Maximizing Maintenance: How to Boost Productivity and Renter Satisfaction (Webinar Recap)

Last modified on June 17th, 2024
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Productivity can be a challenge for maintenance teams of all sizes, but especially in organizations with expanding portfolios. Even when facing busy schedules and growing demands, it is helpful to pause and consider modern-day property management maintenance trends, tips, and technology. 

AppFolio recently hosted a webinar on these very topics. This overview can help you and your teams self-evaluate and address areas where your company could make improvements. Your business may benefit from updated property management maintenance technology

Presenters Kelly Dean, AppFolio Staff Product Manager, and Daniel Teague, AppFolio Senior Director, Product Management – Maintenance, shared insights, helpful visuals, and their thoughts on boosting maintenance team productivity and renter satisfaction with the rightsized property management technology. They also fielded questions and shared prediction teasers on upcoming AI tools

Read on for the webinar recap. This information is especially useful for large property management companies, whether you are assigning maintenance tasks to several external vendors or internal team members. 

Property Management Maintenance Trends

Kelly has over four years of experience working on maintenance features and is passionate about building products that make the lives of property managers and maintenance teams easier. 

Daniel focuses on improving resident health and happiness through more efficient and well-maintained properties while developing features that customers will love. 

Together, they shared some property management maintenance trends they’ve noticed lately, which included: 

  • Top challenges among property managers continue to include hiring and retaining talent, maximizing revenue and profitability, and improving operational efficiency. 

    “Operational efficiency and maintenance go hand in hand. We’ve seen some interesting trends in our data on how customers are tackling this from a business model perspective.” — Daniel Teague 

  • Many property management companies are bringing maintenance in-house. In fact, in-house maintenance was the fastest-growing model identified in their recent research data.

    “One of the key factors for starting an in-house maintenance business is generating an additional revenue source … along with a lot more control.” — Kelly Dean 

  • There’s a significant amount of conversation about AI and how it’ll be used in the future.

    “This industry is moving very fast, and AI is going to be able to do more and more complex things over the next couple of years … these things are going to be the competitive advantage for maintenance organizations of the future.” — Daniel Teague 

Optimizing Resident Maintenance Requests

Kelly and Daniel discussed best practices, demonstrated AppFolio software, and described useful tools for smart property management maintenance. In the webinar, they also identified four areas most suited for making improvements to resident maintenance requests: 

Scheduling

  • Expedite the time it takes to get work done — and reduce scheduling friction and frustrations — with automated software and AI suggestions.

Vendor Coordination

  • Make it easier for vendors to work with you by:
  • Providing a centralized place for work orders 
  • Automating work order activity
  • Improving communication between staff, vendors, and residents
  • Enabling a fully mobile experience so vendors can make updates on-the-go

Resident Surveys

  • Keep a pulse on resident satisfaction with automated maintenance surveys. 
  • They’re a great way to obtain greater visibility into your resident experience, prompt positive online reviews, and mitigate reputation management issues. 

Billing

Finding a software provider that makes it easy to manage maintenance billing is critical. Solutions available nowadays include: 

  • Automated work orders
  • The use of AI for scanning vendor invoices
  • Automated bill population from vendor invoices 
  • Personalized bill queues 
  • Default hourly rates for labor by different skills
  • Billable item templates
  • The ability to export invoice PDFs with customized company branding 

Reporting and Performance Optimization

The future of property management software will require easy-to-use tools that help property management teams do their jobs, including the shift from manual to automated reporting and performance tracking.

A maintenance metrics dashboard helps your business more easily view and manage important key performance indicators by category, such as average time for work orders, top maintenance issues, and budget tracking. 

The results speak for themselves, especially when easier and faster to calculate. 

For example, here are some results some of the most satisfied customers that use AppFolio Smart Maintenance shared: 

  • 84% approximate that smart AppFolio Maintenance Solution products and services saved them at least five hours per week. 
  • Two in five say AppFolio enabled a 50%+ increase in staff productivity. 
  • Nearly three-quarters said they’ve decreased operating expenses by at least 16%. 

“Many organizations still run maintenance on a clipboard or on the wall or on paper. With where the future of property management software is going, you need to think about how you are going to get technology adoption from your team. That includes having tools that are easy to use, tools that will help them do their job instead of just causing pain. That’s how you’ll unlock data and insights.” — Daniel Teague

The Future of AI Tools for Powering Property Management Maintenance

Catching up with today’s smart technology and automated software tools is already a necessity for the success of modern-day maintenance teams. But what about future technology? Daniel also shared his predictions, POV, and sneak peeks at what tomorrow’s AI tools promise to bring to the field of property management maintenance. 

The powerful benefits of potential AI solutions in development include: 

  • Handling inbound maintenance requests 
  • Helping to write emails and make communications faster and easier 
  • Offering powerful analytics and predictive capabilities based on data in your system 
  • Easing training for new staff by allowing team members to ask questions
  • Providing suggestions on how to respond to common requests 
  • Automating the scheduling of vendors for unit cleaning, painting, and other regular maintenance tasks 
  • Simplifying and codifying workflows 

“AI technology is powering our Resident Portal … The system asks the right questions to help reduce back and forth.” — Kelly Dean  

This is all thanks to what Daniel referred to as the 6 “superpowers” of artificial intelligence:

  • AI is operational 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. 
  • AI can follow instructions precisely. 
  • AI has fast processing speeds. 
  • AI doesn’t get tired, distracted, or overwhelmed. 
  • AI can handle language translation and clarifications. 
  • AI masters the art and science of pattern recognition. 

Interested in learning more? Schedule a demo to see what AppFolio Property Manager can do to maximize your organization’s maintenance teams and tasks. 

Download our free property management maintenance guide below for more ways to streamline and optimize your organization. 

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