From the Summit: Leveraging Data for Property Operations

One of apartment operators’ major priorities these days is to find ways to streamline their associates’ workdays. By improving onsite efficiencies, operators not only improve the productivity and morale of team members, but they also pave the way for better prospect and resident experiences.

In the session From Efficiency Gains to Resident Delight: Leveraging Data for Property Operations at the 2023 Entrata Summit, panelists detailed how some leading-edge operators have increased associate efficiency. Their topics included employee training, work orders, online payments and access control.

PeakMade Real Estate realized important benefits by taking a critical look at the amount of time associates were spending in training sessions, according to Opal Cox, Senior Director of Operations and Project Management at the company.

“We decided we could be far more efficient here,” Cox said. “We moved into more of a data-driven approach.”

In a nutshell, by regularly analyzing reporting data and associate performance, the company has moved away from a one-size-fits-all approach to training.

“We decide, based on certain thresholds that are right for our company, who needs to be on a specific training call, " Cox said.

Overall, PeakMade has reduced the total number of hours its associates spend on training calls by 36%.

“This allows teams to reinvest into the customer experience,” Cox said.

Ensuring a Healthy Cash Flow

Haven Residential has discovered that encouraging more online rental payments can have a major impact on operations.

“We analyzed our 2022 and 2023 data, and we found that our properties that have, on average, about 80% of their payments being made through their online portal consistently have a 91% collection rate by the 11th of the month, which is amazing for cash flow purposes,” said Devan Cronin, Executive Vice President of Technology at Haven. “We didn’t have to get to 100% adoption of online payments to have those results—we just had to get to 80%. Small things that you do can really have a big impact. You don’t have to go all in and really focus on trying to get 100%.”

Similarly, by encouraging renters to use the Resident Portal more to submit work and maintenance requests, Haven has been able to reduce time-consuming work order calls to its leasing offices by 50%.

“We had been losing so much of our leasing staff’s time with them just being stuck to the phone,” Cronin said.

Logan Starnes, Software Administrator for Coryell Collaborative Group, added that the use of technology can also improve the performance of maintenance teams.

“Using tools like the Entrata Facilities app keeps our techs out on property completing work orders rather than getting stuck in the office,” he said. “Because we all know if the service tech comes into the leasing office, there’s a resident in there that wants to talk to them, or the office staff has questions. Then two hours go by, and that’s time that they could have been completing work orders.”

The Power of Access Control

The implementation of access control technology is another way to gain important operational efficiencies, according to Starnes.

“Anybody who’s worked in property management for any length of time understands how bothersome keys are,” he said. “It’s insane: signing them out, making sure you get them back. If you don’t get them back or that dreaded master key goes missing, then you’re looking at thousands of dollars in rekeying an entire property. Access control may be an upfront investment, but it’s going to save you money on the bottom line.”

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