Jun 20

Technology & the Human Experience

Posted by: Entrata | Category: Newsletters,Technology

For all of the focus dedicated to technology, it is nothing without a human element. It’s empty and cold. A mechanical world without human touch would essentially alienate the very reason technology exists—to better the human experience. 

Tech designed to augment the actions of the user—rather than replace them—has consistently proven to be the most functional and well received. That notion commonly holds true in the multifamily sector, which puts the onus on the industry to do its part. This includes shaping the user experience based upon how residents and team members interact with the technology

The concept seems rudimentary enough, but before it can happen, you have to understand how these individuals regularly utilize tech tools. Here are some ways:

Tracking user actions on a community website

Every time a prospect makes an action on the website, they are telling the community something about what is important to them in their next home. With each micro-conversion (in this case, a click to obtain further information), they are also providing a glance into how intuitive the website is, and how the community can better create a customer experience. For instance, let’s say a prospect goes from the home page to the floor-plan page, but then immediately bounces back to the home page. Then the prospect goes to the photos page and spends five-plus minutes there. That action shows that adjustments to the home page might be needed to more directly guide the user to the photos page. 

Configure tech to facilitate collaboration

Envision a common theme of maintenance requests directly after move-in, which occurs because most residents don’t understand how to work the thermostat. They believe it’s broken and submit a service request. Then the maintenance team responds to the ticket, sees that the thermostat isn’t actually broken, but that the resident was unclear on how to use the thermostat. The trail shouldn’t end here, or the cycle will continue to repeat. Through the resident portal, the maintenance team should be able to inform the marketing team, operations team and any others who might find it pertinent. Equipped with this knowledge, the marketing team can create an easy instruction manual to give resident at move-in. 

Chatbots that answer advanced questions

First to dispel the common misperception that chatbots are automated voices that handle phone calls or virtual assistants like Siri. Chatbots are the automated text-based chat tool that communicates with prospects in instant-message-like fashion. These tools were limited when first unveiled, but have become vastly more sophisticated due to advanced machine learning. While chatbots are sufficient in answering basic questions about floor plans, location details and rental rates, they also can decipher more cryptic questions and provide useful information. One popular example occurred when a prospect directly asked whether he could smoke marijuana on the property. Whereas early versions of the tool wouldn’t have been able to provide an answer, the chatbot quickly came back with a note sharing the community’s smoking policy with a link to the details. 

No matter how sophisticated the technology, its capacity is limited if it can’t complement the actions of its users. Technology that assists rather than overrides the human touch represents the future. These are merely a few industry examples of how the two can work together to achieve stellar results.