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User Forums:
The Modern Day Salons for Property Managers

Remember the times when great minds would get together in the homes of ancient Greece Athenians or European salons to discuss politics, art or philosophy? Well, perhaps it’s a bit before our time, but that fervent exchange of ideas defined eras and revolutionized civilizations. That type of meeting of minds still takes place and helps educate and shape communities and countries.

It even happens in my mother’s small hometown, where people meet in the town square to talk about current events, or ask for help. One may be having issues with their car’s distributor cap because of the high humidity, and someone will pop up and provide a solution. Then, that solution becomes part of the collective knowledge. It is also in these environments that great ideas are born.

Nowadays, we definitely spend more time behind a computer screen than in the “town square”, yet we seem to have perfected the practice of idea exchange. I have been amazed by the volume of posts made in AppFolio’s User Forum since it was launched (shout-out to Jennifer who has 418 posts to date!), and it’s great to see that the sense of community has not diminished in these cyber times.

An example is a question posted by a forum member who wanted to get some feedback from other members on Tenant ACH. Immediately, there were a few AppFolio users who responded and made themselves available to talk about the feature and how it made a difference in their business. If you browse through other posts you can also find creative ideas shared by users on how to get more tenants to pay online.

The forum is not only a great place to share ideas on industry practices or process improvements, but it can also be used as a help tool. Even as a Client Relationship Manager I dip into this well of knowledge from time-to-time to answer clients’ questions.

“Oh! You are having trouble with PDF letters from AppFolio and the characters appear jumbled?” Let me type the word “pdf problem” in the forum search and see what comes up.

And voila’! After browsing through some results, I find a question describing a similar problem. Looks like another user had the same problem, and downloading FoxIt resolved it. It turns out, the same solution worked for the client I had spoken to.

The forum is organized in 6 categories: Feature Discussions, Tips & Tricks, Accountants Only, Website Design, Bugs and General Property Management. You can browse through each category and find useful information, opinions, or inspiration to come up with your own ideas on how to improve your business.

The best part is that even our product development team is actively involved in the conversations that happen in the forum. So, don’t be surprised if an idea brought up and discussed in the forum is developed into a new feature in AppFolio.

We even had a customer post a very funny video she created, “I would like to rent a house”.

The forum is designed to facilitate collaboration among Property Managers and it provides an opportunity to address needs that go beyond the software and its functionality. After all, there is way more that Property Managers deal with on a day-to-day basis on top of tracking tenants, accounting, marketing.

In his article a few weeks ago our CTO, Jon Walker, proposed a challenge: for you to organize a team building activity in your office. This week, I want to extend a new one that hopefully will have as much of a positive impact on your business as Jon’s – take some time to visit the AppFolio user forum, chime in or post a question, and contribute to keeping the Property Management community vibrant.

To become a member of the User Forum, just click on the “Forum” link on the top right corner of your AppFolio database and follow instructions.

Also, let’s not forget, face-to-face interactions, hand shakes, and sharing of a laugh are still invaluable, so make sure you look out for AppFolio meet-ups that may be happening in your area, and we’ll see you there!