Understanding why a particular industry chooses to mystery shop, and how they use the results, is information rarely shared with mystery shoppers…until now. Join us each month for our Industry Insider post.
The new-housing and apartment-management industries are very cyclical and competitive. The Great Recession took its toll on new housing, but created a busy and viable few years for the apartment industry. The pendulum is now beginning to swing back as people become more confident making home purchases.
No matter what the economic cycle, you will often find that similar communities built near one another will tout the same features – square footage, views, accessibility to transportation, and amenities like pools and gyms. What can set one community apart from another is how the leasing or sales agent presents the property, and the agent’s ability to make the prospect feel like this property could be their home.
Most new housing and apartment shops are four-fold:
- A telephone call
- An in-person visit
- An evaluation of the community and models
- Receipt of follow-up contact from the property
A lot of information is reported back to the management of these properties, and is utilized in various ways. Mystery shopping reports tell a property manager or owner how the property is being maintained, what information sales and leasing agents are presenting, and whether those agents are following the company standards. Reports also provide feedback on whether agents are asking the correct questions to understand each individual’s needs, if advertising sources are being tracked, and how agents treat each prospect.
Training programs are developed based on the output of the mystery shopping process, as are maintenance upgrades and changes in advertising sources. Your objective observations, insights and honest opinions (where asked) are vital to keeping these communities and properties competitive in their respective markets.