Who hasn’t walked into a grocery store and felt icky about punching in your shopper’s club card at the checkout pin-pad, or maybe you've made a practice of using your knuckles to enter your PIN number at the gas pump. How about the liberal application of hand sanitizer not only on your hands, but also your keys, credit card, door handles, steering wheel, radio volume, and shifter knob every time you get into the car?! You are not alone… :-)
Overnight, touch-less experiences went from being convenient in grocery stores and gas stations, to being viewed as essential for general safety and personal wellness of everyone. Zoom meetings, online grocery pickup & delivery, virtual classrooms, work-from-home, social distancing...all touch-less experiences that were once the exception are now the norm. Business trips, trade-shows, handshakes, concerts, physical classrooms, hugs-to-people-living-outside-your-home...now the exception.
That said, if you are in Multifamily and you aren't already all-over creating a touch-less Resident Experience, you should start immediately. Online Leasing, Virtual Tour Strategy & Mobile Maintenance should be top on your list. You should also be aggressively marketing your touch-less capabilities and efforts. Here's Why...
Data Supports Change in Resident Sentiment
In June, ServusConnect participated in a webinar that examined Multifamily data & trends during and after lockdown. Checkout these data points specific to digital (inherently touch-less) interactions for current and prospective residents:
- Website traffic up by 32%
- 67% swing in applications received online versus in-person
- Resident portal use up by 31%
- Significant increases in electronic rent payments (credit card, ACH)
- Equally-significant drops in cash & check payment volumes
- 30% increase in service requests submitted online
- 20% of all service requests were addressed remotely (SMS, voice, video assist; parts-at-door)
(BTW - if you are interested, here is a link to a complete summary of that webinar)
Pandemic, for better or worse, has forced previously lagging adoption of resident-facing technology in Multifamily. Renter sentiment has shifted to not only be more accepting of digital methods of interacting on things like rent payments, service requests and leasing, the pandemic has moved the needle to preferred.
Health & Wellness Has Become a Key Business Driver
Speaking of digital methods of interacting, as an industry, Multifamily has been working on digital transformation for some time now. That said, key business drivers for investment in associated technologies focussed on enhancing competitive advantage, cost-savings, and NOI improvement.
Incidentally, like many other software vendors in Multifamily, we here at ServusConnect have spent years messaging and calculating these drivers, along with other benefits such as greater staff efficiency, more detailed repair documentation, faster service, improved resident experience, meaningful data, measurable ROI, etc.
Here’s the “but”: the game has changed. Pandemic has changed our priorities. Safety, health & wellness of residents and staff is a key business driver - it’s on the list, actually, near the top.
If you haven’t started to place a priority on, or put a strategy together for technologies that enable a touch-less resident experience, now is the time. Again, Online Leasing, Virtual Tours & Mobile Maintenance are good starting points.
The good news is that these technologies have been around for some time now and are proven. Not only that, but deployments of these types of technologies have simplified greatly - frankly everyone is just better at it.
Speaking for our team here at ServusConnect, we've been focussed on Mobile Maintenance and optimizing Resident's service experience for many years now. This isn't a shameless plug, as the same can be said for not only our competitors, but for many other vendors enabling touch-less resident experiences for online leasing, payments, contact centers, virtual tours, etc.
Plan...But Continue to Hope
Psychologists say it takes 66 days for a new behavior to become automatic. We’re well beyond that with our current pandemic precautions, which means all of the statistics previously listed are only going to increase as behaviors and habits get locked-in.
In the meantime, as we all prepare, plan and implement for a new normal where face-to-face interaction takes a back seat to touch-less ones, let's all keep hope alive for a cure and some return normalcy.
Personally, I'm hopeful for an afternoon baseball game with my wife & kids in a packed Durham Bulls Athletic Park...
PS - If you are in need of a solid Mobile Maintenance solution for "touch-less" service experience, let's talk!