As part of our week of HMO customer experience improvements, we're giving you some ideas on how to ace your HMO tenant check-ins. As part of your customer experience, it is important to make your new tenant feel special and one way to do this is to start by calling them your customer as psychologically this tends to make us treat them differently. Moving home can be a stressful process and there could be a lot of emotion involved, so the single most important thing you can do it to just be nice.
First things first, double-check the moving in date with your new customer and agree a time for them to start moving in. You will also need to confirm the move out date with the exiting customer to ensure they have vacated the room and you have time to prepare it for your new customer. The level of work required to get the room back up to standard is a huge factor in all this
Coordinating departures and arrivals
Carry out an inspection roughly one week prior to when the current customer is due to check out. Here you will be able to ascertain the level of cleaning required as well as report any maintenance to your handyman so they make good any damage and ensure the room looks fresh. You want the room to be in showroom condition for when your new customer moves in. If decorating or carpet cleaning is required you want to ensure there's enough time to get this done as well as cleaning the room. Make sure you take plenty of photos before and after and make a detailed description of any damages so these can be reviewed and the necessary deductions taken from deposits. Check out and check-in can be done in a day provided there isn't any major damage to the room, but even then, having a good trades team on hand will prove invaluable in these situations. The sooner the room is ready, the sooner it can be rented out.
Presentation of your room
Dress the room as it appeared in your original pictures and really do make the extra effort as you don't want to run the danger of overpromising and underdelivering as that is never good in any business. If your cleaner is preparing the room, give them a set of guidelines that they can work towards and pictures of exactly how the room needs to look. The level of detail you go into is up to you, but if you need things done a certain way, you had better make it very clear in your guidelines how you want everything to look.
Going the extra mile
Put together a welcome pack with a town map, local amenities, transport timetables etc. If you're really looking to provide a great experience, consider a small welcome hamper consisting of a few daily essentials to help your new customer settle into their new home. Things to include are tea bags, coffee, sugar, milk, a toilet roll, shower gel, shampoo and conditioner, etc, just the single-use type you get in hotels, finished off with a little welcome letter from you, this needn't cost a lot of money and it will all help towards building a positive customer experience.
If the other housemates are available to see if they are free to make introductions. Give them a tour of the house and show them where everything is such as fire exits and things like the kitchen utensils etc and the house noticeboard.
If you haven't already done so, consider setting up a Whatsapp group for the house and add your new customer to the group. Give them the best number to contact if they have any problems and make sure you respond in an efficient manner. If you have a locked out or lost key policy now is the time to reiterate it as you are just about to hand over the keys to the house, so strike while the iron is hot.
Wishing you the very best in your check-ins, please comment below if you have implemented any of these ideas into your HMO business.