If you are in the apartment business, you know this drill:

A resident drops by the office, calls in, or logs into their resident portal to report a maintenance issue. A staff member promptly logs the issue into their property management software, creating a work order for the maintenance staff or trusted vendor tasked with performing the repair. The next step?

Print; 2 copies

For the vast majority of apartment maintenance operations, technology stops at the printer. The rest of the process is pretty much without it.

And why not? This practice is tried and true, it's been done this way for years and everyone involved understands it. Besides, the apartment industry hasn’t necessarily been on the cutting edge of technology and neither has the vendor community.

Times are Changing

But the apartment industry's hand is being forced because resident’s expectations concerning technology is shifting – they expect more of it! In it’s 2016 Survey or Operating Income & Expenses in Rental Apartment Communities, the National Apartment Association had this to say:

…increasing demands for more technological features within apartment communities will pose recurring challenges to apartment companies nationwide.
— National Apartment Association

Where to Start?

An easy, and impactful place to start is your maintenance operations. By mobilizing maintenance – essentially digitally routing work orders to a technician or vendor smartphone via an app – apartment operators can benefit in a number of ways. Here are 4 of those ways:

1. Efficiency: The first reason to go mobile is that it provides greater efficiency by eliminating wasted time getting the work order to the right person in order to perform the service. Real time push notifications alert maintenance techs and vendors, allowing them to start mentally preparing for the work ahead of time.

A SERVUS push notification alert on Maintenance Technician's smartphone

A SERVUS push notification alert on Maintenance Technician's smartphone

Users of these systems experience a general 20% improvement in service cycles (the elapsed time from when a resident calls-in, to when their service is completed). In today’s on-demand society, getting work done faster significantly increases the chance of customer satisfaction.

 

2. Positively Communicate & Engage with Residents: most apartment operators strive to, but fall short of following-up with every resident upon completion of service. What if this follow-up happened automatically? A well-rounded mobile maintenance system can.

Text notifications in SERVUS can be automated & customized to alert and survey Residents upon completion of maintenance requests.

Mobile maintenance systems can send automated text messages to residents when their service request has been marked “complete” by the technician or vendor. And text is the perfect technology to reach residents because they are almost always read.

80% of Americans text regularly and 90% of text messages are read within the first three minutes
— Nexmo

3. Online Reputation Management: By implementing a mobile maintenance system, apartment operators can actually generate organic positive reviews. These systems can instantly survey the resident via text to see how they feel about the service provided. Residents who have good experiences are asked to share them at ApartmentRatings.com, Google, Facebook or elsewhere.

67% of consumers will read 6 reviews or less before they form an opinion about a given business.
— Shopify

Response rates can also be boosted through incentives like gift cards or drawings. Negative experiences are kept in the private confines of the text message so issues can be addressed prior to leaking out in an online review. The best part? This process is completely hands-off for the apartment management staff so they can focus on leasing and other resident service efforts.

 

4. Optics: The last reason to implement a mobile maintenance system is the optics/reporting. Maintenance operations is an area of significant operational and capital spend for apartment operators.

But outside of insights gained via the balance sheet, very little real or near-time data has traditionally been available to help apartment operators evaluate how their maintenance teams are performing, how efficient their vendors are, and maybe most importantly, how residents feel about where they live.  

By digitizing work orders, transaction data is captured: time stamps, photos, comments, resident responses, etc. This data is extremely valuable in helping apartment operators keep maintenance operating efficiently and effectively.

Technicians can be evaluated objectively based on their performance.

 

At SERVUS, we are committed to helping apartment operators experience these benefits through our mobile maintenance platform. The SERVUS platform can plug into any manual maintenance operation and work in conjunction with existing work order systems to instantly mobilize operations.

Interested? We'd love to show you - use the button below to schedule a demo.

Comment