So we dropped the term “tenant” but is our new word the best? “Resident”?
We dropped the rather derogatory term “tenant” years ago. “Tenants live in tenements”, we say “Our residents live in apartment homes.” And we feel pretty smug about our more friendly and professional terminology. But let’s take a second look at this label, resident.
Who is that person next door?
Say you live in a place with houses or apartments on both sides of you. Do you call the people living in those homes your “residents”? I don’t think so! Even if you hardly know the person, they are usually referred to as your neighbor. Right? Your next-door-neighbor.
Next time you are engaging with one of your customers – a resident – imagine them as a neighbor. How would you treat them? What tone of voice would you use? If they were your neighbor, how might that change your mindset and response…especially in a heated situation?
The new term for residents: NEIGHBOR?
I’m not campaigning for a terminology change; from residents…to…neighbors. But it’s not a bad idea. Would it make us think better about how we treat our residents if we referred to them as neighbors? I think so. Neighbor is more personal and warm.
Spoiler Alert: Your residents really don’t care what you call them; resident, tenant, customer, or neighbor. They care about how you treat them and how you make them feel. Focus on that relationship rather than the label. Yet, neighbor has a nice ring to it.