Back-and-forth communication can eat up a lot of time and resources! Automating simple, everyday conversations will allow you to focus on more critical tasks—like getting that vacant property listed and filled or proactively creating goodwill among your owners. You do need to see and react to some volume of communication you receive—but certainly not all of it.
Which Conversations Are Worth Automating?
What types of back-and-forth communication can be automated to save time? Typically, it is an input that requires a perfunctory or repetitive response. It can also be communication set on a "timer" delivered in a certain amount of days should something else (like a late rent payment) trigger it. Some examples include:
- Marketing and Sales
- Appointment Setting
- Rent Collection
- General Responses
- Maintenance Requests.
Every phone call and email means staff hours devoted to offering responses that are already reasonably simple. However, the more doors you have under management, the more those hours add up. Automating a little now means huge savings later!
Property Management Marketing and Sales
How long do you spend crafting the perfect client email only to get no reply—or even worse, the client doesn't understand what you are saying? Automating early client interactions can save you a lot of time spent banging your head on your desk looking for the next great tagline to hook your customer.
You have probably already written thousands of emails that worked well. Why not put a few into a rotation as prepared responses to common inquiries? This is the email equivalent of an interactive F.A.Q. Page. You can also allow current owners and potential clients to schedule appointments for phone calls online. This way, all of their needs can be met through one phone call rather than ten emails.
Automate your appointment book, and you will have no more missed calls, double booking or prospective tenants moving on before you can call them back. Automating portions of your time spent will ensure you can allocate the rest more wisely. This can be supported through client access to online schedules and appointment booking.
Automating all appointment settings will also cut down on long chains of emails about setting times, changing times, where to meet, and so forth. You can even automate the process of notifying people that their appointments are coming up!
Your rent collection emails can be set to automatically send upon delinquency. If your rent collection process is done online, response automation can work hand in hand with your accounting software to notify you and your tenants. Additionally, subsequent reminders will continue to send until the process escalates to something more severe or the process resolved.
The eviction process contains a lot of back and forth communication that you can easily automate. Once a case escalates to this level, tenant-landlord contact can be automated. You can also automate the process of sending documents that need to be signed. Automating evictions will also help you to save your emotional currency for other tasks.
Any process or cascade can be automated. For example, what happens if it is time for the maintenance crew to check all of the fire extinguishers and alarms? Your automated process will ask the maintenance crew when they plan to do it. When they send a response as to what day, your tenants will be alerted automatically. You can even automate severe weather alerts from the weather station if you feel the need.
Automation can read emails looking for particular subjects and respond appropriately. You can even go to the length of holding a town hall meeting and asking residents about things that could be made more accessible for them. Listen to what they discuss, and think about simple ways to implement such suggestions. No, you won't be able to automate a new indoor pool. However, you can automate a response to tenants asking about a maintenance procedure rather than having to type it out each time.
Maintenance requests can be automated using a ticket or appointment system. The property management staff could then review tickets that get sent along to maintenance. Regularly scheduled maintenance or maintenance that you are aware of ahead of time (like a move-out) can be automated as well.
Regularly scheduled tasks and move-outs should already be in your calendar; notifications for these to the maintenance crew can be sent without your assistance. From there, maintenance will either do the work or get back to you with a time that they plan to do it. Other communications can also be automated, such as billing or approval for additional work. Cutting down on the back-and-forth with the maintenance crew will save a lot of headaches and time while ensuring everything is well coordinated.
Automation Supports Better Communication
Here are a few facts; people check their emails 36 times an hour. If they have to look at something, it will take them 15 minutes to get refocused—assuming that it's a quick task. When you automate most of your email conversations, that shaves extra time spent doing nothing and redistributes it to productive tasks. Multi-tasking kills the workday—no matter how good at it you think that you are.
Workflow automation is a serious investment in saving you time and money. As a HubSpot Platinum Agency Partner, Rent Bridge knows that the right property management system is crucial. Such systems can provide you with all of the tools to handle your property management workflows. Get in touch with us today to see how your communication systems can benefit from a significant structural overhaul!