There is a lot to be said for customer service and word of mouth.
By nature, I am an apartment dweller. I have never had any real desire to buy a home and as a result I have rented many different apartments over the years. About five years ago, I moved into a small town, Prescott AZ. This experience was not a great experience as there are many aspects of small town living that did not agree with me. But what made this experience worse was the fact that I lived in an apartment complex that was terrible for maintenance and then tried to rip me off at every turn. I was already planning to move out of state in the next year and half but was forced to move within the town just to get away from this complex where I was living. I thought that I would write about this experience because I think it exemplifies how a business can be propelled by good customer service and word of mouth.
I began searching the town for apartments and to be very honest I was not impressed by any of the apartment companies I investigated. Most did not maintain their properties well and there were many apartments that were ridiculously overpriced. Sadly, the largest issue with many of these companies was the fact that they were not customer service oriented at all! I could not get rental companies to call me back after multiple calls. The companies who did call me back were only interested in renting to college students for astronomical prices. In a six month span of time, I must have looked at dozens of apartment communities and could find nothing better than the crap hole I was already living in- until I checked out Lakeview Apartments.
When I investigated Lakeview I was pleasantly surprised by the management being extremely friendly and attentive to my needs. I was timid of any management company in this town and I think the manager understood my issues. She went out of her way to accommodate me and answered all my questions honestly. I moved into the complex at the end of the month and lived there for a year. My experience was fantastic! I was finally able to work and function properly in my home which I could not do at the prior apartment complex.
I mention this experience because I believe that it highlights the power of customer service and word of mouth. My experience with Lakeview was positive due their professionalism and quality of service. I have already recommended the apartment complex to at least six other people who have asked me how it was living at Lakeview. Oppositely, I have given countless people terrible reviews of the first apartment complex I lived at in Prescott.
While Lakeview is not a high end or large rental property, the company was able to earn my business because they employed simple practices which made them stand out as a good company. Quick responses to calls, emails, and friendliness were enough to gain my business. They also practiced credibility standing behind what they stated they would do as a company. This is something that both large and small companies should strive to accomplish. The lesson here is that customer service and word of mouth are still primary drivers for the success or failure of a business.