Entrata has been helping ResidentPortal and ResidentPay customers create paperless leasing offices for years. But when we invited Entrata customers representing many portfolio types and sizes to enter a contest to see who could boost online payments the most, even we couldn’t believe what happened.
The invitation went out in March 2018 at Base Camp, and twenty-four property management companies joined the contest that would measure how much they could improve online rent payment participation over the summer. Companies included conventional and student portfolios, market-rate and affordable properties. Average online payment participation across the participants was an impressive 51 percent – but ranged from property to property.
With two prizes on the line, one for most online payments overall, and another for most-improved online payment participation, there were chances for everyone to win. Participants were able to take advantage of marketing materials provided by Entrata, but many chose to implement their own internal programs with on-site staff and residents to build excitement for online payments and help residents make the transition. At the end of three months, participating properties were collecting an impressive average of 81 percent of rent payments online.
Phillips Management entered the contest with a strong commitment to paperless leasing offices and counted on their paperless philosophy to serve them well in the competition. Everything from leases to move-in forms and inspections are handled online at Phillips’ student housing properties. Leasing offices don’t even have filing cabinets. But when a recently-acquired property threatened their near-perfect average, Phillips took quick action to remove rent drop-boxes and train staff and residents to make rent payments through the ResidentPortal. In the end, their dedication to a paperless philosophy won the day and Phillips took first place in the competition with over 99 percent online payment participation across all their properties.
Indus Management started the competition in a very different place. Their portfolio of C-class properties had almost no online payment adoption at the beginning of the year. Residents lacked access to technology or didn’t even have bank accounts, creating additional challenges to making online payments. Indus started with training for their own teams, explaining the benefits of online payments and training them to help residents with everything from creating an email address to downloading an app.
Indus properties made sure residents had a variety of online options (including MoneyGram payments and credit card payments) and even invited local banks to send representatives that would help residents establish bank accounts. Dedicated computers were set up in leasing offices where residents could sign up for ResidentPortal or even pay rent, and residents were encouraged to use the portal for maintenance requests to drive traffic and increase their familiarity with the interface. At the end of the contest, Indus was averaging nearly 90 percent online payment participation across its portfolio, and in the top spot for most improved.
Phillips and Indus will be featured next month at the Entrata Summit, and case studies detailing their success will be published soon after. They may have won the Masters of Paperless title, but each participating company came away with higher online payment participation, which translates to less time processing rent, fewer delinquencies, reduced payment theft and fraud, and increased resident satisfaction. In our book, they’re all winners.