What started with a spark is now a raging wild fire. And like any good fire, the only way to keep it burning is with the regular addition of wood to the flame.
CRE tech is experiencing explosive growth and new tools and providers are hopping into the blaze almost monthly. We recently made a graphic to try to make sense of it all. Take a look:
Now, this is clearly just a snapshot. There are hundreds more providers and many more niche products and categories not even listed. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed. And as a property management professional with very little disposable time (or budget), it’s even tougher to know where to start. What technologies do I really need for my organization? What providers should I select? What tools will integrate and which won’t? Is it going to be difficult to learn how to use a new tool?
Integrations alone, could garner their own entire how-to article. But for today’s purposes, let’s discuss four property management technologies that you should consider for your business ASAP.
One of the #1 killers to productivity in the property management space is paper-based inspections. But there are a number of benefits beyond the obvious time-savers of not having to lug around clipboards and multiple data entry. Mobile inspections mean real-time data input and real-time insights. Even more importantly, they can integrate with your Work Order Software and PM tools so that you can do really cool things like auto-create tasks upon inspection failures. The top tier inspections tools will also save you time by dynamically generating inspections based on occupancy, building, or equipment type. Think about the value of having a system that can look at all your inspections data for a piece of equipment, a building, or across an entire portfolio. Imagine what it could tell you (instantly)? What piece of equipment has been failing regularly? What building is our worst performing? What tenant has required the most maintenance? Be sure to check out Building Engines’ Mobile Inspections Tool.
Next-Gen Marketing Tools
From the broker (tenant prospecting) side to the property management (tenant service) side, there are a ton of cool new tools to for improving marketing and the tenant experience with your property. From either side of the spectrum, it really comes down to having a web presence and taking advantage of the real-time, interactive web experiences your customers are used to in their everyday lives. A notable new tool on this front is Flyer, an all-in-one tool for building, sharing, and tracking marketing and client engagement. It’s gaining a ton of buzz for its affordable price point and rich interface for showcasing properties – including social media distribution, interactive maps and panoramic images.
The other tool that is becoming a must-have on the management side is self-service property websites with integrated tenant portals. These provide a local web presence (i.e. for your specific building vs. a corporate site), as well as a central location for tenants to access all your services (including tenant handbooks, resource scheduling, service requests, building announcements, etc.). Watch this BuildingConnect video to learn more.
Tenant Satisfaction Management
Whenever I ask property managers if they track tenant satisfaction, I inevitably get the “Sure, we do the Kingsley survey” response… which always leads me to probe further. Ok, but that’s once a year, right? How do you know how happy your tenants are on a daily basis? How do you nip potential problems in the bud before tenants start thinking they don’t want to renew. Giving tenants a day-to-day voice is really all about YOU controlling the experience, and being proactive vs. reactive – which will lead to FAR better Kingsley Survey results come end of year.
Tenant Satisfaction tools allow you to confirm when you will arrive and complete work, communicate the progress of service requests, measure tenant satisfaction with the service provided (tenants can submit feedback at any point along the way), and report tenant satisfaction trends over time.
So, take a deep breath. I know it’s scary to think about tenants being able to give you a thumbs up or down on every work order you complete. Really, really scary. But it’s also a HUGE opportunity. Watch this video to learn more about Tenant Satisfaction tools.
I profiled a number of property management professionals from all roles (property managers, executives, tenant coordinators) earlier this year, and the number one gripe I heard during my interviews was managing COIs. No one likes to do it. It’s a huge time suck. And it’s got a ton of moving parts. But it’s a vital risk management activity. If you are still managing COIs manually, STOP. Run to your nearest browser and find a web-based tool that does the heavy lifting for you.
I’m clearly biased, but I think Building Engines’ Certificate of Insurance Manager is pretty darn swell. It moves all your COIs into a single, online database and automates the entire process through alerts and expiration notifications – giving you point-in-time visibility into the COI status of every tenant and vendor on your property, ultimately reducing incurred losses and insurance premiums.
All-in One Property Management Software Solutions
Many CRE property owners and managers are turning to all-in-one Property Management Software solutions like Building Engines because it eliminates the need for multiple systems- ultimately saving money and making it easier to access all of their building’s data and documents from a central location.
But whatever you dip your toes into, make sure your system(s) can integrate with your others, that it turns the data it collects into actionable intelligence, and that it ultimately makes your team more efficient.