Which Operational Model Is Best for My Business?

Centralization has been a hot topic in the multifamily industry for a few years now. Despite all that talk, a consensus centralized model has not emerged. Fortunately, Entrata is built in such a way that it can accommodate however you decide to centralize your operations (if at all). Below is a review of some of the top centralization models and how to implement them into your business.

Centralized Model

In a centralized model, you consolidate on-site operations to a central team to make processes more scalable and ensure a consistent experience at every touch point. Centralization efforts are often focused on streamlining sales and marketing efforts to simplify the processes at the beginning of the lead to lease cycle.

We live in an on-demand society that has created unrealistic expectations from consumers. When they ask questions or submit an application, they want a response immediately. If your on-site team is responsible for managing not only the day-to-day needs of residents, but also the leasing process, it can prove difficult to respond as quickly as applicants might want.

That’s why creating a centralized leasing center makes a lot of sense for many businesses. It allows for specialization and a more focused division of labor. The end result is a better overall experience for the resident at every step of the renter’s journey. The leasing agent helps maneuver the tedious steps of the application process, while on-site staff can focus on ensuring residents needs are met post move in. These two positions require completely different skill sets, so it allows you to hire the right people to deliver an optimal experience to residents.

Another positive outcome that comes as a result of being able to have a more focused staff is increased retention. When you’re playing to your employees strengths, they have less stress about their job and they feel more fulfilled in their chosen career path, which means they will be less likely to jump at the next opportunity. Reducing employee turnover creates continuity and a more consistent experience for renters during the life of their lease.

The whole purpose of centralization is to simplify and make the process less complicated, but when you have to utilize multiple solutions or build costly integrations is it really worth it? Currently, Entrata is the only solution built to handle end-to-end, full funnel lead management for property management companies, all from a single sign on. If you’re looking to streamline the process, centralization with Entrata is the answer.

Hybrid model

If centralizing all of your operations is too daunting of a task, but you do want to take advantage of some of the efficiencies and scalability that come from centralization, taking a hybrid approach might be best for your business. A hybrid model gives you the best of both worlds. You’ll be able to streamline repeatable tasks that occur early in the sales process and offer real-time support, while being able to offer a more personalized touch when leads are passed off to on-site staff.

When implementing a hybrid model, it’s important to look at your lead management process from beginning to end and decide where the best opportunities are for centralization. This could be automating initial responses back to leads as well as lead scoring or creating a centralized contact center to handle lead communication and schedule appointments. Choose whatever fits best in your business’ process and makes your job easier.

Decentralized Model

With all this being said, there are still good reasons to implement or keep using a decentralized model to manage your properties. The biggest being it gives more control to individual properties to make decisions that are in their best interest as it relates to the leasing process at the property level. While a decentralized model might not be the most efficient way to manage the leasing process, if it is working for your business and the disruption caused by switching slows you down more than you’d like, there’s no shame in standing pat.

While a centralized operational model makes sense for some property management companies, others aren’t quite ready to make the switch. There are a number of reasons why. Foremost among them is how high switching costs are. The industry has long been successful operating in a decentralized manner, so there’s an attitude of if it isn’t broken, why fix it?

Moving away from a decentralized model will likely require you to either purchase new software or reconfigure software you’re already using, but that’s just one aspect of the costs to switch. There’s also the psychological toll it could take on your employees. Change is hard. Even if it results in improved productivity and efficiency, it will still be hard for your employees to wrap their heads around the reason for the change.

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