“How technology saved contractors during the virus crisis”. Possibly not one of the most read headlines of the last few months. But one that featured on the industry leading, Construction News website. The article cites the transformation of Birmingham’s NEC into a Nightingale Hospital as an example of a project that was turned around at lightning speed. For a project of this size and magnitude good communication between everyone working on the job was crucial. And technology was the critical factor.
What does this have to do with Residential Property Management? Everything. Multiple stakeholders are always involved in the day to day running of a successful portfolio. Just like the NEC to Nightingale transformation, technology is the key to unlocking good communication and collaboration between everyone.
“Nobody was fully prepared for the coronavirus as it rolled through the UK in the spring.”
Is any business or team ever fully prepared for anything? We go from day to day doing the same things, in the same old ways. Very rarely do we take the time to question our methods. Unless a business is forward thinking and strategically minded, it’s easy to get caught up in the trap of doing what’s always been done. Humans, generally speaking, are resistant to change.
However, the pandemic has forced the majority of people and businesses to navigate and implement some sort of change. This has shown how adaptable we can be when we need to be.
How can technology help Residential Property Managers adapt, react and be proactive?
“…some firms were better equipped to cope than others because digital technologies helped them communicate and collaborate.”
This is another useful excerpt from the article. It goes without saying that firms who are better equipped to cope and react to change will be the firms that survive and earn a good reputation. When it comes to communication and collaboration in Residential Property Management, it’s nigh on impossible to do either swiftly and efficiently without the right technology.
Like the Nightingale Hospital project, there are multiple stakeholders involved in most interactions or tasks. Clients (or customers), contractors, employees, even Directors all need to be able to communicate well. From something as basic as being able to respond to a phone call or email and making sure the enquiry is dealt with efficiently, to the setting and tracking of KPI’s, successful communication between all involved is crucial.
Technology can facilitate better ways to interact and do business. Instead of having to make phone calls, or send emails, clients can use an app on their phone to make payments easily. They can use an app to quickly and easily vote for work that needs to be carried out, thus moving work along more quickly. Contractors can use an app to view jobs that need to be done and Property Managers can use an app to manage the entire repairs and maintenance process in one place.
Teams can ensure everyone is aware of progress of enquiries and tasks and who has to do what by when. Very useful for working from home and annual leave or illness. And Directors can pull the information they need together into charts and reports to inform strategic decisions and future plans.
Of course, not all software is the same. And Residential Property Management is a highly specialised industry with unique needs. This is why it’s crucial that the right technology is implemented now and can also grow with the business.
“Keeping on top of what everyone was doing was extraordinarily complex.”
This is one of the key points from the article. We can only imagine how complex transforming an events venue into a fully functioning hospital to deal with a pandemic would have been. But it had to happen. If it didn’t, the project would have stalled. And, at the time, this was not an option.
So how do we make it easier to keep on top of what everyone is doing? Or are we choosing to make it more difficult than it has to be? If we do the former, we potentially go from ‘managing’ or ‘making do’ to being as efficient as the transformation of the NEC. Not only will this benefit teams internally, everyone in the chain will benefit – Property Managers, contractors and of course, clients.
And therein lies the answer to the original question. Sharing information easily can be a challenge when there’s so many people and so many different ways to communicate. By pulling everyone involved into one place, communication is simplified. And better relationships can be formed.
“There’s an amazing technological advance that’s happening in the industry and I see a lot of companies that aren’t taking full advantage of it. And in my mind, there’s an opportunity in the industry right now, for companies to get slicker, quicker, faster, and to manage that process very effectively.” Dapatchi founder and chairman Dan Pattrick.
The Residential Property Management industry is no different. Manual processes can and must be replaced by slicker tools. For the benefit of all involved.
Brian Welsh, MD, CPL Software.
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If you would like to build better relationships with customers, contact the CPL team for a friendly chat about your business needs.