2009 WOW Stories
“What impresses me most about the whole WOW concept is that it is not a top-down organizational initiative. It is an extremely important effort and cultural phenomenon within Venterra that has been started and expanded throughout the organization by the people who interact with our residents on a day-to-day basis. This is how great companies are built. While Venterra has a number of differentiators versus our competition, when answering the question “what makes Venterra different”, you don’t need to look any further than the Power of WOW.” ~ John G. Foresi, CEO -Venterra Realty
Introduction by Richard Roos, VP of Finance & Operations In late 2008 when we were planning where we should focus organizational efforts in 2009, it became abundantly clear that customer service needed to be the focus for Venterra. We had always viewed ourselves as a customer service focused organization, but it was hard to demonstrate we were truly committed – we
rarely asked,” how does this affect the customer” when making business decisions! Having realized this, we set out to identify the things Venterra needed to accomplish in order to be truly committed to delivering world class customer service. Having identified many new customer service initiatives for 2009, something still seemed to be missing. The added focus would no doubt improve our customer service delivery, but how could we get complete organizational understanding and commitment if we had not defined the destination of our journey? While sitting on a plane 33,000 feet in the air somewhere over Kentucky, it finally occurred to me – we had to paint a simple picture of the customer service experience we wanted all of our customers to experience. A quick email to Stephanie and Teresa when I landed and 5 hours later at the Westin Airport Hotel in Dallas we had the first working version of the Customer Service Vision. To complement this vision, we developed a list of Customer Service Values to assist us in making real -time decisions while interacting with residents that are aligned with achieving our Customer Service Vision.
This envisioned future and values are contained in the following pages. Since that initial day in Dallas, many others have contributed to refining our customer service vision, and I would like to express my thanks to everyone who played a key role in getting us to this point. I am thrilled with the progress we have made as an organization in 2009 toward creating a world-class customer service environment. We have a great opportunity to revolutionize our industry, and I am excited to be part of setting a new standard with all of you. I can say that Venterra is now truly committed to being world-class at customer service. We are burning the bridges behind us and there is no going back, so if you have not embraced customer service, now is the time. Maybe the best indication of our growing customer service focus was evidenced by the amazing number and quality of “WOW Stories” submitted. It was amazing to read the incredible difference our employees were making in the lives of our customers. I sincerely appreciate the efforts of those who created “WOW” moments throughout the past year and look forward to seeing us raise the bar again in 2010.
Customer Service Vision
Experience A Better Way of Apartment Living Venterra's goal is to continuously raise the standard of apartment living through our commitment to exceptional service and our never-ending focus on improving the customer living experience.
KEEP IT CLEAN – We will keep our properties clean and inviting. KEEP IT WORKING – We will be the industry leader in reliable apartment features and amenities. KEEP IT SIMPLE – We will make every encounter easy and convenient. KEEP IT FUN – We are committed to providing a fun and social atmosphere. MAKE IT EXCEPTIONAL – We go above and beyond to create memorable experiences.
Customer Service Values
The WOW Production by Stephanie Gonzalez, Director of Marketing Great customer service is not easy to define. It’s one of those things that you know it when you see it and especially when you receive it! In 2009 when we were discussing how rare it is to receive great service, it was obvious that we stood to gain a substantial competitive edge if we could be the best at customer service. We began sharing stories of great customer service observed at our properties. As we told story after story, the momentum increased with each story receiving a bigger “WOW” than the one before. In that moment, the WOW Contest was born. The challenge was not to define Great Customer Service but to create a way for these acts of great service to be shared across Venterra and to create a culture that encouraged a healthy dose of competition and desire to be the best at WOWing our customers. Finally, we knew these acts had to be rewarded. When Richard asked if I would facilitate the WOW contest, I didn’t hesitate. It was obvious to me that this was going to be an incredible project! The WOW contest got off to a rocky start. but the quick turnaround was amazing! We smashed Fair Housing concerns, hurtled writer’s block and made the time to share stories! We did what we do at Venterra every time we are presented with a challenge. We chewed it up and spit it out! And it paid off BIG. We posted 453 WOW stories over the 6 month contest. Most impressive, we were gaining momentum a full month after the contest ended. This book was put together to highlight many of the great customer service acts taking place at Venterra communities and make up the foundation of our new vision. I want to thank everyone that participated by submitting a story and everyone that created the very special WOW moments for our customers. I also
want to thank a few groups of employees that provide a specific and memorable service to our customers and aren't recognized enough. THE VENTERRA MOVERS – These are the employees that are always willing and insisting to lend a helping hand to our new customers moving in. THE DUMPSTER DIVERS – Those of you that never hesitate to jump into a dumpster with the mission of finding whatever it is the resident accidently has thrown away. THE AFTER HOURS TEAM – These are employees that come in on their day off or stay late to make an appointment more convenient to the customer or to benefit the team. VENTERRA AUTO SERVICE- These members will fix a flat, pop a lock and/or give our resident’s cars a jump if needed to keep the customer on schedule. FULL SERVICE CONCIERGE TEAM – Dogs, dinner, leases, laptops and packages are among many of the items we deliver to our customers on a daily basis. VENTERRA DAY MAKERS – This group provides for anyone in need. You cook when our residents are without food, care for those with medical conditions and go above and beyond to help those in their time of need.
Kristin Brenkus, Leasing Consultant—Dallas, TX
One of our new leasing consultants, Kristin, took it upon herself to meet her move in after hours at the office. She met the new resident at 8 p.m. on a Saturday night to sign the lease paperwork, tour the community and walk-through her new apartment home. What a way to show off customer service and go out of the way to make a new resident feel appreciated!
Ian Ritchie, Assistant Property Manager—Atlanta, GA
Ella, one of our new residents, called the office asking for recommendations on restaurants that delivered to the community. Our new APM, Ian, asked Ella what type of food she liked. Ella informed him that she was in the mood for Chinese. Being new to the area himself, Ian was not aware of what restaurants were closest so he decided to Google all nearby delivery places. He found a few Chinese restaurants and narrowed it down to one. He then proceeded to print the menu off and deliver it to Ella’s apartment. Ella was blown away by Ian taking the extra step to research a restaurant and print the menu. Talk about unparalleled service excellence!
Sonya Machado, Assistant Property Manager—San Antonio, TX
We have an elderly resident who enjoys watching movies, but is unable to get out on his own to check out new ones. Our leasing consultant, Sonya, takes the time to deliver two to three DVDs to his apartment a couple times a week. He also does not have cable, so she escorts him from his apartment to the office once a week so that he can watch the History Channel. The resident looks forward to his weekly occurrences with Sonya and is always very appreciative for her generosity.
Carrie Price, Assistant Property Manager—Brentwood, TN
One of our residents had been going through some difficult financial hardships and was unable to pay her rent. In order to keep from being turned over to collections, she decided to pawn a ring of hers to help make ends meet. She worked this out with our APM, Carrie, and informed her that she would have the money to her that same day if she would wait before turning her over to collections. The only problem was that she didn't even have enough gas in her car to drive to the bank nor did she have the money to buy gas. Carrie loaned the resident $20 (out of her own pocket) so that the resident could buy gas and make it to the bank. The resident got gas and was able to pay Carrie back for her efforts and clear her balance for rent. Carrie truly thought outside of the box and was able to help both the resident and her property out!
The Staff at Raintree—Houston, TX One of our elderly residents just came home after two and a half weeks of being in rehab after surgery. We went to her apartment and brought her a plant, some balloons and the cookies from the office that she usually comes to get every couple of days. When she opened the door she was so surprised that she almost cried. She was very thankful that the staff cared enough to take the time to do that for her.
The Staff at Willow Springs—Houston, TX
We recently had a pool party with hot dogs, drinks, and nachos. We realized that we had several senior citizens in our community who were unable to attend. We went to the senior citizens’ homes with dinner plates. They were so happy and surprised!
Danny Banegas, Maintenance Manager—Houston, TX
Our maintenance manager, Danny, was doing some work in one of our elderly resident’s apartments. He noticed that she had not been feeling well, so he went to the store and bought her some soup. The resident was so astonished that Danny would do this for her! She went to the office later that week to praise Danny and his kindness.
Ian Ritchie, Assistant Property Manager, and Lauren Brooks, Property Manager—Atlanta, GA Ms. Ivy transferred from her spacious two bedroom apartment home into our smallest one bedroom to cut down on expenses while she waited to move back to the assisted living community across the street. Her grandchildren moved her and left the majority of her belongings in boxes since they assumed it would only be a couple of months until she would be moving again. After three months of waiting, Ms. Ivy was still without a place at the assisted living and was upset due to the lack of assistance she needed…she had not even been able to unpack all of her boxes. Ian and Lauren, APM and PM, arrived at Ms. Ivy’s apartment the following day to organize the boxes leaving her room to get around. Ms. Ivy was so blown away by their hard work and generosity, especially in such a temporary situation.
Rachel Smith, Leasing Consultant—San Antonio, TX
One of our older residents was looking over the DVD releases posted on the front door and remarked that she would like to watch one; however, she did not know how to connect her DVD player. Rachel, seeing no obstacle in helping our resident, went to her home and connected the DVD player. She can now watch her DVDs with no commercial interruptions. Thanks Rachel!
Crystal Sanchez, Assistant Property Manager—Fort Worth, TX
Some of our older residents are still learning the IT world and getting familiar with computers, printers and scanners! Crystal was so kind as to help one of our long time (hard to please) residents hook up her scanner, add the software, fix her internet connections and give a brief tutorial on how to use it! She ended up thanking Crystal by sending her a box of chocolate the next day.
Chris Earle, Porter and Rob Faircloth, Make Ready Technician—San Antonio, TX Chris and Rob were heading back to the shop at the end of the day when they came across a damsel in distress. She was in a hurry to leave for work when she discovered she had a flat tire. Chris and Rob stopped and changed her tire so that she could be on her merry way. She was happy and relieved because she could be at work on time. Thanks Chris and Rob for being her Knights in Venterra Armor.
A STEP AHEAD Jesse Sanchez, Assistant Maintenance Technician—San Antonio, TX
On a long, hot summer day, the last thing you want to do is exert more energy working. Jesse had just finished a long day at work and was ready to be at home. While walking to his apartment (on property), he noticed a strange banging sound from the outside AC unit of his neighbor’s apartment. Rather than calling the on-call maintenance tech, he decided to take the time to figure out and fix the problem. The resident was so impressed by Jesse’s help… especially since he had not even put in a work order. Talk about putting others above yourself!
The Staff at Shadow Valley—San Antonio, TX
Sylvia, one of our residents, from time-to-time needs her medication adjusted or she will stop taking it all together. When this happens, she is known to do some peculiar things. This one particular time, Sylvia had stopped taking her medicine and decided to move all of her furniture out of her apartment and next to the trash compactor. The maintenance team noticed this and reported it to the Property Manager, Vanessa. Vanessa called Sylvia’s daughter (her emergency contact) to report this random incident. Her daughter was out of state at the time and unable to help with the situation. The staff took it upon themselves to move the furniture back to Sylvia’s apartment until her daughter could arrive to help with the matter. What an awesome way to step up and help out!
Rick Forgus, Porter—Longview, TX
One of our residents pulled up to the office to take care of some business. Our Porter, Rick, was outside when he heard air spewing from the resident’s tires. He ran to the shop, grabbed some parts and changed the resident’s tire! Rick had completed her flat tire while the resident was inside, so she had no time delays!
Mollie Norton, Leasing Consultant—Houston, TX
Mollie, our leasing consultant, recently had new residents that were moving from Louisiana. They were supposed to move in on Friday, but had called Mollie that afternoon to tell her that they had a "hiccup" in their move and would not be there until 9 a.m. Saturday morning. Mollie explained that the office opened at 10 a.m. but gave the resident’s her phone number so that they could call her when they arrived. Saturday rolled around and Mollie had not heard from the residents. The phone number on the application was their old number, so she had no way to contact them. Anticipating their call, Mollie decided to take their keys and lease with her as she left for the evening. Sure enough, the residents called her several hours later. It turns out the residents had been taken off track by their GPS. Mollie met them at their apartment to sign the lease and gave them directions to shopping areas in town. Way to go the extra step, Mollie!
Sheliegh Wright, Assistant Property Manager—San Antonio, TX
As an Assistant Manager, Sheliegh always does whatever she can to make sure her residents pay their rent each month and help them out when they can’t. One of our residents had been relying solely on her social security check each month. She ended up getting a part time job and her social security was stripped from her! Sheliegh knew this wasn’t right and wanted to do something. She called United Way to get a list of local agencies that would help pay the resident’s rent. The resident was so overwhelmed with gratitude from Sheliegh’s assistance. The resident was able to secure a place to get her rent paid for the month. Sheliegh still to this day uses her list of agencies to refer residents to when they are going through hard times.
Abdu Sallak, Assistant Maintenanceâ€”Atlanta, GA Abdu was walking through the parking garage and noticed a resident parked along the side of the garage with his car running. Something just didn't seem right to Abdu so he went up to the car. The resident was completely intoxicated. Abdu asked him where he was going and the man started rambling about the Georgia Tech game and said that he was on his way to a birthday party. Abdu advised him not to drive to which the resident responded in a slurring fashion, "I'm fine". Abdu talked him into parking his car and then called a taxi for the resident to get to the party. When the taxi arrived, Abdu found out that the resident didn't have the cash on hand for the ride. Abdu gave the driver $20 and told him where to go.
JUST LISTEN Jean Forgus, Housekeeper—Dallas, TX
One of our elderly residents comes to the office everyday to purchase a paper from the newspaper stand. The other day he stopped by the office for his routine purchase. He placed the money in the machine and pulled out his paper. To his surprise, he noticed that the paper was from the previous day. Our housekeeper, Jean, noticed that the resident did not look particularly happy so she asked him if something was wrong. He informed Jean that the day was already not going well and this just ‘topped’ it off. Jean took it upon herself to go to the grocery store and purchase the current paper for the day. She delivered the paper to the resident and convinced him that not everything was going awry. Kudos to Jean for making this older man feel like his day was going to be okay after all!
Sally Flores, Senior Leasing Consultant—San Antonio, TX
One Saturday afternoon at Vista Del Rey a prospect came in looking for an apartment. They were relocating from Virginia with the military. Sally showed them around and invited them to sit down and they filled out their application. As they sat there and talked with Sally, the girlfriend told her that she worked in the auto business back home. Sally told her that she had just left that business to get into this business. The couple moved in about a month later and the girlfriend kept coming into the office to use our business center that whole week. She finally told Sally that she was looking for a job and was getting frustrated since she didn't know San Antonio. She had sent off her resume to tons of places and no luck. Sally asked her if she still wanted to work at a dealership and she said, “yes I love it!” Sally told her that she would call around and help her out since she had met a ton of people over the years. She was so amazed that someone who barely knew her would do such a thing. Sally
called about four dealerships and no luck. She finally called the corporate office to a big dealer in town and spoke with a lady and told her she had a friend looking for a job. Sally hung up the phone and walked over to the business office and told her to send her resume right away. A day went by and the resident came in with a grin so big and said, â€œthanks Sally, I got the jobâ€?. Sally felt so good inside, that such a small thing, made a big difference. Since then the Vista resident has also been promoted. WOW!
STUFF HAPPENS Robin Finney, Leasing Manager, and Carrie Price, Assistant Property Manager—Brentwood, TN
One of our new residents (Angela) just moved in a couple weeks ago. She unfortunately had some maintenance issues that needed attention. Yesterday she called the office very upset because she had received a balance due notification and was scared that she was going to be evicted. Robin assured her that this was an automated letter sent out for any monies past due. Carrie, our awesome APM, was in Atlanta for her quarterly training meeting. I told Angela that Carrie would return on Wednesday and would get everything sorted out. Angela called again today to speak with Carrie. Carrie explained why money was owed. Angela expressed how upset she was about the letter and all of the troubles she has had since she moved in. She had also requested a copy of her lease which had not been delivered. In the conversation, Angela mentioned that tomorrow would be a good day for her work orders since she was going to have a margarita to relax at Cozumel’s (a local restaurant). Carrie and Robin drove straight to Cozumel’s and purchased a $15 gift card to cover her dinner. Angela was at the restaurant and was very shocked to see us there. We handed her the copy of her lease in an envelope and the $15 gift card. She apologized for being upset on the phone with Carrie and wanted us to join her for a margarita. We sadly declined but told her to enjoy.
Andrew Martovitz, Maintenance Technician—Brentwood, TN The Venterra way continues to work its way through our property. Our maintenance tech, Andrew, was finishing up a difficult work order in a new move-in’s apartment. She was pretty upset, but grateful that Andrew was taking care of the issue. Andrew went back to the office and expressed his concern for the resident and asked if we could get her a gift card from Starbucks for the incon-
venience. Way to go, Andrew, on spreading customer service through the maintenance team!
PERSONALIZE IT Nancy Hare, Assistant Property Manger—Austin, TX
Nancy Hare, APM, was fervently working to contact a resident regarding her unpaid rent. After several attempts and no contact with the resident, it was time to turn her over to collections and begin the eviction process. She began going through the normal procedures, but was halted when the resident finally contacted her. The resident apologized and informed Nancy that she had been laid off from her job and was receiving no help from her husband who was stationed in Germany at the time with the military. She was at a loss of what to do. The obvious thing for Nancy to do was proceed with the eviction process, but instead she took a step back and decided to take action. She called the local military JAG office to find if there was anything they could do. After much deliberation, JAG was able to get in contact with the husband and have money sent to the resident to cover her rent and save her home. If Nancy had done the original thing, this woman would have had no hope. Thanks to Nancy, the resident was saved from an eviction and able to keep her home!
Ashley Castillo, Leasing Consultant—San Antonio, TX
Ashley recently went on a tour with a couple and their little girl. While going through the model apartment home, the little girl was amazed by all of the decorations. The bathroom happened to be decorated with butterflies. The little girl got so excited when she saw this and expressed her love for butterflies and the color purple. The couple ended up leasing a two bedroom apartment home. On the day of move in, Ashley decided to decorate the bathroom with a purple shower curtain and trash can and bedazzle the room with butterfly stickers. When the family moved in, they were astonished to see all of the work that Ashley had done for them. The expression on the little girl’s face was a WOW moment in itself!
Valerie Salas, Leasing Consultant—San Antonio, TX
Valerie leased an apartment to two girls. One of the girls informed Valerie that it was her first apartment and the other shared that she was moving in on her birthday. When the big day arrived, Valerie placed a huge balloon bouquet in their apartment with two big banners…one said “Congratulations” and the other said “Happy Birthday”. The girls were also new to the area and were not familiar with any restaurants or fun things to do. Valerie took the time to map out an entire weekend for the two girls to welcome them to the area. The girls were amazed at the decorations and BIG welcome! They took Valerie’s map and had the best birthday weekend!
The Staff at Raintree—Houston, TX One of our residents is a recent breast cancer survivor. Our community knew that she would be coming home from surgery in the coming days and wanted to do something nice for her. We decorated her apartment with a bouquet of pink flowers, balloons, a pink ribbon, car magnet and a get well card. We wanted her to know that we were here to be her support system!
Heather L. Schovajsa, Leasing Consultant—Houston, TX
Yesterday Heather had a prospect come in with their family to look at an apartment. While on the tour, the father mentioned that it was his son’s birthday. When they got back to the office, Heather gave the prospect an application to look over. While he was looking over the application, Heather left to go blow up some balloons. She brought the balloons back to the prospect and handed them to his son. The father was so impressed with Heather's kind gesture that he cancelled his application to another apartment and leased with Heather!
Ramon Gonzalez, Property Managerâ€”Houston, TX
One of our residents came into the office to speak with our Property Manager, Ramon. Thinking it might be a complaint or concern, our staff decided to filter out what the resident needed. It turned out that he just wanted to drop off a present for Ramon as a thank you for dropping off diapers for their newborn baby. We had no idea of Ramonâ€™s generosity and were all blown away!
CLOCK’S TICKING Joey Bruce, Regional Maintenance Supervisor, and Westminster at Buckhead Maintenance Team—Atlanta, GA The maintenance team at Westminster at Buckhead had been extremely busy preparing units for the numerous move-ins. While preparing the make ready for one of the apartments, Nelson found the fan motor to the air conditioner had gone bad. This had posed two problems—First, this item had to be special ordered, so there was no chance that the part would arrive in time for the movein; and second, there were no other vacant apartments available to switch out the part. Luckily, Joey, our Regional Maintenance Supervisor, was in town. He drove to another appliance store across town to retrieve the part. When he got there, he realized that there were many different fan motor models. Instead of bothering the busy maintenance staff while they were turning apartments, Joey drove back to the property, went in the vacant apartment and retrieved the fan motor. He then proceeded to drive back to the appliance store with the fan motor to purchase the part…but wait—he didn’t stop here! Once Joey returned to the property, he replaced the fan!
Candie Brassel, Assistant Property Manager—Houston, TX
Our APM, Candie, was walking out to her car after a long day at work when she noticed a man walking up to the office. Instead of getting in her car or brushing him off, Candie decided to help. She discovered that the man was in town from Dallas and needed to get an apartment. Candie opened the office back up and took the man on a tour of the community. Her extra efforts and great customer service wowed the man and caused him to lease! What a great first impression!
Christina Monahas, Leasing Consultant—Galveston, TX
One of our residents, who is self-employed, was called out of town suddenly when her daughter went into early labor. We received a phone call the next day from our resident, Libby, letting us know that everything with her daughter was ok BUT that she would be out of town for awhile....AND she had left in such a hurry and forgot her laptop! Our leasing consultant, Christina, immediately told her not to worry. Christina went to Libby’s apartment retrieved the laptop and mailed it that night. Libby was so thankful for Christina’s hard efforts and ended up sending her a nice bouquet of flowers.
Jesse Sanchez, Assistant Maintenance Technician—San Antonio, TX
We have an elderly resident who needed to do his laundry. He of course, waited to do laundry until he had no clean clothes to wear. The resident stopped by the office for quarters for the laundry room, but we unfortunately did not have enough for his laundry. Our Assistant Maintenance Technician, Jesse, happened to be in the office at the time and overheard the problem. Jesse left the office and headed to the bank to get more change. He then personally delivered change to the resident’s apartment home. The resident was so touched by the extra mile that Jesse put forth and was able to get all of his laundry done!
A BETTER WAY Jason Biggs, Assistant Maintenance Technician—Atlanta, GA
Recently, a prospect came in searching for a two bedroom apartment home for an immediate move in. He had been having problems at his current apartment with crime and wanted to find a safer place. Unfortunately, we had no two bedrooms available for an immediate move-in. Jason, our Assistant Maintenance Tech, was currently living in a one bedroom apartment and was scheduled to transfer to a two bedroom. After hearing the prospect’s story, Jason graciously gave up his future apartment home so that the prospect could have a safer place to live. Jason found a better way by going above and beyond rather than losing the lease!
Sonya Machado, Assistant Property Manager—San Antonio, TX
Sonya was leasing an apartment to a woman who was on a fixed income and only received money from her late husband's pension. The prospect was frustrated with her current apartment because her refrigerator was not working correctly and the community refused to reimburse her for her food loss. The prospect began crying in front of Sonya about her fixed income and the frustrations with her current apartment. Sonya asked her if she was aware of the government assistance programs available for food in which the prospect replied, ‘no’. Sonya quickly began researching government funded programs and pulled up an application for Food Stamps. The prospect was so impressed and could not believe the time that Sonya took to help someone who was not even currently living there. She leased the apartment immediately and sent her a thank you card for all of her efforts!
Vanessa Aragon, Leasing Consultant—San Antonio, TX
Vanessa is a new leasing consultant who is already rolling out the WOWs! Our
senior leasing consultant, Sonya, was out on vacation, so Vanessa was filling in for her. While Sonya was out, Vanessa learned of a resident who Sonya brings a fresh cup of coffee to every morning. The senior resident called in asking for Sonya, but was sad when he learned she was out on vacation. Vanessa assured him not to worry. She went to make a cup of coffee but could not figure out how to work the coffee pot. Instead of giving up, Vanessa stopped at McDonald’s during her lunch break to pick up a cup of fresh coffee for the resident. The man was so impressed that she had gone out of her way to get him a cup of coffee; however, he did tease her about not knowing how to use the coffee pot!
Michael Edgar DelaCruz, Assistant Property Manager—Houston, TX
Dilemma: A couple in the process of getting a divorce came in to look for an apartment. They were arguing about who was going to get custody of their precious dog. Michael, our APM, came to the rescue! He proposed the idea of getting two apartment homes so they could each have their privacy, but still be close enough to share the dog. The couple loved the idea and rented. Michael solved this friction between the couple and got two leases!
Sonya Machado, Assistant Property Manager—San Antonio, TX
Sonya had a new move-in come from out of town with his rental truck. After signing the lease and escorting the resident to his new apartment, Sonya asked if he needed anything else. The resident informed her that he needed to take his rental truck back to the drop-off location. After seeing which drop-off location the resident was going to, Sonya told him that surely there was one closer (rather than on the other side of town). She called the rental truck place to discover that the drop-off location could not be changed without going through the original booking location (which was in Idaho). Sonya took it upon herself to
call the rental place in Idaho and get the drop-off location switched! The resident was very appreciative of Sonyaâ€™s dedication and help. He informed Sonya that her customer service and positive attitude was the reason why he leased in the first place.
Candace Bryant, Leasing Managerâ€”Houston, TX We had a resident who recently moved out of state. The day after she turned in her keys, we received a package for her. Candace, our Leasing Consultant, called her to let her know. The resident informed Candace that she was already too far away to turn around and that the package was really important. Candace told her not to worry. She went to the post office and mailed the package for the resident so she would have it by the time she arrived at her new home.
SAY THANKS The Staff at Willow Springsâ€”Houston, TX
Karen, a leasing consultant at one of our comps, always refers prospects to Willow Springs Apartments. She calls us daily to see if we have a certain floor plan available. We decided to thank her for all the referrals by bringing her a bag of muffins. Karen was so thrilled that we had thought of her; she called us twice that day to thank us!
Leslie Ress, Leasing Consultantâ€”Southeast Region
Leslie Ress was calling back residents that had recently placed a work order with The Landings to make sure everything was completed to their satisfaction. One of our residents made a point to tell me that she appreciated the call and concern, but that it was the gratitude expressed by Leslie for her loyalty to The Landings that was incredible. In all her 40 years of apartment living, she had never had anyone thank her for living there. She has only lived at The Landings for 3 months but says she will never live anywhere else!
Rachel Smith, Leasing Consultant—San Antonio, TX Our newest leasing consultant, Rachel, was showing a new resident how to use the laundry machines in the Clothes Care Center. The resident got his money out to load his laundry card, but to his disappointment, realized that he was short two dollars. Rachel quickly handed the resident a five dollar bill in exchange for his three dollars. The new resident was blown away by Rachel’s generosity and expressed his excitement for being a new resident at their community. Two dollars may not seem like much, but being observant and courteous will build long-term residents!
Chad Roark, Maintenance Technician—San Antonio, TX
While completing a work order for a resident, Chad noticed that the gentleman living in the apartment was not feeling too well and asked if everything was okay. The resident informed Chad that he had just had surgery, but was doing okay. Chad kept thinking about the resident throughout the day. Later that evening, Chad fixed an extra plate of food that his wife had prepared and delivered it to the resident’s apartment home. The resident was so thankful for Chad’s generosity and admitted to him that he actually had not been feeling too well and had not had enough strength to cook a meal. What may have seemed so small to Chad made all of the difference to the resident!
Andrew Martovitz, Maintenance Technician—Brentwood, TN
A resident recently cashed her pay check and placed the money back in the small white envelope. During the course of cleaning out her vehicle she accidentally placed the envelope of cash in the bag of trash and then into the compactor! Like most people, there was NO WAY she could make it to next payday without that money. Our maintenance tech, Andrew, happened to be
near when this happened and wanted to help. But how could he possibly help with this situation? Andrew geared up and jumped into the compactor head first! He began digging through the bags (which was like looking through a needle in a haystack) and located the correct bag. The resident was utterly shocked and amazed at Andrew’s ‘leap’ of courage. What an unexpected generous action, Andrew!
Allison Gallard, Leasing Consultant, and Lissa May, Regional Manager— Houston, TX While working on their new budget, Lissa, RM, and Allison, Leasing Consultant, were interrupted by a frantic call from a resident’s daughter. The resident had just had surgery and her daughter had been unable to get in touch with her. Allison went up to the resident’s apartment only to find that the resident had actually fallen the night before and was just able to get back up to answer the door. After assuring that the resident was okay, Allison went to the store to pick up a few essentials for the resident (food, kitty litter and cat food) and then back to the office for cleaning supplies. Lissa and Allison went back up to the resident’s apartment and proceeded to clean her living room as well as her two litter boxes. What a gracious act by Lissa and Allison (especially since they aren’t two who you would consider “cat people”)!
Rachel Kaser, Assistant Property Manager—San Antonio, TX One of our new residents was ready to move into her new apartment. It was at the end of the day and she had just picked her keys up from the office and was ready to get started. To her disappointment, she realized that the electricity had been cut off. She ran back to the office just in time to catch our leasing consultant, Rachel, just as she was getting in her car to go home. She explained the
situation to Rachel. Rachel went back into the office, called the electric company to discover that they had cut it off due to the resident not setting it up. They were unable to come out that evening, but said that they would be out first thing in the morning. Rachel went to the resident’s apartment and helped her to carry all of her refrigerated items to the clubhouse so that her food would not spoil. The resident came in the next day with her electric account number and praised Rachel for saving the day!
Samantha Garcia, Leasing Consultant—San Antonio, TX Several of our residents’ AC went out so the office handed out all of the fans that they had on property in the meantime. One resident did not have a fan, so Samantha decided to get her fan from home and bring to this resident. Samantha gave the resident her cell phone number so that she could meet her after work to bring her the fan. Samantha kept her promise and met the resident with the fan. It was to Samantha’s surprise that the resident was pregnant. Samantha went above and behind to help this expectant mother stay cool while her AC was being fixed!
Sonya Machado, Assistant Property Manager—San Antonio, TX A newly married military couple leased over the phone with Sonya because they were both out of the area—the husband was stationed in San Angelo for training and the wife was making her way down from New York. Before arriving to their new home, the wife decided she would fly to San Angelo to surprise her husband (whom she had been separated from for three months). She wasn’t going to make it to their new apartment until Sunday when the office was closed. Sonya told the new resident not to worry and scheduled to come by the office on Sunday so that she could get settled in her new home. She told the wife to consider it a belated wedding present so that she could spend more
time with her new husband!
Allen Rafieha, Property Manager â€“ Houston, TX Leading up to Thanksgiving, our Property Manager, Allen, was preparing his usual resident feast at his new property. Allen was promoted to another property. He went back to his old property to invite the staff to their Thanksgiving dinner. While visiting, he ran into one of the residents that knew him. She began explaining to Allen that she wanted to fry a turkey for Thanksgiving, but was not able to do it this year because she did not have all of the proper tools. Allen went out of his way and offered to fry the turkey for her. She was completely flabbergasted and amazed at Allenâ€™s generosity (especially since he no longer worked at that particular property).
Nikki James, Leasing Consultantâ€”Atlanta, GA One Saturday the girlfriend of one of our residents came into the leasing office with her luggage. She was very upset and trying to find a taxi. She spoke minimal English and asked Nikki to help her call a taxi. Nikki jumped on the internet and began making phone calls. The girl proceeded to tell Nikki that her boyfriend had just broken up with her and kicked her out of the apartment. She began crying and told Nikki that she didn't know what she was going to do because her flight back to France wasn't for another week and couldn't afford to purchase a whole new ticket at the last minute. Nikki spoke with a taxi service and had a car on the way. She then got all of the flight information from the girl and told her that she would see what she could do to help. The girl had an international cell phone number so Nikki got the taxi driver's number instead. As soon as Nikki knew that she was safely in the taxi on her way to the airport she called the airline. She was able to get the ticket switched for the girl and a seat held
for her until she could get to the airport with her credit card. Nikki then called the taxi driver and told him to let the girl know that everything would be alright and that she was able to get the flight changed over. The girl was ecstatic to say the least and was able to get back to France without having to do a thing. The taxi driver called Nikki back after dropping the girl off at the airport and said that he was so impressed with all that Nikki had done and wanted to express his amazement for her generosity.