The average person now has more than 100 apps on their smartphone – but far from making people better connected, being exposed to so many different communication channels simply leaves them at risk of feeling overwhelmed.
By Jonny Wootten, Marketing Director, Spike Global
No-one is questioning the fact that apps make life easier. We are all living increasingly busy lives and need to be smarter with our time. Gone are the days when we want to be restricted to opening hours or listen to hold music while we wait for someone to answer the phone – we want to be in charge of our decisions and self-serve.
This is especially true in the world of property management. Not only do residents expect a range of sophisticated amenities in their apartment building, they also need them to be user-friendly – having to navigate a multitude of apps and portals is a definite turn-off, and if management doesn’t nourish the feeling of exclusiveness by providing branded resident portals and apps, residents will look elsewhere.
Residents expect a seamless journey, from the minute they look at an apartment online, through the reservation and booking stage, to moving in and managing their daily lives; they certainly don’t want the hassle of having to use multiple apps or places to manage amenity bookings, see messages, report maintenance issues or manage delivery requests. These kinds of fractured interactions with multiple apps leave residents feeling detached from the unified brand a building may be trying to cultivate, and app fatigue can be a real problem. “If these applications are not all integrated into one platform, you are not providing technology as an amenity to your residents, you are providing a massive headache,” states IoTforAll.com’s James Calder.
To keep residents happy, a single, multi-purpose management app is a necessity. “This one-stop-shop philosophy implies that customers would only need to install one app, sign up once, add their credentials a single time, and then enjoy multiple applications at their fingertips right away, all-in-one,” Dr. Fardad Zand claims on entrepreneur.com. Having to use a multitude of single-purpose apps not only drains phone batteries faster, it’s also a time-consuming nuisance – who really wants to remember which app they clicked on to do one of ten different things?
Spike’s resident engagement portal, Spike Living, allows residents to virtually manage their daily lives from a single app, including being notified when a package is ready to collect, booking a slot at the gym or a meeting room, interacting with other residents via forums and clubs, and learning about local retailers, Spike Living allows residents to build friendships with neighbours and get the most out of their buildings.
Furthermore, by providing residents with easy access to frequently asked questions, appliance guides and safety procedures, Spike Living helps them to find the information they need themselves, when they need it, reducing the workload on property managers. Important documents like signed contracts can be stored centrally and securely, ensuring that paper-based copies don’t get lost. This makes contracts and vital information easily accessible, and notifications can be sent to residents when there are newer versions to be reviewed and signed, allowing for full traceability.
Property managers are also demanding a single place to manage a resident’s entire journey, somewhere to store key information such as notes and reminders on the little things that can really help set a development apart, like a resident’s birthday or moving-in anniversary.
A centralised app allows property managers to communicate more easily with residents and be more proactive – from everyday announcements such as a lift being out-of-service to potentially life-saving push notifications in the event of an immediate danger, such as a fire, so they can take emergency action.
One of the most time-consuming parts of a property manager’s job is the handling of maintenance. Without an easy and simple way for residents to report issues, maintenance problems can often go unreported, and small problems can become serious ones. Mobile apps speed up communication and allow residents to quickly provide maintenance staff with better details about the task ahead. Enquiries and defect tickets can be logged centrally, as well as being tracked and shared between teams, keeping the resident informed at all times.
Having a single resident app that can be perfectly tailored to the facilities and services on offer also makes sound business sense. Spike creates white-label versions of its Spike Living software, meaning that each portal is personalised for every client, so it is always tailored to the specific requirements of both the management and the building. As well as connecting residents with the amenities and services available onsite, it can also be linked up with external partners to provide additional services, from bedding packs and weekly cleans to pizza delivery and beauty services, which could provide an added source of income through commission if desired.
Given that 92% of residents prefer digital communications, offering a single place where residents can connect digitally to property managers, interact and book services and get to know fellow residents and their surroundings should no longer be seen as a luxury but as a necessity. With an average engagement rate of 87% across its portals, Spike Living is proven to help residents truly live their best lives.