Build it and they will come…or will they? By Jonathan Stein, CEO Vaboo

Data:- we all know the importance of data in order to make our businesses more efficient and to produce a solid customer proposition.

When developing a building it’s useful to know exactly how many light bulbs we will need or how much communal and amenity space might be necessary, but how do we really know what our customers want? Ask them.

Whilst it’s great to have an onsite gym and other amenities that can be charged extra for, what about helping customers with one of the biggest challenges renters face; affordability.

It’s all well and good trying to get more money out of customers but making renting more affordable has got to be part of the customer service wheel. Our latest data shows that accommodation providers should perhaps be thinking about this more.

We constantly survey our renters to get regular insights into their behaviours and demands. From thousands of renters we surveyed in March 2018, over 90% are worried about the rising cost of living. Whilst this may not be surprising, what’s interesting is that the largest pool of respondents were aged 20-33 and this same demographic are also showing that they are more focused on the service they receive from their accommodation providers versus people aged over 40.

How do we know this? Well from the responses we have received so far, those in the younger demographic are far more vocal when providing feedback about the service they receive and what they want. Net Promoter Scores from this demographic seem to be lower, suggesting they are more focused on the service levels they receive. Given that the sector is only going to grow, do we need to be listening more to this younger demographic entering the market as they are likely to be the ones that shape the future of the PRS? I think so, especially given that by 2040 its forecast that over 60% of the renters in the PRS are going to be those over the age of 50 who have never owned a property.

These days we are all used to receiving pretty high levels of customer service and better customer experiences from the numerous services that have been improved by technology. Our renters tell us they are worried about the rising cost of living and where they would most like to be able to save money, but that their social life is still very much a high priority.

With affordability top of mind for most renters as well as the expectation of the value of service, the smartest of accommodation providers identify where there is an opportunity to provide renters with solutions that counter these concerns. After all, renters are customers and building lasting, long-term relationships with them will only lead to mutually beneficial outcomes.

Competition is increasing as the number of renters grows and more properties are developed, in particular with the impact that the customer focused Build to Rent sector is having. All accommodation providers from private landlords to housing associations, as well as property managers need to think about how competitive their offering is and how they are adding real value to their customer’s lives.

At Vaboo, we work closely with accommodation providers to help them better understand their renters and provide a service that adds real value. Through our pioneering renter engagement platform, our clients are able to offer their renters money-saving offers and discounts to not only ease financial pressures but to also improve landlord/renter sentiment and enhance reputation.

If accommodation providers can cover all bases then they will be keeping their customers today and their customers of the future very happy.