As commercial tenant expectations rise, they have little patience for buildings with equipment problems. Tenants expect key building systems and equipment to always be in good working order, and they want to be kept informed if things go wrong. The best way to meet these expectations is by using work order software.

Now, even the best maintenance and inspections program can’t prevent all potential problems on a property. When issues arise, property teams must be able to resolve them quickly, before they impact tenant satisfaction and safety.

The CRE industry is slowly evolving past manual, pen-and-paper processes. Leading property teams now embrace work order software to create, assign, and track work orders in one central location. New property technology (Proptech) solutions are hitting the market at dizzying speed. This makes it difficult to find and assess which solutions help your team work more efficiently, and which are a hindrance.

When searching for the right work order software, look for these key capabilities:

1. Thorough Implementation

The global market for work order management systems is expected to reach USD $694.6 million by 2023. With this much money on the table, some Proptech vendors with specialties in other areas have donned a façade as operations solutions.

Look for a vendor with a proven track record in the work order or facilities management space. Beware of difficult-to-use solutions hidden behind pretty interfaces. When meeting with potential software vendors, request concrete facts about their migration plans, the user training offered, and typical time-to-deployment. A vendor emphasizing deployment speed over thoroughness is generally a red flag.

2. Mobile Functionality

A pen-and-paper process is a time suck for engineers that increases the risk of mistakes. It requires engineers to write down data manually on-site. But then they have to slog back to their desktop computers to duplicate their work and re-enter that same data, track tasks, communicate with your team and tenants, and log billables.

Conversely, an effective work order solution provides robust mobile capabilities that let your team members complete all their tasks from anywhere. Ideally it includes offline functionality, so engineers can still use it in areas without cell signal, like crawlspaces or basements.

3. Alerts and Precautionary Controls

Even the best property teams need help staying on track. Look for work order software that includes alerts when work is nearing a due date, and provides reminders when work is past due to prevent tasks from accumulating. This helps engineers stay on schedule to meet or exceed service level agreements (SLAs), and reduces the likelihood of tenant complaints.

You also want a solution that prioritizes engineer safety. When engineers are completing hazardous tasks, search for a solution that offers programmable precautionary controls. For example, the system might prompt an engineer to turn off a system’s power before disconnecting a wire.

This shields your property from risk of injuries or lawsuits, and keeps engineers motivated to perform their best.

4. Reporting Capabilities

Tackling work orders on a one-by-one basis is inefficient. You need to see the larger picture of asset health and team performance to fuel informed decision-making. Look for work order software solutions that offer analytics reports displaying which assets frequently break down and when they typically expire. This allows teams to budget for repairs and replacements.

Teams should also be able to slice and dice data to determine average work order completion times and see which engineers are over- or underperforming.

5. Photos

A picture goes a long way when dealing with complex equipment issues. A work order system should have the ability to attach photos when initiating or completing work orders.
This saves engineers and tenants time documenting a specific issue, and gives the property team vital visual insight into the condition of an asset.

Snapping a photo at the job site also offers verifiable proof engineers have completed their assigned tasks. Visual evidence of completed tasks helps foster a culture of trust and accountability.

6. Tenant Feedback

Tenants satisfied with property management are three times more likely to renew leases. But if you wait for end-of-year satisfaction surveys to solicit feedback, it’s often too late to resolve issues that lead to tenant turnover.

Of all the work a property team completes each day, work order performance has perhaps the most significant impact on tenant satisfaction. A work order solution should provide an easy way to solicit tenant feedback at the conclusion of each work order, whether via email, tenant portal, or SMS text.
Feedback reports can then be used to identify bottlenecks and ensure appropriate staffing levels.

7. Consistency

Your tenants expect service in your building to remain consistent regardless of behind-the-scenes IT issues. When adding to your technology stack, it’s best practice to always choose a solution with an annual uptime percentage in the high 90’s. Resilient work order software solutions provide safeguards enabling teams to perform basic work order tasks during system outages or interruptions.

Signs You’ve Chosen a Dud

Despite your best efforts, it’s always possible to end up with a dud work order solution. Surefire signs it’s time to evaluate new options include:

Missed Revenue: Revenue from work orders can add a solid bump to your bottom line. If your work order revenue decreases or varies significantly, confirm that your engineers can easily and accurately log billables, materials used, hours worked, etc.

Poor Tenant Satisfaction: If you receive lackluster scores on your team’s service, consider if a different solution could help you achieve faster, more thorough resolutions. In some cases, tenant interactions with cranky engineers might be the reason behind a poor score. Maintain high morale by finding a work order solution that enables engineers to work the way they want.

Failing Building Equipment: Numbers and satisfaction scores are important. But if your assets are breaking down more frequently or aren’t reaching the end of their expected lifespan, your work order software might be the culprit.

Take the ‘Work’ Out of Work Order Management

With COVID-19 driving tenants to reassess their need for physical office space, property teams can’t afford to let building service levels slip. Work order software empowers engineers to work more efficiently and deliver the swift service resolutions tenants require.

Take a look at a market-leading work order solution from Building Engines—watch the on-demand webinar, Introduction to Prism Work Orders.