Last modified on May 20th, 2022
By Brittany Benz
Ease-of-use, convenience, personalization… the things you remember and value when it comes to customer experiences are the same things your homeowners value — they are also the things that make your community association management business stand out from the competition.
However, not all homeowners feel their needs are being met when it comes to their community association management company. In fact, based on an AppFolio board member survey, only 23% of board members would recommend their current or most recent management company. Interestingly, when we surveyed association management companies, they listed meeting customers’ needs and expectations as one of their top business challenges.
Meeting customer expectations isn’t always easy, but it can pay dividends if it’s done correctly. When homeowners are happy with your management company, they are more likely to see the value you bring, and board members will be more likely to support staying with your management company. But how do you know how to make homeowners happy if you don’t know what they want? Below are the three things homeowners need from their association management company:
1.) The ability to complete tasks on their own
Homeowners want to be able to pay their dues, submit architectural requests digitally, and more without having to come into the office, call, or fill out printed paperwork. In their minds, interacting with their management company should match other on-demand experiences in their life like paying for a credit card online, using an app to call for a ride, or ordering groceries with the click of a button.
Some ways you can better meet this need is by offering self-service tools, such as online payments, architectural requests, and common area maintenance requests. By implementing these services, you can increase homeowner satisfaction and save your business a lot of time and money, which can lead to increased performance.
2.) Access to information from anywhere
In today’s on-demand world, consumers can access information instantly with their phones wherever they are. Homeowners want to be able to do the same to get important information from their community association, such as the status of an architectural request, announcements for community events, and updates.
To provide this, you can adopt a mobile association management system with a single system of record for all association-related information. With a built-in online portal, your team can share important documents and association happenings via a community calendar, updates, and more. When homeowners can access information freely, they will be more trusting of your management company due to the greater visibility an online portal provides.
Additionally, your team will be more organized and efficient since everything is in one place. For instance, with the new AppFolio Home Sale Docs Integration in partnership with CondoCerts and HomeWise Docs, you can easily check and share key home sales document data between AppFolio and your Home Sale Docs partner. By automating the workflow, you can remove the time-consuming, error-prone task of manually entering home sales information and give your team more time to focus on providing better service to your homeowners.
3.) To communicate via text or email
Most people today are accustomed to communicating through text message or email. It’s fast, efficient, and flexible. Homeowners want to be able to contact and communicate with their association management company in the same manner.
Utilizing software with built-in texting and emailing capabilities can help you meet this expectation and stay connected to homeowners around the clock. Through bulk texting and emailing, you can communicate en masse, so no one misses an important update. Along with adopting technology to facilitate quick and easy communication, you could even send out a biweekly newsletter to keep homeowners in the loop for events, amenity sign-ups, and more. With these kinds of communication tools, you’ll be able to increase transparency, save time with one-off conversations, and increase resident satisfaction, all of which help you to retain your associations.
Homeowners’ expectations have changed. They now expect to be able to access information from anywhere, communicate instantly, and complete tasks on their own time when it comes to their community association. The best way to meet these expectations, keep satisfaction high, and retain your associations is to leverage technology to fill in any gaps you may have. If adopting technology isn’t on your priority list, then you might want to reconsider. Based on the AppFolio survey, more than half (72%) of board members said a lack of access to online tools would influence their decision when choosing a new management company.
A single association management solution that has everything you need — from self-service features to mobile communication capabilities — can ensure you don’t just meet your homeowners’ needs but exceed them. It can also give you more space to provide top-notch, personalized service. To learn more about how you can better serve the associations you manage, check out this article: Transcending the Notion of Service in Association Management.
Comments by Brittany Benz