Commercial and residential tenants, especially those from millennial and newer generations, prefer using digital technology to interact. When dealing with real-estate companies, millennials prefer accomplishing key tasks remotely. They choose to text rather than call, email rather than write, and go online to raise issues and address other basic needs. It should be no surprise that across the globe, research shows people will spend 930 hours – or 39 full days – on the mobile internet in 2021. Demand for better digital experiences in all interactions, including with real-estate companies, is driving the adoption of digital technologies like online platforms, mobile call centers, and on-demand access to community information.
Yet how can real-estate companies make these investments amid challenges like reduced occupancy, strong competition, decline in rental collections, and tighter cash flow? These businesses have been tested on every front by the COVID-19 pandemic. One report revealed that more than half of the 200 commercial real-estate executives polled felt the pandemic exposed shortcomings in their organizations’ digital capabilities. But it also revealed that almost half the companies were using digital technologies like interactive mobile apps and planned to increase tenant communication during the next year. While the impact to their top line has been significant, real-estate companies can focus on keeping a healthy bottom line to sustain their business.
Bring digital to the tenant experience
The time to go digital is now. Real-estate companies can strengthen operations while building trust with tenants by adopting a strategic approach to digital transformation. Digital strategies should aim to reduce service costs and improve tenant retention. Self-service functions can empower both companies and tenants by driving self-serve engagements, offering real-time facility updates, and fostering a sense of community within a mobile app.
Cloud technology should be the backbone for many of these new capabilities, as it offers scalability, data storage, and omnipresent access. The channel can be used for digital marketing and cross-selling to compensate for reduced top lines and cash flow. Real-estate companies must capture the pulse of the tenants and analyze high-frequency data from multiple channels and points of interaction. Just as important, they must have a system in place that empowers them to derive insights from this data, inform their decisions, and provide contextual tenant services.
Companies are waking up to the digital reality and are ready to keep pace with fast-evolving trends by investing in tools that provide enhanced tenant experiences. They are looking at solutions that do not require expensive or cutting-edge technologies, but rather a feature-rich and tightly integrated online tool. They need tenants to have an online account to perform basic tasks such as submitting service requests, receiving alerts and notices, paying rent, viewing their account and financial statements, uploading documents, providing feedback, and performing other simple functions. Offering self-service features frees-up the company’s time while enabling tenants to maximize their through on-demand services.
Investing in tenant self-serve is no longer viewed solely in terms of money spent on technology versus dollars saved on employee time. Now, digital investments are a way to retain current tenants or gain new ones. Such initiatives, aimed at an enhanced tenant experience, are the core of a successful marketing, growth, upselling, and customer-service strategy.
Tenant self-service portal: The future of tenant management
As a leader in implementing SAP-based transformation programs and customer-experience solutions, Wipro is cognizant of the emerging needs of real estate companies for tenant self-service enablement.To address this need, Wipro has developed a simple and feature rich online kiosk called the ‘Tenant Self Service Portal’. Taking only a few weeks to adapt and deploy, the portal can be accessed using a smartphone, tablet, or computer. Tenants can log into their account and view invoices, pay rent, check for their next payment, and view alerts and communications.
The benefits of rental-management companies using innovative digital tools such as this are vast. Using one central tool, companies can facilitate and manage document sharing, tenant interactions, and contract and renewal cycles, all while gaining new insights about their customers and business. In turn, this can contribute to reduced costs of serving customers and potentially increase tenant retention.
By investing in digital tools, real-estate companies can maintain a healthy bottom line, meet the needs of their current customers, and position themselves to provide a superior customer experience for the next generation of tenants.