants. Find the right fit for your operations to make sure you aren’t missing out on those valuable leads.
Are your after-hour leads costing you? Contact us to learn more about hour multifamily technology designed to convert more website users into on-site visits, even during the down time.