Apartments that miss leasing inquiries or wait too long for follow-up with prospective renters may be throwing away money. Multifamily call center data shows that more than half of email and text inquiries come in after business hours and conversion rates drop the longer it takes for the property to respond.
Industry experts say that failing to respond within the first hour lessens the chances that prospects will lease because a competitor may subsequently capture their attention.
In other words, strike while the iron is hot to generate leads. When prospects call, email, text or request a live chat, someone needs to respond quickly.
An industry problem, however, is that onsite personnel can’t always man the phones or computers to answer inquiries around the clock. Contact centers are filling that void by meeting prospective renters on the channels of their choices but it’s taking market intelligence to make the most of lead capture and lead management.
Capture many leads quickly to sign more leases
In 12 years at RealPage, Vice President and Industry Principal Jeremy Batson has heard many stories about onsite leasing personnel answering all leasing inquiries personally. For after-hours calls, voicemail would capture the rest. Many property managers are sure that the prospect would call back later if they don’t reach someone right away. The truth is, a significant number of calls aren’t getting answered and prospects aren’t calling back.
Batson notes data revealed by market researcher Rentlinx. A study showed that of 8,000 leasing inquiries, 80 percent of prospects didn’t leave a voicemail.
“Before going into voicemail, about 50 percent of those calls were actually being missed,” he said. “You’re already missing half of those leads. The most compelling part of the story is that 55 percent of those are not calling back. Leads that you spent a lot of advertising dollars, a lot of strategy and resources to create, you’ve lost to your competitor down the street.”
In the recent webcast, “Pump up the Volume: Strategies to Maximize Lead Conversion,” RealPage Director of Intelligent Lead Management Dustin Schwarz showed how quickly the odds of conversion drop for every hour or day that prospective renters don’t get a response. The first ten minutes after an email or text is critical to converting a lead, he says. Properties are three times more likely to convert when responding within that time frame.
Create a lead generation strategy with leasing analytics
Algorithms within Intelligent Lead Management are improving opportunities for apartment operators to not only capture all their leads – around the clock – but do so quickly. Batson said RealPage is using leasing analytics in its call center to work clients to respond to inquiries via phone or email within 10 minutes, many times before the onsite staff can engage.
Immediately responding to the prospect is only half the service. Batson said the majority of inquiries can be linked to a mobile number, which is paramount to getting in touch with prospective renters. A post-call text, essentially a brochure about the community and needs based on the conversation, goes out to the prospect shortly after the call to help start the online leasing process. Also, when prospects make a request via email and leave a mobile number, the contact center immediately calls back to learn more about the needs of the potential resident.
“We want to make sure we’re getting back in front of them after that call,” he said. “That mobile number is really key.”