A large component of the human experience typically consists of a steady routine. Then came 2020.
Our current human experience is largely unprecedented, as parents attempt to juggle full-time jobs with teaching responsibilities, virtual workplaces are the norm and many conferences, concerts and public events indefinitely postponed.
For those juggling multiple responsibilities in unconventional ways, the time crunch is real. That’s where the apartment world can help by making things as simple as possible for those managing multiple responsibilities. For instance, imagine working from home, teaching from home, rescheduling events, making an extra effort to keep your family safe—and having to search for a new home on top of everything.
If the only time that individual can search for an apartment home is 11:30 p.m.— which is more common than one might think in the current climate—the industry has to make it easy for them. AI, automation and self-service have been buzzwords in the industry in recent years, but their importance has taken on added significance in a touchless environment.
Here are a few of the ways apartment operators can make things easier on prospects, many of which carry the dual benefit of making things more efficient for short-staffed leasing teams:
While self-guided tours were already gaining in popularity, they are now a necessity in many instances. But all SGTs aren’t the same. While the concept seems easy enough on the surface—a prospect arrives and tours the community on his or her own—the leasing team still facilitates this self-tour. An associate must either leave keys or provide remote entry for the prospect, supply them with information such as maps of the community, and in some instances remotely guide the prospect. On the backend, SGTs that integrate with the property management system provide a better experience for the prospect and associate. For instance, if an online application can be linked to the tour request, it will foster a less disjointed leasing process.
Efficient verification process
The waiting game has never been fun. It’s even more burdensome for the modern-day prospect with approximately 577 other things to juggle. A waiting period of seven to 10 days to verify credit status, financial standing and rent history simply won’t work for many renters, who will move along to the next community if they cannot be verified in a timely manner. An efficient verification platform is more important than ever and might make a difference as to whether a prospect chooses your community.
On the prospect side, the emergence of chatbots has been well documented. Advancements in natural language processing have allowed prospects to communicate instant-message style and receive detailed answers to an increased number of questions. In the aforementioned example of the late-night apartment hunter, the ability to have pertinent questions answered at any time of the day is a genuine game-changer in the multifamily sector. Beyond chatbots, AI assists in additional ways, including as an inter-team chat tool. With many associates continuing to work remotely, video-chat platforms with interactive capabilities are increasingly important. Many teams are utilizing these to virtually communicate with prospects, as well.
The pandemic has driven home the notion that tech can foster interpersonal relationships and serve as the liaison to remain connected. It can also reduce a complicated leasing process to one that’s interactive and efficient, which is exactly what many overburdened individuals are clamoring for in the current environment.