Enhancing Student Accommodation through Rigorous Viewing Experience Audits

In the highly competitive student housing market, the viewing experience is the pivotal first impression that can significantly influence a potential tenant’s decision.

As the industry continues to evolve, student accommodation operators must adopt innovative strategies to stand out. One such strategy is the systematic auditing of the viewing experience.

Operators can reap substantial benefits by standardising and enhancing this critical touchpoint, from bolstering their brand image to minimising void periods. This article delves into the many advantages of implementing a rigorous viewing experience audit programme.

Student Accommodation

The Imperative for Standardisation in Customer Experience

Standardisation is a cornerstone of delivering consistent and high-quality customer experiences. In the context of student accommodation, a standardised viewing process ensures that every potential tenant receives a similarly high level of service, regardless of the property they are viewing or the staff member they encounter.

A study by McKinsey & Company highlights that companies with consistent customer experiences across multiple touchpoints achieve better financial performance and greater customer loyalty. For student housing operators, this means a systematic approach to viewings can lead to higher satisfaction rates, more positive word-of-mouth, and, ultimately, increased occupancy rates.

Benefits for Brand Image

A well-executed viewing experience reflects directly on the brand’s image. When potential tenants visit a property, they are not just evaluating the physical space but also assessing the brand’s professionalism, attention to detail, and overall reputation. A comprehensive audit ensures that every viewing aspect is polished and aligned with the brand’s values.

According to a report by Deloitte, 62% of companies consider customer experience delivered by the brand as a critical competitive differentiator. For student accommodation operators, a viewing experience that consistently exceeds expectations can distinguish the brand in a crowded market. This positive differentiation enhances the brand’s reputation, making it more attractive to potential tenants.

Converting Leads and Minimising Void Periods

One of the most significant challenges in student accommodations is minimising void periods when properties are unoccupied and not generating income. A thorough and engaging viewing experience can be critical in converting leads into leases, reducing these costly periods.

Audits can help identify gaps and areas for improvement in the viewing process. For instance, they might reveal that specific properties are not being shown to their best advantage or that staff members need additional training. Addressing these issues can increase conversion rates. According to research by Bain & Company, companies that excel at customer experience grow revenues 4-8% above their market. By applying this principle to student housing, operators can enhance their viewing processes, leading to quicker lease signings and reduced void periods.

Implementing a Viewing Experience Audit Programme

A successful audit programme involves several key components:

  1. Comprehensive Checklists: Develop detailed checklists that cover every aspect of the viewing experience—from the initial contact to the follow-up communications. This ensures no detail is overlooked.
  2. Regular Training: Ensure all staff members are trained regularly on the best practices for conducting viewings. Training should include soft skills like communication and empathy and hard skills like property management software to streamline and personalise correspondence.
  3. Feedback Mechanisms: Implement systems for collecting feedback from prospective tenants after their viewings. This can provide invaluable insights into what works well and what requires improvement.
  4. Technology Integration: Leverage technology to streamline and enhance the viewing process. Virtual tours, for example, can provide an initial experience that entices students to schedule an in-person visit.
  5. Continuous Improvement: Viewing experience audits should not be a one-time effort but a continuous process. Regular reviews and updates ensure the viewing experience evolves to meet changing expectations and market conditions.

Enhancing Brand Loyalty and Advocacy

In the age of digital communication, brand loyalty and advocacy can be powerful tools for student housing operators. A seamless viewing experience can leave a lasting impression on potential tenants, making them more likely to choose your property and recommend it to others. Positive online reviews and word-of-mouth referrals are invaluable in attracting new tenants.

A report by Temkin Group found that a positive customer experience can lead to increased loyalty and recommendations, with 86% of buyers willing to pay more for a better experience. Ensuring that every viewing is an exemplary demonstration of your brand’s commitment to quality fosters a community of satisfied tenants who become advocates for your properties.

Conclusion

Auditing the viewing experience is a strategic investment that can yield significant returns for student housing operators. By standardising the customer experience, enhancing brand image, and improving lead conversion rates, these audits can help minimise void periods and boost overall occupancy rates. In a competitive market, the operators who prioritise and perfect the viewing experience will attract more tenants and cultivate a loyal and vocal customer base, ensuring sustained success and growth.

 By embracing the power of a meticulous and standardised viewing experience audit programme, student housing operators can secure a competitive edge, fostering a thriving community and a sterling reputation in the market.

 

Contact us here to learn more about our award-winning audit approach, the benefits of using unbiased data and how we can reshape your customer journey and train your team to cover all your critical customer touchpoints.

 

References

  1. McKinsey & Company. “The Three Cs of Customer Satisfaction: Consistency, Consistency, Consistency.”
  2. Deloitte. “The Deloitte Consumer Review: The Growing Power of Consumers.”
  3. Bain & Company. “Customer Experience Tools for Growth.”
  4. Temkin Group. “ROI of Customer Experience, 2018.”

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