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Gary Jones from Service Geeni talks about the challenges facing property managers, and how modern service management software can help to overcome them.
Being a successful property manager is an ongoing challenge. The days of merely collecting rent, managing service charges, and maintaining buildings are long gone. Today, juggling multiple properties and clients requires a combination of asset management expertise, legal intelligence and patience.
As such, property managers need every advantage possible to cope with multiple properties, a mix of scheduled and reactive maintenance work, and ever tighter budgets. And this can be hard when a considerable number of property managers are still appointed on the basis that they offer the lowest fee.
At the same time, there are also growing demands for better service to contend with. And, there is no doubt that the customer experience is becoming increasingly important. We all use smart devices and cloud technology to make our personal lives more manageable, so it’s natural that we’d want the same level of ease in our business interactions.
But meeting evolving expectations remains a challenge, especially when fees need to stay low to stay competitive. So, with poor communication straining relationships, a smarter approach is required to enable property managers to do more for less.
One of the easiest ways to address this challenge is to make sure that property managers have the technology they need. And, if you want to invest wisely, there are some resources you must have to stay competitive, boost efficiency, improve relationships, and deliver ROI over the next 12 months.
In this connected age, residents demand a higher level of service, and they expect to be regularly updated. But, without extending your working hours or increasing the size of your team, it is difficult to provide excellence and innovation.
To get around this, more and more property management companies are investing in client dashboards and portals to provide access to all the latest service and performance reports. A significant time-saving tool, customer portals are ideal for both commercial and residential portfolios; allowing leaseholders and tenants to access their account details online and view their balance, payment history and service charge statements.
A portal provides an easy way to access information without having to rely on calls or emails, and the admin burden on your team is reduced. What’s more, with the evolution of cloud-based portals, everything your customers need can be updated in real-time.
Of course, in 2018, many property managers already have portals in place. Although you could argue that they are often difficult to navigate and don’t provide the level of responsiveness modern customers want.
In 2019, evaluating your portal and looking to see where improvements can be made is a must if you want to empower the people you serve and improve your reputation for customer service excellence.
Automated tools are leading to improved levels of customer service. For example, response time is crucial when it comes to satisfaction levels. Residents and landlords want a resolution to their issues as rapidly as possible – often before they pick up the phone and talk to you. But let’s face it, the number of calls received can make excellent customer service difficult; particularly for non-routine matters. As such, implementing automated assistance is becoming increasingly popular.
By removing first-response responsibilities and mundane tasks, your team can focus on providing a more bespoke service to resolve more complex issues; allowing you to create a more personalised customer experience.
Maintenance scheduling software
Maintenance management software might be something property management companies have been using for years, but the latest innovations and features have the potential to revolutionise how you deal with routine property management tasks.
For example, maintenance can be costly, complex and time-consuming. Particularly as many property managers are still using a reactive approach when it comes looking after their assets.
But, with growing demand for better quality service and less downtime, planned preventative maintenance (PPM) is becoming the benchmark of quality. Instead of fixing things when they break, you must be able to repair them beforehand.
By eliminating the guesswork as to when regular maintenance is needed, work can be scheduled, customers informed in plenty of time, and costs reduced.
Accounts integration software
Whatever technology you invest in over the next 12 months, the ability to integrate into your accounting software is crucial.
Today, too many property managers have to use manual process to manage bills, pay for maintenance, and other critical payments. But, this is the antithesis of efficiency. If you want to reach your growth goals while improving cash flow, it’s vital that you reduce the paperwork with systems that talk to each other and ensure the streamlining of processes.
Cloud-based software can help you to automate financial processes, record sales and receipts, track cash flow, better manage invoices and manage digital tax accounting. Ultimately, boosting your entire operation, as well as your finance and accounting capabilities.
Modern service management software and mobile apps allow all your employees to share information, in real time. So your front-line staff always have access to everything they need to do their jobs and your office-based staff always know what’s happening. What’s more, because everyone has access to the same data, your customers don’t get frustrated by having to share their information more than once.
With the right collaboration tools, jobs are finished sooner, and residents and leaseholders enjoy a better standard of experience. Nobody wants to wait overly long for support to arrive and multiple visits to fix one issue won’t impress anyone.
Business analytics software
As we look forward to 2019, it impossible to make the right decisions without data. On the other hand, with access to the most up to date and accurate data, from multiple data sources, it’s easy to improve decision making. As such, property managers should be looking to invest in tools which provide a centralised and up-to-date view of their property portfolio.
Allowing you to manage cash flow, budgets and maintenance work more effectively, access to interactive, at-a-glance visual dashboards will also enable you to turn information into actionable insights. For example, easy to read charts, graphs, heat maps and league tables can demonstrate the contracts that are performing well, and where improvements are needed. So, you can make intelligent decisions that help you to boost your bottom line.
Not only can this help you to become more profitable, but you can also pass these savings on to your customers; generating loyalty and repeat business.
Today’s technology is an enabler that has put the customer at the very heart of their interactions with your property management business. And, the good news is that most cloud-based service management software is provided on a subscription basis, with no upfront investment; meaning it’s affordable to property managers of all sizes. In 2019, businesses that are not yet using cloud software to boost customer satisfaction levels are likely to be left behind.
The software property managers will need in 2019
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