Overcoming the Battle of Effective Resident Communication Through Innovation

By Tim Blackwell Posted May 1, 2018

Overcoming the Battle of Effective Resident Communication Through Innovation

More than ever, resident retention is fueled by customer service and community involvement. The overall living experience for most apartment dwellers depends on social interaction with neighbors and effective resident communication with property management.

The days of passive engagement with your renters are long gone. Now, renters require your attention, wanting it on their time and on their terms.

With so many communication platforms – like email, social media, texting and phone calls – interacting with your residents may seem like a walk in the park. However, not every resident chooses to receive information the same way.

Resident communication preferences

Some renters prefer texting over email, but don’t want a phone call. Some want to find something in their inbox on a desktop computer, while others like to receive a voice message on their phone. When it comes to social media, not all residents can be found using the same platforms. Even if so, some social platforms don’t provide the privacy that residents want when reaching out to staff, making them hesitant to engage there.

With so many communication options comes a plethora of preferences. Choose the wrong method and your resident most likely won’t receive or respond to your message.

While each are viable communication means, using them separately to reach out to your diverse group of residents can become time consuming and inefficient. Imagine trying to manually execute each communication means preferred by each individual resident for every message. Whether you need to inform the entire building about a water shut-off in your community or target a specific group of residents for an urgent message, catering to specific communication preferences can be a hassle.

Sending a group email to one set of residents through a third-party messaging platform and then creating a separate group text for another takes time and detailed coordination. Traditional means of printing flyers and distributing them door-to-door are especially cumbersome and cost valuable time and resources.

Inter-resident communication can be just as tedious. If residents don’t know each other well enough to exchange emails and phone numbers, they may not be able to interact easily and flourish in the sense of community they crave. Someone who wants to start a wine club or organize weekly bike rides may be limited to word of mouth or posting a note on the community bulletin board inside the clubhouse. It could take days, weeks or months for the residents to connect.

Reserving a meeting space or the clubhouse for a private or community function can also take a considerable amount of time and effort. Residents must work around office hours and sometimes it takes numerous phone calls or trips to the office to secure the reservation.  

Finding the balance of reaching residents at the right place at the right time can be complicated, even for the most technologically savvy portfolios.

But, it doesn’t have to be.

Resident portals simplify communication and strengthen the community

Today’s technology is bridging the communication gap and making it simpler for property managers to get all-inclusive or targeted messages out. Within a matter of seconds, residents can communicate to whom they want what they want, how they want it and when they want it delivered by.

Resident portals help property management companies create and maintain a sense of community, which increases the likelihood of residents renewing their leases. Portals provide a central platform for instant communication between residents and management − whether mobile, on a laptop, desktop or tablet. Residents can pay rent, sign up for renter’s insurance, report maintenance issues, reserve amenity spaces or post messages to the community to get that weekly bike ride in motion.

In addition, the resident portal is a place where property managers can provide fresh, lively content to its residents. This could include tips, trends or anything else that could be useful to or help improve the living experience of residents.

Most of all, portals save everyone time, making apartment living easier and property management simpler.

Another way technology is making apartment life simpler

RealPage’s ActiveBuilding resident portal has become a leader of integrated resident-to-resident and property-to-resident communication. ActiveBuilding has proved to boost renewals 2-3 percent over basic resident portals and saves up to 76 hours per month in staff time.

It’s another way that technology is making life in multifamily housing simpler.

The benefits of empowering resident portals will be discussed in a special session, “Delivering Amazing Experiences, Innovation, and Community Engagement,” at RealWorld in July in Las Vegas. The session is one of many that will help investors, executives, regional managers and property managers leverage innovative services that help mitigate risk and streamline the apartment rental business.

Make plans today to attend RealWorld!

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