Want to Increase Lease Applications By 20%? Embrace a Philosophy of Growth
Fragmented silos of leasing information and software have you searching through piles of paper and disparate systems? See how PEM Real Estate Group streamlined our processes and fueled growth with the same technology.
At PEM we have about 7,500 multi-family units in communities all over the nation which predominantly consist of conventional units, but if it makes sense, we’re not afraid to take on any new venture and this also holds true when it comes to technology.
During my 14 years in the multi-family sector I’ve seen the industry go through a myriad of changes. To increase our efficiency and maximize employee productivity, and more importantly, to stay competitive, five years ago I decided it was imperative for PEM to expand our current product suite and find a technology partner to reduce the friction in a few of our processes. Like many property management groups, we were frustrated with our fragmented leasing system and cumbersome paper forms. Our site teams, and customers, did not have the technology tools they needed to be able to seamlessly apply for an apartment, e-sign their lease, and pay their move-in fees all from the comfort of their home or mobile device. Today the ability to do these things are a necessity, not an amenity.
After researching several different product suites I decided to expand our current offering with
On-Site, as they had recently improved their products to offer the very features I was searching for in an easy-to-use user interface, it appeared to be a perfect fit.
Once we implemented On-Site, we were not disappointed. By simply giving our prospects the ability to apply online, we saw a 20 percent increase in applications. From there, we kept going. Now, besides making sure our prospects can apply for an apartment and e-sign a lease—all without having to visit one of our communities—On-Site offers robust software that goes beyond transitioning a prospect to a resident.
Through their Resident Passport our customers can submit service requests, track statuses, and have an easy, online payment option. These self-service options greatly reduce administrative strain while empowering residents to better manage their living experience from the comfort of their own home.
When Is the Right Time to Grow?
Technology is to growth as timing is to innovation. The hardest challenge I face is deciding when to implement new technology. A classic example is that while Kodak invented a digital camera in 1975, by the time they embraced digital it was too late. Growth is critical—so is keeping up with it.
A hard question many professionals in our industry must deal with is multi-stack versus single-stack. For those who go with single-stack, integration is fluid and the consolidation of products produces a seamless experience, but often this means sacrificing your desire for a best-in-class product. However, if your choice is multi-stack there is an increased risk of integration issues.
On-Site embraces a hybrid philosophy and it is where their value becomes crystal clear. With On-Site, PEM can adopt best-in-class products without sacrificing synergy between our primary operating software. What impact does that have on the day-to-day? By seamlessly integrating with Yardi, On-Site significantly streamlines our leasing workflow. In addition, although we use a different vendor for payment processing, On-Site’s partnerships feed the data into our systems, creating an efficient handoff of information throughout the process.
Why Choose a Partner Rather than a Product?
When considering a new software, I believe it is critical to not only evaluate potential vendors on the basis of their product, but also assess their readiness to listen, adapt to unique use cases, and more so, become an integral partner in success. During my evaluation of On-Site, and throughout our subsequent adoption, I’ve found them to be that partner.
For example, recently PEM was looking for a way to create visibility on our property's digital footprint from a more systematic approach. To help us manage our first impression, we turned to On-Site’s Reputation Scout. It is a single dashboard that works as an aggregator to direct us on all our online data; it allows us to look at reviews, chatter, and our listings.
The problem, however, was that we were inundated with irrelevant content. The system was collecting data around the broad terms and lacked the fine tuning capabilities to filter the noise from our feed.
We wanted to address this concern with On-Site so they had a product manager listen to our feedback about the new technology. They graciously listened as we outlined our concerns with the current feed filtering without once becoming defensive or placating. Within a very short time period they had a fix in place and even took extra steps to implement other ideas they heard in the conversation.
Now, we have a dashboard where the overarching visibility creates an opportunity to take action where it is most needed, without having to scour the web for the data each time we want insight. While it will not actively fix a digital footprint problem, it does show us where we can be proactive and where to take action, which makes for a very valuable tool.
This openness to understand our business and then act to address any pain points speaks volumes to On-Site’s dedication to our success. Being a partner means taking on a fair amount of accountability, and with On-Site I have the confidence that no matter what obstacles we may face in the future, we will face them together.