Engaged tenants are happy tenants. And internal communication tools enable clear, frequent contact between property management and tenants. Property teams can keep tenants in the loop about building updates, changes to protocols, amenity information and more on a daily basis.

During times of major disruption like COVID-19, the need for effective communication is heightened. As state and federal regulations change, tenants need communications from property management to help guide their reopening plans.

Unfortunately, many property teams struggle with effective tenant communication. It can be hard to find a middle ground between inundating tenants with messages and neglecting them entirely.
Some property teams routinely send messages over the wrong mediums, which invites being ignored or even blocked.

Building communications software tools can automate tedious administrative tasks like scheduling recurring messages, segmenting recipient lists, and maintaining tenant contact information. And property teams can use  building communications tools to improve the tenant experience in the following ways.

1. Communicate Their Way

Tenants want to communicate on their terms, and their preferences vary. However, most tenants now favor text. According to the Building Engines Tenant Experience Gap Report, almost 80 percent of building occupants prefer text message over email for important communications.

Relying on one medium to send messages risks missing a portion of your audience though. Depending on the information you’re sending, this can pose health and safety risks in extreme cases. To make your communications most effective, look for an internal communications tool that makes it easy to broadcast messages via email, text, and messaging platforms like Slack. Some tenants may want to receive messages in all three ways.

Rather than guessing how tenants want to be contacted, most building communication tools can prompt tenants to define their preferred contact method when they sign a lease.

Woman using internal communication tools to send building alert to tenants.

2. Deliver Faster Work Order Resolutions

We now expect everything to be instantaneous—from downloading television shows to getting packages. This expectation extends to work order requests. When tenants contact you with a problem, many expect a response in minutes—not hours or days.

As you know, property teams have their hands full running the property. How do you balance tenant communications with your other duties?

Some property teams use AI-powered internal communication tools to facilitate tenant engagement. (One example is Building Engines’ chatbot Bengie.) AI-powered chatbots can respond to instantly to tenant work order requests, get details, initiate a task, and provide an estimated time for resolution. All without any input from you.

Receiving an instant response helps make tenants feel like their concerns are a priority. This helps them feel engaged and connected to your property, increasing the likelihood they renew their lease. For example, 46 percent of tenants who rated their building communications as “excellent” during COVID-19 said they are more likely to renew leases.

3. Respond Quickly to Tenant Feedback

Knowing what tenants think of your property management can help you resolve service bottlenecks, direct capital spending to the best areas, and predict and prepare for tenant turnover.
Rather than send hard-to-collect, inefficient paper surveys, building communications platforms allow tenants to provide feedback via their preferred communication mediums. These mediums can vary but include text and email at a minimum.

Using an internal communications tool, property teams can prompt tenants to provide feedback on areas ranging from overall building condition to specific services like work orders. Having a quick, consistent way to collect feedback means you spend less time creating surveys and have more time for responding to tenant concerns.

Office tenant receiving an important protocol update send via internal communication tools.

4. Tailor Communications

Not every tenant needs every message. For example, installing new hallway carpets might only affect tenants on a certain floor.

Rather than blasting every message out to the full tenant list, a good communications tool allows you to create custom contact groups by common characteristics like job title, lease type, or floor.
This way you avoid spamming people with irrelevant information, which can drive them to disengage or opt out of your communications.

The Cost of Poor Internal Communication Tools

Let’s talk dollars and cents. An inefficient communication system requires more administrative time to create and send messages, raising operating costs. It can also negatively impact revenue. Tenants who don’t feel like your property team listens to them are less likely to renew their lease.

However, a building communications platform like Prism Building Communications, from Building Engines, makes tenant communications less time consuming. It will also improve the tenant experience by helping your team gather tenant feedback and communicate with tenants on their terms.

A strong internal communications tool is a key component of any successful CRE technology stack. For expert guidance on buying building operations technology, read The 2021 Buyer’s Guide to CRE Building Operations Technology.