Apartment managers in California are quickly discovering the many benefits of bringing an online service portal to their residents; benefits not only for those residents, but also for staff members of management. It’s common knowledge in our industry that a happy resident is a pleasant resident, and a pleasant resident is a low-risk resident! If your property hasn’t jumped on the online resident portal bandwagon, it’s time to get with the program, so to speak.
Every landlord, manager and apartment community staff member wants residents to be happy with and enjoy where they live, from the actual individual units they call “home” to the picnic areas and ball courts that grace the surrounding grounds. Part of your responsibility as a manager is to do everything you can to make your residents feel safe, welcome, comfortable and significant within the apartment community.
Connect with the Resident Community
Your residents will have a difficult time being an active member of your community if they aren’t made aware of gatherings, tournaments, parties, shopping excursions and other activities that are available to enjoy. An online resident portal is the ideal place for every tenant to connect with other members of the community, meet their neighbors, become aware of upcoming activities and get familiar with policies, ideas, and FAQs about the neighborhood.
They’ll appreciate and enjoy the quick access they have to community calendars; not to mention, staff members and managers will also be able to remain acquainted and active within the community and with its residents. Staff members will have the tools needed to expand their own awareness of the goings-on in the neighborhood.
It isn’t always convenient for people to walk or drive to a leasing office to drop envelopes with their rent payments into deposit boxes; when the weather is less than ideal, when residents are out of town, or when they aren’t feeling their best, it can be a terrible inconvenience to get that rent to the office. With an online resident portal, they can save time, save effort and be spared the hassle as they take advantage of the ability to pay rent online, right from their apartments. They’ll be grateful and happy to avoid late fees when they’re able to pay automatically on time, every time. They can also take advantage of automatic recurring payment capabilities. No envelopes, no checks, no walks in the cold rain to pay rent. This is one of the biggest perks reported by residents to having access to an online portal.
Residents aren’t the only ones who will love the added convenience of a program like this when it comes to rent payments. Some of the best programs can integrate easily with software like Excel and Quickbooks, providing you, the manager, with automatic record-keeping ability and the ability to generate immediate receipts and reports. You won’t have to keep records in old-fashioned filing cabinets stacked to the ceiling around your office anymore! Imagine automated leasing and your desk in the office – when was the last time you could see your desk under all the files, folders, applications and maintenance requests stacked on top? It all disappears with a good online resident portal program that is linked with your financial record-keeping software.
Quicker Response Times
When a renter has a problem, issue or something that they need to bring to your attention, it’s best for him or her to be able to do so as quickly as possible. Few things bring about more stress for people than having some issue or problem and not being able to address it with someone who can help. Even being able to relay issues over the Internet brings about a sense of accomplishment and relief; being able to scratch a task off of a “to do” list just makes people feel better.
One thing residents can do via an online portal is request maintenance; when the toilet won’t flush for John in Apartment 12B, the office doesn’t open until 9 a.m. but he has to be at work at 8 a.m., John isn’t going to be a happy resident. Alternatively, thanks to the online resident portal you’ve put in place, he can send your maintenance team a quick note right away, which means maintenance can address the problem sooner, and John can enjoy a repaired toilet by the time he gets home from work that evening.
Easy Communication, Day or Night
In a similar fashion, residents will be able to contact your management team to provide feedback, ask questions and even refer friends any time it is convenient for them. When residents are given tools that are designed for their convenience, they’ll know that management values their time and will be happier for it. They can take advantage of having quick access to contact information for management, service teams, resident advocates or other staff members. This way, they never feel left in the dark and will always know there is a communication pathway open.
At the same token, when people are planning a party, a shower, a reunion or the like, they’re excited and often want to narrow down and reserve a facility as soon as possible. With an online resident portal, they’ll be elated when they can log in and reserve the community building at their apartment property as soon as they’re ready.
A Display of Loyalty and Sincerity
The main idea here regarding an online resident portal is that it makes residents happy. When residents are happy, it makes management’s jobs easier, which makes management happy. A safe, happy and active neighborhood is something every tenant and manager wants, and it is at the heart of a successful rental business.
People by nature enjoy feeling wanted and appreciated; by making your property the very best it can be for your residents, you are showing them that your team values them and that you appreciate them – that you care about their happiness. Happy residents are much more likely to take care of their homes, are more likely to remain in their leases longer, and are also much more likely to refer their friends and acquaintances to your property. This all means a great reputation for your apartment community and better business, as well.
Take it a Step Further
Having an online resident portal available for tenants is a valuable asset, but it won’t do anyone much good if people don’t use it. Many apartment communities encourage residents to register and use the portal by holding raffles, sweepstakes and contests with prizes. The prizes can be anything from a certain dollar amount off of next month’s rent or a gift certificate to a popular local business to a tablet, cash prize or just about anything else! Not only will this encourage tenants to use the portal, but it will further bring evidence to the fact that you care about them and value them as part of your community.
|Steven Ozbun | Company Website |
Steven Ozbun, Vice President and Managing Partner at The DZAP Group | LeaseLabs™, is a sunny San Diego native. Steven’s studies include Computer Aided Drafting, Computer Network Systems and Visual Communications with an emphasis in Marketing & Advertising.