Communication. One word that has a huge impact on all relationships, both personal and professional. Communication is what makes or breaks relationships, whether it is your best friend or the CEO at your company. Without a clear and easy flow of information, relationships are hard to maintain.
We recently conducted a survey, The Tenant Experience Study, to gain a better understanding of how people communicate with friends, family, and their work colleagues. In the report we found 80% of office workers use messaging as their primary means of communicating with friends and family, and nearly 75% say they are comfortable doing the same at work. As a millennial worker, this resonates with me. Outside of work I prefer to text my friends and family, with the occasional phone call thrown in – typically from my mother. When I’m at work, messaging tools – in my case, Slack – with a little bit of email are the way to go.
If I have a quick question about our software, I Slack the product team. When my computer isn’t working properly, I Slack the IT team. Requesting an image from one of my marketing teammates? Slack. And it works in reverse too: work events, reminders of holidays when the office is closed, and important news, are all types of information shared with the organization via a company-wide Slack channel.
Besides the fact that messaging tools are a lot less formal than email, it is also a more convenient way to communicate. They allow me to do and say what feels natural when asking for information or requesting feedback from my colleagues. I can simply say “Hey Morgan, can you edit this blog I wrote?” and send her the blog within seconds rather than writing a formal email with a proper subject line and an attached document. It makes our working relationship more effective.
We gravitate toward tools that are simple and quick to use, so wouldn’t it make sense that tenants would do the same? Applying the same logic, one could assume that providing a simpler communication path – instead of clunky portals and apps with form fields to fill out – would create better relationships.
Conversations are the Future of the Tenant Experience
Messaging tools have worked their way into many different types and aspects of the business. Bank of America is promoting their Erica virtual assistant. CNN has a chatbot on Facebook Messenger. Lemonade is a brand-new chat-driven platform for property insurance. Like many other companies, here at Building Engines, we use a virtual assistant chatbot on our website, where people can easily ask a product or business-specific questions and get them answered in seconds.
To compete in the new reality of heightened tenant service and tenant expectations, building owners and managers need to follow this same trend that many other industries and businesses have jumped on. They need to provide more than just a tenant app or website. They need to meet tenants where they already are – on messaging tools.
Messaging will let building occupants use natural language to make service requests through the platforms they are already using. Rather than needing to log into tenant portals and fill out multiple form fields to request services or register a visitor, tenants’ conversations with building management will look like this:
In just a few seconds, tenants can communicate an issue that will be automatically routed to the building management team to follow up.
Meet Bengie™: The Intelligent Building Conversation Platform
While tenant mobile apps and portals have provided a necessary and valuable link between building operations teams and tenant occupants, they don’t establish an ongoing, two-way conversation between the two. We’ve offered a portal and mobile app for years and we will continue to support those – nothing changes overnight, after all. But it’s important to evolve our technology and provide tenants with multiple channels to communicate with building management. This lets them decide what is easiest and most effective.
That’s why we’re introducing Bengie™, our new conversation platform. Bengie™ creates another path for tenants and buildings to communicate with each other, and it does so without forcing anyone to download yet another mobile app or to log into a portal and fill out a complex form with many fields. Instead, starting in January 2019, Bengie™ will be available on the messaging tools (including basic text/SMS) that tenants are already using. This means very little need for training and a high potential for strong user adoption. Real estate leaders who embrace this conversational shift stand to benefit by providing a superior experience to their customers through better communication.
Meeting tenants where they already are in the future of the tenant experience, and Bengie can help you get there.