How to Introduce TMA to Your Residents

SatisFacts Research shows that cell phones are quickly eclipsing email as the way residents want to hear from managers, but some residents may still be wary of receiving calls and text messages from their landlords on their cell phones. Here are some tips for managing that fear:

First, educate your new incoming residents as to the importance of being able to contact them. Let them know that if there is an emergency (fire, flood, gas leak, intruder), that you want to be able to notify them immediately so that their families and personal property are best protected. Also, tell them that you will let them know about things that will minimize their headaches, like when the power is unexpectedly down or the water is turned off.

Second, give your existing residents a heads up. Let your existing residents know you'll be rolling out TMA before you actually begin sending text messages. Although many people now have unlimited texting plans, depending on the carrier and the cell phone plan, some residents may pay $0.05-$0.20 per text message they receive, so they may not want to receive text messages for financial reasons. In this case, simply ensure that you have their updated email address and they can receive your communications via email through the TMA service.

We recommend using an "opt out" notification system as most people are short on time. TMA is happy to provide fliers that will help you notify your residents of the implementation of TMA. In the event a resident doesn't see your notification, he/she can always opt out from each text message you send by replying "vipout" to any of your messages, unless you designate otherwise. You can see in the "View/Edit Data" area the difference between a resident who has opted out from his/her phone and a resident who has been designated to not receive text messages by your staff.

If you want to take a more aggressive position, you can simply mandate that each of your residents receive both email and text-based communications from you as a condition of their tenancy (in which case language to this effect should be in your lease documentation) or financially motivate your residents to receive your communications via text and/or email. Some communities tell residents that because the creation, printing and distribution of fliers is labor intensive and expensive, that an additional $X/mo will be charged if the resident cannot be reached via text message or email.

If you use TMA positively, your residents will be thrilled with the service. By notifying them in advance and giving them multiple ways of opting out if they need to (in person, via email, phone call or from each text message), you can rest assured that you are both maximizing the effectiveness of your communications with residents and pleasing them while doing so.