Most multi-family management companies want their on-site teams to really connect with their customers. Camden supports their on-site teams in a manner that allows time for customer care. The Camden difference is efficient on-site processes (Also leading to greater job satisfaction). I’ll refer to that as the “Quiet Giant” behind our amazing teams. When organizations have efficient systems, their teams are free to connect, create and master the art of customer care.
I have a nostalgic approach to customer care and encourage my team to ALWAYS do what you can…when you can…the best that you can. We look for opportunities to assist, resolve problems, connect with them and care for our customers. It’s a big job that isn’t for everyone and we don’t always succeed.
A couple of weeks ago, the “Polar Vortex” brought another snow storm to Raleigh, NC. Since we only get a dusting of snow annually, A snow event is a really big deal to us.
[Allow for irritated sarcasm from our northern acquaintances who roll their eyes when a little bit of snow shuts down a southern city.]
Ultimately, your city of origin means nothing if you live in a place that is not equipped to handle snow. Raleigh, North Carolina is not equipped for snow.
On February 12th, snow fell fast and heavy, putting our entire city in gridlock.
Camden Asbury Village is where my team is located. We learned from the snowstorm on January 29th that a snowstorm is an opportunity to “be there” for our customer and to completely blow their minds. After hearing the forecast, we stocked up on hot cocoa, snacks, sodas, beer and pre-arranged a pizza order for pick-up.
The snow fell too quickly and we weren’t able to pick up the pizza. But what happened next was so much better.
My team discovered that cars were getting stuck on the road in front of our community. It gradually became a 30+ car pile-up with abandoned vehicles and stranded motorists. They also discovered that our golf carts were light enough to get perfect traction. With three running golf carts, they stepped into action transporting people to shelter, food, beverages and electronics.
· They rescued a group of new hires that were in training at the Wells Fargo down the street. The group was trying to get back to The Hyatt Place on foot.
· They gave rides to stranded motorists and invited them into our clubhouse where they used our computers, wifi, phones, electricity to charge their phones, and enjoyed beverages and snacks.
· My own David Weikert saw someone trudging through the slippery snow in a skirt and heels. She was walking to her apartment at a neighboring community. David offered her a ride to get her out of the snow. She explained that she lived at a different community. It didn’t matter, he got her safely to the Colonial Grand community nearby.
· Three of my employees pulled together and drove golf-carts back and forth from Sheetz, The Hyatt, to farther buildings, back to the clubhouse and from disabled cars. Some of our residents were able to get curbside pick-up.
· Jessi Christian, the assistant manager at Camden Asbury Village, walked dogs for two residents that couldn’t get home, David also fed a cat for someone unable to get back to the community.
· Many of our residents were pulling cars out of the pile-up, helping motorists get their cars back on the road and giving them a push for traction.
Although they were only on duty until 6:00 PM, Jessi Christian and David Weikert both kept the clubhouse open until everyone had a place to go. One of our residents was kind enough to take them a container of soup.
They took a catastrophe and found multiple ways to be useful. They gave in ways people would never expect.
Their actions and decisions created an atmosphere of close-knit family and friends. People truly felt like we were all in this together. The crowd warming up in the clubhouse was happy and people were laughing while making friends. Several attendees retrieved board games to play. This snowstorm allowed us to enjoy the best resident function we could hope for. It’s funny, you can’t plan something like that, you have to be ready to respond in unexpected ways.
Our residents were completely blown away that we would stay open, help people get to and from their apartments, and that we would provide the means to turn a messy storm into a positive experience.
Looking Back, Jessi would love a video of the gathering, just to capture the atmosphere. It’s the kind of environment we imagine when we plan the events, but they rarely turn out that well. I’m so grateful that my team saw this opportunity to provide “Blow your Mind” customer (and community) care.