I have been doing a lot thinking on community and facilities recently. One of the sites I am overseeing in particular. It is in great shape but needs a level of responsibility from its renters that seems to somehow just fall short. For example, there are two flats where the renters insist on hanging hammocks on the balcony. Now, this is fine while in use and on the balmy Summer evenings we are having. I can see this as an attractive relaxation for the renter. However, leaving it up when not in use is an eyesore and ruins the appearance and ambiance of the community.
One person airing their washing is everyone else’s blight! Leaving bikes on balconies looks dreadful as does dead plants! In short, you have to think about others at all times. As a generality, this would make our daily lives much better but with your homes it will definitely make it better. A smoker not being allowed to smoke indoors but leaving a pile of cigarette butts to build up “planted” in the boarders and plant pots is positively unappealing for everyone. I guess even the smoker or they would tidy them up!
How do we build a community where the appeal and interests of all are at the front of everyone’s mind? Equally for those selfishly minded how can we get them thinking on community and impact and effect for all? This really is the challenge and in reality, is the essence of customer experience. There is an adage that it is a thankless task to serve the public, because you can never please everyone. Certainly, when you look at the way companies protect their employees and have anti-bullying policies in place it shows the necessities and the situations that need thinking about.
Generally, openness in all dealings and transparency has a good effect on mitigating frustrations and confrontational aggression. If you can explain and give reason for an approach or a request it can make it more palatable. Being fair and firm along with consistency of message is vital. IF one person gets away with something then why shouldn’t the next person? Then it is difficult to control and manage a community. They are always people who want to push the boundaries and people who want to take advantage. Mitigating that is the secret. In a successful community everyone will act together to keep in good order, to stop abuses and to clamp down on the non-conformists.
This is especially true on appearance and delivery. If there is no litter, no graffiti and all landscaping is well maintained it can have a dramatic effect. If graffiti is removed the moment it appears it removes the purpose for the miscreants and they go elsewhere. If renters see ALL staff pick up litter they will not drop it, because it instils pride that their homes are cared for and well looked after.
Small things can make a big difference. It just takes time, energy and a desire to want to serve and manage. After all if we don’t do that we should find another profession!
Roger Southam, Multifamily Innovator & Advisor