Are You Engaged?

Alison Batty
Alison Batty

Housing Associations need to demonstrate that they are engaging with their residents. How are you managing this?

It is increasingly important for many tenants to feel as though their housing association is engaging with them, yet many associations are struggling with this concept, leaving their residents feeling disconnected. However, property technology, or PropTech for short, may be just the answer you have been looking for.

Through the implementation of an online residents portal, for example, you can be in much closer contact with your tenants, leading to a far superior tenant experience. In this blog post, we will take a more in-depth look at the need to engage with residents and the ways that PropTech can assist with this goal.

The Rapid Rise of Property Technology

The use of technology within the property industry is an emerging phenomenon and, indeed, it was a popular belief until relatively recent that the industry itself was simply immune to any major technological disruption. Nevertheless, Since 2015, investment in property technology has trebled, according to an article published by Forbes.

Although the reasons for the rapid rise of PropTech are varied, and include the success of technology-driven companies in other industries, such as Uber and Airbnb, one of the main reasons is the need to engage with customers. After all, the purchasing decisions of more and more customers are now being driven primarily by the customer experience they encounter, rather than by concepts like product or price.

The best option here is to make use of a client portal, such as the resident portal product offered by Engage. This particular solution allows landlords or housing associations to post news and updates, share offers from local businesses, and provide self-service options for making payments, or accessing statements.

 

Encouraging Residents to Use the Client Portal

Of course, in order to actually engage with residents via a property management portal, it is imperative that you take steps to encourage residents to use the portal. For younger residents, who are perhaps more technologically literate, this may not be much of a challenge, as they will likely enjoy the convenience. Yet, for older residents, or those who are more stuck in their ways, you might need to have some basic incentives in place.

Successfully getting your residents to use your online portal will save you both time and money when it comes to everything from sending out communications, right through to payment processing. Some of these savings can, therefore, be passed on to residents as an incentive to make use of the service.

Indeed, one option is to offer discounts to those who use the portal, or to make it clear that you will be charging slightly more to those who do not use it, due to the extra time and effort involved. You should also take steps to help those who might not be technologically-minded, and offering some basic video lessons is an option for this.

Ways to Effectively Engage With Residents

For housing associations, once the property management portal is set up and both sides understand how to access it, it is essential that the technology is used to engage with residents. Crucially, this can help you to keep tenants happy, which will ultimately improve the chances of turning them into long-term customers.

On a basic level, you can use the portal to share important news about your properties and about the local area. Products like the Engage resident portal also include options for open forums, where issues can be discussed freely, while there are also customer survey functions, allowing for feedback to be obtained easily. Indeed, this core principle of treating residents as ‘customers’ not ‘tenants’ is an important shift that you should focus on.

Special offers from local businesses and information about new services can also be valuable here, while some housing associations have even started to use PropTech to launch sweepstakes and other competitions, providing residents with opportunities to win prizes or even earn money off of their monthly rent.

The Final Word

Property technology, or PropTech, is playing a growing role in helping housing associations, private landlords and others involved in the property industry to deliver a superior resident experience. In particular, software solutions like the resident portal from Engage can assist with this, offering new ways to engage with tenants.

From sharing news and updates, through to processing payments, PropTech can make the job faster and easier, and some of these savings can be passed on to residents. The result of this is happier residents, who are more likely to agree to stay long-term, improving your housing association’s overall revenue generating potential.

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