Implementing digital solutions to automate community processes
Technological advancements are changing communities and condominium residents are finding value in tech-based services due to their ‘always-on’ lifestyle. As condo residents’ digital behavior and expectations continue to evolve, they expect a frictionless resident experience, which means that community managers must deliver exceptional resident experiences, both online and offline, to ensure that their services remain attractive.
Community association management is no longer about replacing lights and booking window cleaners. It is much more than that for residents with technology expectations and boards that are trying to make their communities competitive with sleek, new construction. A modern community manager is tech savvy and accomplishes more of their day-to-day tasks with technology than ever before.
Board members are now more informed, expect more productivity, and equate service quality with the overall resident experience. If they aren’t satisfied with the level of service and accountability they receive, they are more likely to look at replacing a property manager or management company for one they believe will help them with what they are trying to achieve.
Some managers have difficulties delivering great residence experiences due to their reactive behavior and manual task management. They have difficulties managing administrative tasks and can get caught up in unforeseen incidents, which causes ineffective time management and prioritization, leading to inefficiency and a lack of focus.
Proactive managers on the other hand are flexible and can easily adapt to change. They continually focus on the resident experience by leveraging technology and improving their customer service, productivity and efficiency, which allows them to easily prepare for the handling of adverse situations. Furthermore, proactive managers are transparent communicators who understand the value in engaging with residents: transparency increases trust and strengthens resident confidence, which leads to fewer complaints.
Automation is key
It is very common for community managers and their teams to spend a lot of time dealing with paperwork, which can increase the chances of sending the wrong information to residents, or to misplacing important information. This approach makes it extremely difficult for managers to be proactive. It’s critical to turn manual tasks into automated processes, so that team can focus on issues that need more attention.
Moving away from manual to automated processes saves time, reduces the risk of lost records, and improves reporting, which leads to better accountability.
Digital community management
So how do community managers successfully transition from manual to automated processes? First, it is important to understand that digital property management only facilitates processes, and it is the responsibility of managers to manage the technology.
There are many digital solutions available. The solution should be fully responsive, which means that residents should be able to access it from any device, whether it’s a desktop, laptop, tablet or mobile phone. Downloading an app may be a nice perk, but it should not be a required step for casual users.
Considering the following when evaluating technology options and solutions:
- Accounting System Integration
The solution should be able to synchronize resident data with the community’s accounting solution. This takes a mountain of work off everyone’s plates because access to the community will be automatically granted and removed as residents move in and out.
- User-friendly Database
To maintain efficiency, everyone on the team should be able to get an overview of their community’s important administrative tasks, community events, and amenity bookings without having to click through multiple screens.
- Resident Database
The team should be able to see a summary of each unit’s information such as resident information, entry instructions, maintenance requests, deliveries, and amenity bookings.
- Sharing Documents
Managers should be able to securely store and share all community documents such as board minutes, forms, and by-laws online.
- Amenity Bookings
Residents want self-service access to see the availability of a common area or club house when it is convenient for them. If fees are associated with a booking, those should be able to be paid online.
- Maintenance Requests
Managers should be able to respond, monitor. and communicate the status of any maintenance item, with online notifications when a request is created, amended or updated. This helps the manager delegate tasks to their team or contractors and ensures that items don’t fall between the cracks.
Digital technology forces the evolution of every industry and community association management is no exception. Many community association management companies are held captive by their own legacy processes—making it difficult to deliver top-notch resident experiences with their current reactive approach. If management companies don’t catch up with the technological trends, they will have difficulties retaining clients and expanding their business.
Reprinted with permission by Community Manager (c) 2019