Last modified on April 8th, 2021
By Brittany Benz
The relationship you have with your property management software provider plays a key role when it comes to growing your business, adapting to change, and staying successful. If you have a strong partnership, then it’s easier to overcome challenges and stay resilient, even in the most unpredictable times. However, if the relationship you have with your software provider is lacking any area or doesn’t provide the level of support you need, then it can quickly erode the integrity and confidence of your team and business.
Whether you’re considering switching to new software or are looking for a technology partner for the first time, it’s important to make sure you are asking the right questions and taking a methodical approach to your evaluation. Read on to discover the top four things you should look out for when choosing a property management software.
1.) Ease of Use
One of the most common complaints property managers have about their software is that it’s too complicated to use or has a clunky, disjointed user experience. When a system is not intuitive and difficult to understand, you and your team end up spending more time working through basic tasks and onboarding new hires, which increases frustration and decreases productivity.
All of this can be avoided if you choose a technology partner that prioritizes design and usability. When a software has intuitive, responsive design it benefits your team and customers in that you have more seamless handoffs and efficient onboarding and workflow processes, and less confusion and human error.
Whether or not a software is easy to use will be immediately apparent at the first touch point — which is why it’s critical to get a hands-on experience with the software provider you’re considering before making a final decision. An easy way to do this is to ask for a demo or for someone to walk you through the product — both on mobile and desktop — so you can see how it works for yourself.
2.) Dedicated, Ongoing Support
Support is another big factor you should be analyzing in your search for a new technology partner. Some software providers will leave you on your own and move onto the next customer after your data is uploaded. Without dedicated, ongoing support, your business will not only struggle with onboarding, but will also find it harder to navigate changes or issues that arise, which can lead to inconsistencies, reduced employee productivity, and a lack of growth. It’s also important to make sure the software offers ongoing support from a single platform and not from point solutions or 3rd-party providers, which can lead to a disjointed experience.
Having a safety net of support, whether that’s live or recorded training sessions, regular check-ins, documentation, forums, customer events, or an on-call team of product experts, is vital for the longevity of your business. With a dedicated technology partner you have these kinds of support resources not just during your initial implementation stage, but at your disposal 24/7.
When your team feels fully supported and heard, they’ll be more satisfied and productive, which makes it easier for your business to grow and adapt. In evaluating a property management software be sure to ask them what types of ongoing support and materials they offer, and how their approach to customer service differs.
3.) Passion for Innovation
As the real estate industry transforms and evolves, so do the needs of your business and customers, which is why your software’s approach to innovation matters. What separates a true technology partner from a vendor is how they think ahead and innovate for the future. However, it’s not always easy to tell on the surface whether a software provider is truly forward-thinking or not. Here are some of the things you can ask to help narrow down the search:
- Do they keep up with the latest trends and technologies and inform customers of new developments?
- Are they regularly hosting or participating in events or conferences that are focused on the future of property management?
- Do they openly and honestly ask customers for product feedback? Do they keep customers updated on how they implemented their feedback?
- What are their latest innovations and how are they meeting the industry’s current needs?
A technology partner who has a passion for innovation should be able to answer all of these questions with ease. At the end of the day, they should want their software to incorporate the best new innovations or technologies available, and be committed to keeping your business at the forefront of the industry transformation.
4.) Value Over Cost
Lastly, it’s important not to look at cost as the single driving factor when you’re choosing a property management software. Sure, it’s easy to compare numbers, however if you don’t examine the full picture of what a software offers, it could end up costing your business even more in the long run.
To make sure you’re getting the most value for the cost of a software you should take a deeper look into the types of robust, built-in features they offer, and find out how those features will scale with your business over time. Some providers may seem like they offer a lot of perks, however, once you read the fine print, you’ll realize such features cost extra or are not even available to your business. A way to get to the bottom of this before making a decision is to ask the software provider what is included in their basic tier and how will they accommodate your needs as your business grows.
Additionally, you should see what current customers are saying about their experience with the software. What are their paint points, if any? How are they using the features? Has the software helped their business grow? A software’s value can be quickly determined by those who actually use it day in and day out.
Once you have the full picture, it will be easier to weigh the pros and cons holistically to ensure if you’re getting the most value.
Invest in the success of your property management business by choosing a technology partner that is committed to your relationship for the long haul. Use the points listed above in your evaluations and don’t be afraid to ask detailed questions. The best software for your business is always the one that puts your needs first.
At AppFolio our customers are the heart of our organization. This guiding principle reflected in our intuitive design, our excitement for innovation, and our dedication to support. Our customers’ success is our success, and we make sure they use our software to its full potential. Here are are few their experiences in their own words:
“AppFolio keeps my business organized, which in turn allows me to scale much faster. The software is easy to use and the support service is incredible.” — Robby Jones, Real Property Management Central Arkansas, 330+ Units
“I have increased my workflow by at least 35%. I’m getting more done now than when I worked 70 hours a week, so it’s been great for me and my family.” — Christine Willis, Martin Inc. Realtors, 350+ Units
“From leasing to accounts receivable to paying my owners with the click of a button — it doesn’t get any better than this!” — Luther Ledic, Rocket Realty and Property Management, 200+ Units
If you’re interested in hearing more about AppFolio, and how our approach to customer service, innovation, and usability differs, we’d love to tell you more. Sign up for a customized demo here.