Last modified on April 15th, 2021
By Brittany Benz
Why did you select your current community association management software? If the answer is because of the low price, then you may actually be paying more and losing out on vital opportunities. “Budget-friendly” software often comes with some unfortunate surprises. From disjointed point solutions to poor customer service and a lack of innovation, these are just a few of the ways low-cost softwares can cost your business in the long run.
But how do you know if you’re getting the most value from your software? Below we’ll take a deeper look into the difference between cost and value, and uncover some of the hidden costs of association management software you may not be aware of. Armed with these insights and learnings, you should be able to determine where your current software stands and if you should seriously consider making a switch.
Cost vs. Value
The first thing many businesses look at is price when it comes to choosing a new software, yet the numbers can be a distraction from finding out what the solution really offers. Going with the seemingly cheaper or more affordable option may seem like a great deal, however it sometimes has unwanted consequences.
When evaluating your current association management software it’s critical you examine every aspect of the product and the relationship. Is it easy to use? Does the design feel intuitive? Does it offer a comprehensive set of features that are built into the core functionality? Do you feel fully supported? Is it reliable? Can it adapt and grow with your business? Are you satisfied?
If you originally chose your software to cut costs, then you may have considered things like usability, intuitive design, on-going support, and innovation as ‘nice-to-haves,’ however without these things your ability to serve your customers and keep employees productive could be negatively impacted. As a rule of thumb, it’s always better to go with the software that provides the most value for your investment, rather than the software that has the lowest price tag.
3 Hidden Costs of Association Management Software
If when choosing your current software it felt “too good to be true,” then it’s likely it came with hidden costs. To find out if your software is costing you, be on the lookout for for the following:
1.) Point Solutions
How many extra solutions do you use to run your business? Point solutions are simply 3rd-party, add-on features that are not integrated with your software. Some examples of point solutions could be having separate tools to manage your accounting, communication, violations, maintenance, architectural reviews, mailing service, and calendar. The most important tools that you need to run your business should all be in the same platform. Using any point solutions that are not integrated with your other tools can lead to serious productivity disadvantages and cause major workflow blockers.
When evaluating your current software it’s important to examine which of these solutions are actually included. You also want to find out if they are costing your team more time. Consider asking these questions:
- If these crucial functions cost extra, how much does each tool cost per month? Per year?
- Does each one require a separate login?
- Are all of them mobile?
- Does your team have access to all of the features?
- How long does it take your team to complete workflows using each feature?
After you answer these questions, you’ll have a clearer, more holistic picture of what your software really offers and whether or not it’s costing you more.
2.) A Poor Homeowner Experience
Another aspect that often gets overlooked when association management businesses are choosing new software is the customer experience. You’re so preoccupied with the bells and whistles and the price, that you completely forget about how your homeowners will interact with the software.
If your homeowners are not happy with their association’s technology, they will start looking for other management options. This is becoming even more apparent as the next generation of tech-savvy homeowners has started to dominate the market.
The best software is one that enables you to exceed and anticipate the needs of your homeowners by providing an intuitive, seamless user experience with modern, mobile tools. Here are a few questions you can ask to determine whether or not your software has a good customer experience:
- Does the software make life easier for your homeowners?
- Can board members and homeowners easily complete tasks from anywhere through an app?
- Can homeowners easily communicate via text message right in their online portal?
- Are all communications and documents accessible in the same place?
- Can homeowners self-serve with online payments, architectural requests, and communal maintenance requests?
- Is everything your homeowners need accessible from one place?
3.) Lack of Ongoing Support
Customer support is everything when it comes to onboarding with a new software, yet for many businesses, support quickly drops off after implementation is complete.
Without dedicated, ongoing support, an open feedback loop, and continual resources, your team may struggle with upgrades, adopting new features, or troubleshooting problems, all of which can cost your business and stunt growth. Make sure your software is a technology partner who is with you for the long haul. If they don’t currently value customer support or your feedback, then it may be time to look for a provider who does.
Now that you’re aware of some of the hidden costs of association management software and how to determine if you’re getting the most value, you should be able to confidently evaluate whether or not your current software is truly going to help your business succeed. If you’re still not sure whether or not you need to switch to new software, complete the exercises in this guide to assess your current solution so you can uncover any hidden inefficiencies and develop a plan of action.