We live in an age of immediate access to goods and services. Today’s on-demand economy is supported by tech-driven digital marketplaces that make nearly everything available on-demand.
What does the on-demand economy mean to property managers and landlords? Plenty. Today’s renters have high expectations when it comes to selecting the place they call home. In the on-demand economy, renters look for convenience, amenities, safety, and services—and meeting the challenge offers an excellent opportunity to outshine your competitors by creating a great customer experience.
According to Microsoft’s’ 2018 State of Global Customer Service report, 56 percent of consumers have greater expectations when it comes to customer service now than they had the previous year.
Ensuring a great customer experience is key to setting your rental property apart in the on-demand economy. Below are five solid strategies to elevate the resident experience in your rental properties:
Prospective tenants in the on-demand economy do everything online. They prefer to search listings online on their own time rather than calling during business hours for information on vacancies, amenities, price, etc. Listing sites like Zillow, Apartments.com, Rentpath.com, HotPads, and others attract potential renters when their search starts.
Your business website is also important. Renters who find a listing that appeals go to the property’s website for more in-depth, up-to-date information on the unit, the community, amenities, and other details. They expect to visit a professional, up-to-date, detailed website that answers all of their questions readily. Without a polished, professional website working for you 24/7, you will struggle to fill vacancies promptly.
Manually posting rental vacancy information to your property management website, in addition to third-party listing sites, is time-consuming for property management staff. It can also create poor customer experiences due to human error if staff fails to remove occupied units or posts information that is incorrect or inaccurate.
The best solution, which ensures consistent posting to all third-party listing sites and your website while saving hours of time for staff, is one-click vacancy posting software like Appfolio’s, which allows you to instantly update vacancy information changes, ensuring positive experiences for prospective tenants from the moment they engage with your brand.
Response to a prospective tenant inquiry needs to be immediate in today’s on-demand economy. According to the 2018 Zillow Group Consumer Housing Trends Report, 71 percent of prospective renters said they expect a response to their initial inquiry within 24 hours. Thirty-one percent reported that they expect a response within a few hours. Property management staff can’t always meet these response demands and even the most proficient leasing agents often struggle to meet such tight response times.
Once again, advances in AI technology can solve the problem and improve your lead-to-lease conversion rates considerably as they automatically engage each lead, answer their questions with conversational AI, and authorize qualified leads to book viewings at their convenience.
Today’s innovative AI technology with features like lockbox technology can even enable prospective tenants to book self-guided viewings. Interested renters receive a unique code to gain access to the unit shortly before their scheduled viewing. With on-demand viewings, you can make a great first impression on prospective residents by catering to their needs and delivering instant assistance while you obtain qualified applicants quickly and efficiently.
By making all application, screening, and leasing forms available online, prospective tenants using mobile technology are one step closer to securing a signed lease on your property while empowering you to fill vacancies with qualified tenants faster, even during the prospective renter’s first visit to the property.
Online applications allow renters to apply and pay the application fee before arriving for their scheduled viewing or during the walk-through. The right software supports instant tenant screening, which includes credit reports, eviction history, and criminal background checks thus allowing prospective renters who pass the screening criteria to receive an “approved” tenancy decision on-the-spot.
Online application and screening help you save time and win more qualified tenants who may otherwise apply for rentals at similar properties while they wait for your decision. An applicant who receives instant approval to sign the lease right away is less likely to apply elsewhere. If they need time to think it over, they can still submit a signed lease later on from anywhere, without the inconvenience of scanning, faxing, or returning to the property to a sign paper lease.
Today’s renters do everything online, and they expect the convenience of paying rent online. By providing your renters with an online payment option, you save them time and hassle. Renters in the on-demand economy rely on the convenience of paying rent from anywhere using their computer or a smartphone.
Online rent payments also help property managers and landlords save time and money due to the costs associated with paper checks, money orders, or even cash payments. Businesses can cut the time spent on rent week activities in half by making online payment options available to tenants since they simplify reconciliation and reporting substantially. Additionally, online payment options reduce or even eliminate the risk of human error in data entry, ensuring 100 percent accuracy.
Today’s renters expect dynamic customer service notifications from property management delivered electronically. According to Microsoft’s 2017 State of Global Customer Service Report, 70 percent of consumers worldwide have a more favorable view of brands provide proactive customer service notifications, and 52 percent of U.S. consumers have a more favorable view of brands that offer a mobile-responsive customer service support gateway.
An online strategy that includes enabling tenants to submit maintenance requests electronically is important to today’s renters. Instead of being expected to call to report or follow up on a maintenance issue, busy tenants prefer to submit requests online from their computer or a smartphone on their schedule. They expect to receive regular updates on the status of their maintenance requests via their preferred communication method, whether SMS or email.
As a property manager or landlord, you’ll find that few things matter in today’s on-demand economy more than the experience you provide to your tenants, from the initial inquiry through the length of their tenancy. With so many options available at their fingertips, the experience you provide prospective tenants, as well as current tenants, can set your rental property apart from the rest. These five strategies are key to reducing turnover, minimizing vacancies, and attracting your ideal tenants.