Proptech humanising property management

Proptech humanising property management

23 November 2018

Total investment in real estate tech has ballooned from US$33 million in 2010 to more than US$5 billion last year, and property management is one market segment feeling the impact, reports global media company Forbes.

While some people fear that using technology will replace high-value, face-to-face interaction, others are finding that technology and automation, when used thoughtfully, can actually improve and humanise the customer experience, writes property management CEO Doug Brien.

“For example, early on, we realised that our property managers were losing hours of time showing vacant apartments,” he adds.

“Prospects were often no-shows. Sometimes showings lasted just minutes, but consumed far more driving time. Even worse, data indicated that most prospects didn’t feel that showing agents added much value.

To counter the problem, some property managers now use “smart locks” that enable self-showings.

Prospective renters can immediately request to see a property and tour the site at their own convenience with a unique code that expires after a set period of time.

Property managers can then follow up with the prospect to answer questions, learn more about likes and dislikes and perhaps find a unit that better meets their needs.

When someone is ready to rent a unit, the person can apply, place a deposit, and sign a lease in an automated and mobile-friendly way.

“This process automates the mundane tasks and allows property managers to redirect their time toward higher-value tasks that better serve both owners and residents,” says Mr Brien.

Property agents can also leverage automated surveys and other forms of real-time communication to glean real, useful feedback from residents.

After moving in, for instance, an automated message can be sent to a new resident asking about their move-in experience. What condition was the unit in when delivered? Was the management company helpful?

If there was a problem, an agent can follow up with the resident directly to apologise and remedy the situation. He or she can also gather additional insight that will improve management operations moving forward.

This creates a win-win: Residents feel much more connected to a property, and they feel their voices are being heard. This real-time feedback allows property managers and owners to continually improve the experience.

There are loads of activities that happen in property management, and as a result, owners often lose track of what’s happening to their properties. This is especially true in the leasing process.

New automated technologies also allow managers to provide owners with key updates regarding their properties.

This can include a notice to vacate, pre-marketing of the unit, a proposed turn scope and corresponding rents, real-time demand metrics (leads, showings, appointments) or a notice of an approved application and deposit.

In trickier situations where an eviction is necessary, managers can update the owner with critical information such as court hearings and so on, so owners are not left in the dark.

It’s true that there will never be a substitute for person-to-person interaction, but there is certainly a growing role for technology and automation to humanise the property management experience. When deployed thoughtfully, these tools can enhance customer service and improve a company’s ROI.