Five Best Practices for Making the Shift to New Electronic Systems
By Melissa D. White, GFI Management Services
In the realm of real estate, technology is completely changing the apartment leasing experience, and Millennial renters, who are accustomed to data at their fingertips, are at the forefront of this revolution.
But what does this mean for today’s property management professionals? For one, technology gives them the power of time, allowing them to more effectively manage day-to-day sales operations and focus on what matters most—getting the word out about available properties.
Today, we use technology for various purposes: training, distributing listings, following-up on prospect interest, advertising specials and promotions, measuring ROI in content and media. Even the act of leasing have all become more streamlined, systematic and automated in the last year.
Though there are a number of immediate benefits of technology-aided workflows, implementation can be stressful (as is any transition to new technology). For companies that are just making the shift, here are five best practices to keep in mind:
Be Flexible: Have a plan, a realistic time frame and patience. If something can break or go wrong, it probably will. Expect hiccups and be prepared to react to them in smart and pragmatic ways.
Nurture Early Adopters: Take special care of your pilot group of trainees. They’re going to spread the word to their colleagues about the new product and what to expect from it.
Pay Close Attention to Updates: Conduct a secondary review of any content that’s planned for distribution. If your implementation is spread over several months, facts and circumstances may have changed by the time your platform goes live.
Test the Product: Have a beta period post-implementation, where you are monitoring for process glitches and inefficiencies. Be sure to have a plan to quickly resolve issues to prevent operational errors and clearly identify your internal support for fast response time.
Enlist Support: On go-live day, have a senior staff member who understands the technology on site, in addition to any outside consultants. This will ease your team’s comfort level with the process and give them a trusted resource for questions and concerns.
In our field, technology is becoming an invaluable tool, and while the ramp up may require additional resources at first—the benefits and solutions are long-term. Inception and sustainability are equally important to ensure your new technologies meet operational needs and contribute to the bottom line.
Melissa D. White is national director of marketing & training at GFI Management Services, Inc., an owner and manager of multifamily properties throughout the United States.