Last week I was with a few of my colleagues and our COO attending a Customer Experience conference in Cleveland. One of the challenges presented to us was to call our locations randomly and ask the person that answers if they can provide the weather forecast.This isn’t something that our typical caller would be calling for and most definitely would seem like a strange and random request.The exercise is to gauge how willing our people are to accommodate a caller that isn’t a “customer”. There was no interest shown towards the community and no mention of scheduling an appointment.

As we held our breath, we called 7 communities. We launched right into asking for the weather. Some of us took it a step further and asked for restaurant recommendations. I’m excited (and relieved) to say that 6 of the 7 calls were great. One was a bit reluctant to engage – no doubt wondering why someone was calling an apartment community for the weather forecast when there are several tools for this at the touch of a smart phone! She eventually came around though and played along. One of the calls went extremely well. After providing the weather and answering all of our questions, Jaime at Reflections on Sweetwater, attempted to convert our caller to a prospect and invited her to tour the community! Whew!

We were all high-fiving each other in excitement for having “passed” the test. But WE actually hadn’t passed the test. Seven people working at our Venterra communities had passed the test. They weren’t worried (for the most part J) about why someone needed the weather. They simply sprang into action to be as helpful as they could and to genuinely help. So to Veronica Barcenas, Hannah Morris, Jaime Jaimes-Bueno, Carly Haycraft, Wesley Carroll, Mollie Witt and Erik Carrillo, I say, “You guys rock!” Thanks for being the superstars you are every day! And for being such A-Players, we have a surprise coming via email, so be sure to watch closely over the next few days. Here’s a hint of what to expect – it’s the perfect start to the day for many and sounds a lot like Stardust…. Enjoy!