Monday 3 April 2023
As many property management companies will know, small day-to-day administrative tasks can pile up and become difficult to manage when considering the number of properties and tenants you handle. This can make it challenging to focus on your customers as your attention is diverted towards the minor (but numerous) concerns. This had certainly become the case for KR Peters Real Estate.
A family-run and owned real estate agency founded by Peter Nicolls, KR Peters Real Estate is dedicated to delivering comprehensive sales, property management and project marketing services Melbourne-wide. Their commitment to constant improvement, growth and innovation made them a leader in delivering quality real estate services for more than four decades.
KR Peters prides itself on its customer-focused, technology-driven approach to property, so their experts offer advice tailored to customer needs and comprehensive property management and project marketing services throughout the Melbourne area. “We manage around 400 properties. On a normal day, we receive 100 emails and phone calls, particularly about general inquiries and maintenance,” shared Crystal Barneveld, Senior Property Manager at KR Peters Real Estate. When you’re in charge of this many moving parts–general inquiries and maintenance calls for around 400 properties on top of high-level tasks–you must find a solution that handles requests without taking resources away from activities that deliver value to all your stakeholders.
Senior Property Manager Crystal Barneveld recalls the hectic days prior to adopting Rental Heroes’ solution: “Before we got ‘Alex,’ we were getting a lot of small interruptions in our day about maintenance, and tenancy – when you accumulate those small inquiries it takes a lot of time. We had to manually upload information on our CRM system as well.” While it’s certainly not an issue within KR Peters, being overloaded with these kinds of administrative tasks can weigh heavily on property managers. Feeling overloaded, overtired and time-poor are key reasons why many property managers leave the industry.
It’s these working conditions that drove 30% of property managers to leave the field in 2021 because of stress and overworking, as reported by the Real Estate Institute of Victoria. Property managers had to deal with anxious and frustrated tenants and landlords in the wake of the pandemic, with their jobs and sources of income put in a precarious position. Landlords were calling constantly while tenants would give notice saying they were unsure they would still have work to be able to pay for rent–both sides would take out their frustrations on property managers, sometimes to the extent of being rude and unreasonable. These conditions drove even industry veterans out, given the unprecedented level of stress.
Real estate experts acknowledge that there’s no quick, short-term fix for things like pandemic-related stress, but as conditions improve, property management companies need to find ways to reduce stress–by cultivating a proper work-life balance for their teams. While there’s no clear-cut guideline for how many hours constitute a healthy work-life balance, property management companies need to listen to and understand their staff’s needs and create an arrangement that gives employees a vibrant professional environment and enough time for a thriving personal life. It requires an individual approach that encourages a sense of joy and balance.
An inability to balance work and life is a detriment to mental health, as it may lead to several issues along with stress, like social isolation, a feeling of lacking control and in extreme cases, burnout. Organisations play a crucial role in helping staff develop healthier professional and personal boundaries by providing enough training and a supportive environment. Property management companies need to improve their communication with the team to solve problems ahead of time and remove unnecessary stressors, as well as supply staff with the tools which deal with tasks that take up mental real estate, like the Rental Heroes property management software which takes arduous and time-consuming administrative tasks off a manager’s hands.
Finding ways to improve an organisation’s efficiency and productivity often leads companies to tech, and responding to changing needs translates into embracing innovation. Crystal remembers how KR Peters found Rental Heroes’ solution: “We stumbled on Rental Heroes while we were doing a property management training day. We had a chat with Leanne, the National Sales Manager of Rental heroes. We haven’t heard much about ‘Alex’ before then, but we’re always looking for ways to innovate our services. We found that the product was helpful not only to us but also to our clients.”
As property management companies, it’s important to find opportunities that help you boost performance and increase efficiency, as KR Peters has done. Proptech has so much potential to do good for property management companies, as long as you know what tools you need. Proptech demand is high as it lowers operating costs, so firms are constantly developing solutions that reduce transaction costs and enhance the consumer experience. As more property management agencies see the convenience and value proptech adds to their processes, adoption is high and companies will continue to integrate it into their businesses. “Alex” is an example of an effective proptech tool that you can easily incorporate into your processes, supporting your property management team as well as your tenants.
For Crystal and the rest of the KR Peters team, their next steps were simple: “We booked a demonstration with Rental Heroes after that training, and it was pretty much a no-brainer after that. We signed up for ‘Alex’ immediately. “The Rental Heroes team gave us step-by-step instructions for how to integrate ‘Alex’ into our CRM system and how we could add it to our social media pages. They instructed us on how our clients can also use the products. In a day or two, we were able to deploy ‘Alex’.”
“Alex” gets positive feedback from both property managers and tenants
Maybe you’re getting pushback from your property management team or your clients about utilising an AI-powered proptech, and how it might remove the “human” touch of the services you provide. But in reality, proptech like “Alex” serves to enhance your customer experience and allow your team to improve the services they provide.
Crystal and the rest of the KR Real Estate team were transparent with their tenants: “We sent out an email to our existing clients explaining how ‘Alex’ works. It’s part of our information packs and reminder emails. And we had a positive response when we rolled ‘Alex’ out, everyone gave it a go, even our tenants. It’s great for our new clients too. We’ve made sure that we introduce ‘Alex’ in our onboarding process so that we can explain to them how it works.”
It’s crucial to implement a digital self-service experience as it benefits not only property management teams but also tenants. A digital self-service experience allows tenants to put in their concerns online and enable them to address key issues without assistance, freeing up time for property management to focus on higher-level activities or pressing emergencies.
Crystal and the rest of the KR Peters team experience the improvements firsthand: “With the help of ‘Alex’, our property management team has saved a lot of time, allowing us to get to know our customers better instead of having to manually update our CRM. So instead of focusing on administrative tasks, we can focus on our customers instead.”
KR Peters knows that prioritising their customers over administrative items is key to reaching their goals as an organisation, and involving proptech is one way to complete tasks. If you’re ready to give much-needed support to your property management team, book a demo with us. We will help you integrate “Alex” seamlessly into your processes and workflow.