By now, most property managers at least recognize that technology can deliver a competitive advantage. And according to leaders in the industry, 2014 is slated to be a record year for adoption among property owners and managers who want to leverage technology to deliver more efficient operations and exceptional customer service.
But as a software provider in the space, we get it. Change is scary! We talk to prospects all the time who acknowledge how much is being risked by remaining stagnant, but can’t pull the trigger on a new system because they are paralyzed with fear:
- Isn’t the switch going to be time-consuming, burdensome and disruptive?
- What happens to all our data (a.k.a. “Dear God! Are we going to have to enter it all manually?!”)
- Is the new service provider REALLY going to deliver the smooth and well-planned transition that they claimed in the sales process?
- The tenants? Our team? Isn’t it going to be a nightmare to get everyone trained on a new system?
These are legitimate concerns. And many give up and slink back into the comfort of “business as usual”…because that’s the easy thing to do. But the leaders in the industry, those best-in-class buildings that are the envy of the town, step up to the plate and create a practical list for selecting a great service provider. Why? Because they know that a good partner will allay the initial fears, ask the right questions and provide a simple path to success.
So what exactly should you look for in a service provider to address your concerns and remediate the risk?
- A proven track record of smooth transitions and high adoption (ask for multiple references…we can’t emphasize this enough!)
- A clear deployment plan, that lists all the steps in the transition and a timeframe for each step
- A detail breakdown of responsibilities: What is your team responsible for vs. the service provider? (hint: 80%+ of the workload should be theirs!)
- A detailed plan for how they will migrate all your legacy data over to the new system
- A dedicated Account Manager who will guide you through the entire process
- A plan that illustrates how quickly you will get to value
- Dedicated training sessions for your tenants and staff
- Live, 24/7 support.
- And, most importantly, make sure they are looking beyond the initial problem you came to them with (i.e. we have an upset tenant and we need to improve our service response times). If they are asking questions about your strategic goals and making suggestions on how they can take an active role to help you achieve them, then you will have not only a smooth initial deployment, but also a long and fruitful partnership.