In light of a major snowstorm sweeping from D.C. to Chicago (and wreaking havoc on flight schedules), it becomes fairly evident that we can't always control Mother Nature - and boy can she be pain in the butte! There's little we can do when she decides to wintry mix it up - much to the chagrin of those who are accustomed to modern transportation or power. However, how building managers respond to severe weather can greatly influence the safety and quality of operations.
Let’s face it: Most people today are attached to their smartphones; if you think you aren’t, there’s a good chance you’re in denial. I can relate because a few minutes ago I learned that I’ve already picked up my phone 25 times today. Twenty. Five. Also…it’s 9:00 am. I’m well on my way to eclipsing the average of 52 times per day that Americans pick up their phones. Hi, my name is Phil and I’m a screenaholic.
Knowing this, it’s understandable why CRE companies are pouring so much time and energy into mobile technology. But investing the resources without a clearly defined strategy and detailed analysis of the data isn’t enough. CRE companies need to understand how people actually use mobile technology in order to capitalize on how they will use their phones to take the actions and engage the way you hope for.
Mobile Apps Vs. (&) Chatbots – What Your Tenants Really Want
Yes, the individual occupant in your building (the person!) – like everyone else – is glued to their phones. But is yet another mobile app the best way to engage them? There are apps for the gym, the bank, the airport, the coffee shop, and even things like buying custom clothes or learning a new language. So, is a customized app for the workplace really compelling enough for people to add to the pages of apps they already have, let alone use day to day?
In our research, we’re seeing signs that smartphone users are approaching app overload. In fact, there’s strong evidence that, on average, people are deleting apps faster than they are adding them. Furthermore, there are signs that screen time is increasingly concentrated in a smaller number of apps. So, the question is, why would we create more apps for them to ignore?
A Smarter Mobile Strategy for CRE Tenants
Another approach is to meet tenants on their mobile phones where they are actually spending the most time — for example, in messaging apps (e.g. text messaging). This is why we built Bengie, the CRE industry’s first chatbot for tenant service, communication and engagement. Rather than being a separate app, Bengie lives on and works with the messaging apps tenants use every day, all-day.
Bengie is a virtual building assistant for tenants that works as an extension of your property management team. Instead of the hassle that comes with logging into a desktop site or a mobile app (even our own “The Hive”), tenants can send a text message through Bengie to complete tasks automatically. It’s as easy as texting your friends to make dinner plans (maybe easier because Bengie makes up his mind faster!).
The Future of Mobile
Here are a few examples of how Bengie helps tenants:
Request a work order:
Register to pre-authorize a visitor:
Inquire about building information:
Receive announcements from building management:
CRE companies understand that they need to rethink the way they are approaching mobile technology. But going head-to-head for screen time with behemoths like Instagram and SnapChat is a daunting challenge. To break through, simplicity and efficiency are crucial. Our bet is that a text conversation with a chatbot like Bengie will be a more effective entry point to engage with most tenant occupants. From there, any number of current and future tenant experience technologies—including dedicated apps—will find their niche.