The Benefits of Self-Service in Multifamily
Multifamily is leaning into automation, making the rental process easier for both renters and on-site teams.
My daughters, who are at sleepaway camp, recently requested that I send them care packages of things they needed—candy, putty to hang pictures by their beds, extra socks, sweatpants, candy … you know, the essentials.
I was able to order most of the items online. But then came the hard part: Finding time to get to the post office to send them.
Like many people still, I work from home most of the time. But still, between meetings, emails, calls, walking the dogs, more emails … well, it’s hard to find time during the day to run errands—and my neighborhood post office closes at 4:30 p.m. Luckily, I was able to duck out one afternoon. Crisis averted!
Years ago, when I was apartment hunting, it was the same sort of stress (though less candy-related, but only slightly). Whenever I wanted to tour an apartment, I’d have to go during business hours. Hours where I was, of course, doing my own business.
For the multifamily industry, this is luckily changing. The pandemic made the case for automation and self-service, allowing prospective residents and current renters to take virtual tours of communities, chat with bots about rental rates and availability and submit work orders.
And self-service is sticking around! Many communities are embracing it. In Gabriel Frank’s article “Case Studies in Resident Self-Service” several multifamily companies share how self-service has both enhanced the resident experience and allowed the on-site teams to focus their time on other matters.
“Not everyone is available to talk to someone working on-site between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m., so having that ability to automatically reengage a prospect has been a big component of our approach to self-service,” Sarah Randolph of RKW Residential, told Frank.
Of course, the resident experience can never be completely automated. (Anyone who has called an insurance company and screamed “service representative” after going through several layers of bots trying to direct them to the right department can tell you that.) But anything that makes getting or living in an apartment more convenient—and frees up the multifamily team—is a good thing.
“(Self-service) allows us to streamline our services, and (have) better time management for the on-site teams,” Jamie Kane of The Breeden Co., told Frank. “It allows for other in-person things that we have to do on-site.”