by Demetrios Barnes
Today’s prospective renter experience barely resembles the traditional model deployed by multifamily in recent decades. It is now fully mobile and self-sufficient, and empowers renters with more control over the process from Day 1. The apartment search begins online. Scheduling and conducting a tour now typically take place via a mobile app.
App technology has been launched to smooth the prospect experience up until move-in to optimize user satisfaction. So why does the post-move-in resident app experience often become so convoluted?
The reason is simple. The proptech evolution in multifamily since the start of the pandemic ushered in several long-overdue operational advances, designed to benefit both renters and property managers. Much of the tech features app-based controls, which empower renters and teams. Unfortunately, most proptech operates on their own designated apps.
As operators roll out more technology, they effectively roll out more mobile apps. In an effort to create convenience, operators create confusion, app fatigue and potentially see a decrease in usage.
However, when executed correctly, app technology can be strategically leveraged to streamline the resident experience and increase renter satisfaction. By following the three Cs of app development and deployment, operators can create an app experience that residents won’t want to relinquish.
Resident apps need to cover the essentials to establish full mobile control of the residential space. Think thermostats, locks and lighting. Enabling residents to use their phones to reduce energy use while they are away, customize the climate and ambiance upon their return, and confirm that their doors are locked are critical app features.
Routine tasks like submitting service requests and issuing guest access credentials should be app-enabled, as well. The remote ability to manage all aspects of the home creates irreplaceable convenience and contributes directly to resident satisfaction.
Individual apps for each proptech feature are confusing and cumbersome, and detract from the resident experience. A huge component of convenience is having access to everything in one place, meaning all resident-facing functions and features should live in a singular location.
Forcing residents to sift through multiple property apps to find the function they need builds frustration and contributes to app fatigue.
By consolidating the interface for all resident controls and options into one app, operators ensure higher adoption rates and greater utilization, and increase convenience for residents.
Operators must remain committed to a single-app model to maintain any operational advantages or improved resident sentiment levels. When new resident-facing proptech is deployed, it must also be incorporated within the existing resident app. Adding one-off apps erases the intended benefits of a comprehensive single-app system.
This makes integration capabilities vital to successful app development. As proptech providers update their products or partner with other industry vendors, the new functionality must be absorbed and included in one comprehensive resident app. It is imperative that operators seek this type of integration from any and all supplier partners.
In terms of resident experience, a single resident app that controls all aspects of the home environment is a significant differentiator. Renters coming from communities that use multiple apps with fragmented functionality immediately recognize the contrast.
In an era where convenience is king, consolidating resident apps for a more comprehensive user experience can enhance resident satisfaction and retention, and, ultimately, property performance.