Service and Perceived Value

The search for a good apartment can be much like the search for a good restaurant. Do you like the area? Is it comfortable? Are the amenities worth the price? And then once you’ve found the perfect one, what keeps you going back for more?

First and foremost, the product has to be good. I’ve been disappointed in the past by restaurants that friends have recommended as being “great” or “delicious.” If I don’t like the food, I’m not going back. A bare apartment needs to be clean and welcoming; it doesn’t need a ton of bells and whistles, it just needs to be hospitable.

Moving on, the price needs to match the goods. If a restaurant charged me $50 for a salad, I’d have a hard time going back—even if the salad were delicious. The same goes for apartments; I’m not going to spend a fortune for a noisy apartment with leaky plumbing and stinky neighbors.

Service, service, service. Inattentive or rude staff members can ruin even the best meal. I once ate at a Chicago restaurant that is rated one of the best in the nation; the servers were flighty, there was too much time between courses, the bill was ridiculously expensive, and I didn’t enjoy the food. I’ve often thought that my substandard experience ruined the taste of my meal. In an apartment, the building’s staff can have much the same affect on a resident. If management is flighty, rude or unresponsive to resident requests, count on having a vacant apartment at the end of a resident’s lease.

Finally, restaurants and apartments need to maintain the standard that initially got people coming in. Too often restaurants and apartments change hands, and the quality begins to suffer. Smaller plates are offered for more money, or buildings begin to deteriorate before your eyes. Customers are smart; they know what they like and what they don’t, and they remember everything.

Pay attention to what you’re serving. It can be the difference between improving or retracting from your bottom line.

– Missy Schwartz

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