Walton Communities, Winning the Resident Retention Game One Resident at a Time
Walton Communities — with 30 properties across the Atlanta, Augusta, and Gainesville areas — believes in the mission that apartments should be more than the places that people live, but should be thriving and impactful communities. From resident surveys to a Customer Experience Committee, Walton strives to make the most of their residents’ experiences. We caught up with Melissa Whirledge, Director of Marketing at Walton Communities, to learn about their resident retention initiatives and how Updater is helping to ease their move-in process.
What do you see as the key to extraordinary resident retention?
Service is the most critical component of resident retention. Our residents need to understand and believe how much we value their decisions to make our communities their homes. Beyond building a place where people live, we’re creating communities where people thrive.
What our residents think is incredibly important to us, and we’re very receptive to feedback. This includes carefully reviewing surveys to discover opportunities where we can better serve our residents. We know that it’s often the simple gestures that go a long way in building quality environments — simple acts such as calling people by their first name, sending birthday cards, and helping them with their groceries. Our team members work to build lasting and impactful relationships with our residents. At the end of the day, we want our residents to have a positive experience with us, one that is unlike any other.
What do you see as the biggest challenge for residents when moving into either a new apartment or a new community?
There are so many factors to consider in a move — packing, setting up utilities, booking a moving company, the list often feels endless. Updater, however, helps our residents with all of this!
For our residents, Updater is a one-stop shop to organize each step of the moving process. With Updater, they’re able to take care of forwarding their mail, finding a moving company, ordering boxes, and so much more.
What specific programs have you implemented at your properties to increase resident retention and satisfaction? How does Updater align with these initiatives?
We have a Customer Experience Committee that reviews each aspect of the resident journey and evaluates how we can make it better. One area that has been a focus for us recently is the move-in experience. We know that moving is a stressful transition, but we also know that we can help make it easier, which allows our residents to enjoy their time with us more.
For this specifically, Updater is a fantastic tool! We believe that the time and frustration that Updater saves our residents significantly contribute to creating a positive and seamless move-in experience.
When it comes to property amenities, what do you see as more important, the physical or virtual space?
We are excited about the improvements and efficiencies that the virtual space brings to every aspect of life. With that said, however, physical spaces are critical to the overall resident experience. We hope that our physical amenities and their home create a sense of comfort and peace. The community a resident chooses to live in should be a retreat that provides a place to recharge and connect.
What do you see as the number one challenge currently facing the property management industry?
A significant challenge faced by the property management industry and in most industries is finding a way to differentiate yourself. How can we create a product and an experience that is authentically unique? How do we build relationships that inspire loyalty among our customers? In what ways can we use our platform to have a positive impact on the world around us?
Unique to the property management industry, however, is that our residents literally spend their lives with us. This creates an exciting opportunity to invest in our residents — to embrace the things that they see as important and work alongside them to create a lasting impact.
Lastly, what excites you about the future of the property management industry?
The property management industry provides a way to have a significant impact on the lives of our residents. We believe that we have a unique opportunity to contribute to the overall quality of our residents’ lives through not only the four walls in which they live, but also through the programs and services that we offer, and the community that the residents together have created.