by Brent Steiner
With the multifamily industry entrenched in the world of social distancing, many operators have been quickly vetting and implementing new technologies to help support their operations. Adopting a tech provider can often be a daunting task, as there are various points of consideration, such as cost, tech support, integration and the identification of performance benchmarks.
Social distancing and a new baseline of operations has also shifted the factors that impact the decision to implement new technology.
First and foremost, operators should be aware of these factors when vetting the provider. Seeking systems with an open API model serves as a solid starting point, because they are more easily integrated. Here are some equally important things to look for during the due diligence process:
Checking references of PropTech providers is an excellent way to evaluate the way they conduct business. In addition to inquiring about their support levels for onsite staff, the quality of their communication during the implementation process and the responsiveness of their team, it’s a great way to see how quickly they are able to pivot. The global pandemic introduced an abundance of variables not witnessed in the industry for quite some time, or maybe ever. The ability of a PropTech provider to pivot quickly and provide solutions to new problems will be crucial to the success of a business.
A customer-service element is more crucial than ever in a social distancing environment. Onboarding a tech provider is never an instant process, and your team almost certainly will have questions during the first few weeks of rollout. But if the provider goes dark on the backend, it doesn’t help much. Make sure the provider offers a high-level of instant tech support. While 24/7 support would be ideal, it’s critical that the provider offers live support during the business hours of any given time zone across the country. If something goes wonky during a remote tour, for instance, prospects won’t be patient if you can’t remedy the situation in a timely manner.
Savvy in connective technology
With the business world working remotely more than ever, an ideal tech provider should be well versed in connective technologies such as Microsoft Teams, video-chat platforms such as Zoom, and Google’s various connection options. Many tours and tour recordings heavily rely on these platforms, and the tech provider should not clash with anything that could make a connection. It probably isn’t a good sign if the platform doesn’t support or augment these connective technologies that have become primary means of communication.
New-school cost-benefit analysis
Traditionally, a cost-benefit analysis detailed how a company could spend less to make more. That model has shifted somewhat during the pandemic, as some platforms are valuable in how they can best mitigate loss. Lessening losses now can lead to a quicker economic recovery down the road, so keep that in mind when assessing the capabilities of the provider.
Onboarding a new provider is never an easy decision for most operators. But following the vetting practices above will assist in finding a provider that will make a genuine difference and serve as a solid fit for the organization.