By Tara Gibson - December 1, 2020
It’s no secret that the coronavirus pandemic has turned people’s lives upside-down. Businesses are closing, communities are struggling and cases across the United States are continuing to rise. The need to clearly communicate and connect has become paramount as questions and concerns from individuals mount. There are several challenges property management organizations are facing amid this turbulent time as their essential on-site roles have had to adapt through the use of technology.
Financially, the property management industry has taken a hit. Many tenants are unable to pay their rents unfortunately causing instances of debt collection, eviction moratoriums and the creation of payment plans for those experiencing financial hardship, according to the National Apartment Association.
The pandemic has sent many people home across the board in businesses, schools and higher education, including those working in property management. What used to be an extremely interactive role has now become an entirely virtual experience. Property managers often made rounds to their buildings, checking in with tenants and keeping up a good rapport. Now that property managers are no longer on-site, resident concerns around a perceived lack of oversight have sprung up.
Customer experience is extremely important in the property management field, which is why many are turning to mass communication and collaboration technologies to ensure their communities are always up-to-date and are receiving consistent messaging throughout the pandemic.
Trinity Management LLC manages multiple properties throughout New England including the Roxbury Tenants of Harvard community in Boston, Massachusetts. This community consists of 789 units of affordable housing across five multistory buildings as well as 321 multi-family homes in the heart of Boston.
This community is very large covering many locations and individuals living in these homes and apartments. The Director of Security for Trinity Management, Luis Muñoz, found that he needed an effective way to reach his community.
“We’re very large, and we’re smack in the middle of the city,” Muñoz said. “We’re right next to hospitals and the busiest areas of the city. If anything happens in the area, there’s a high likelihood that it may affect our residents.”
One big concern and challenge Trinity Management faced was communicating with residents who speak different languages including Spanish, Chinese, and Russian. Reaching these non-English speaking residents became more difficult, which was a huge problem as the messaging sent out to residents was and remains critical for their safety.
“We knew our residents would require important information over a long period of time,” said Muñoz. “But we needed the ability to translate communication to them without it being a complicated process.”
As mentioned, Muñoz was looking for a solution that could reach a large community and be able to instantly translate messages. He also needed an effective way to target specific messaging and notifications for the different buildings within his large community.
With a comprehensive mass notification and collaboration solution, residents are easily able to share their preferred language when signing up and providing their contact information. When administrators go to send out an alert, they can indicate which residents should receive an alert in the language they selected.
Muñoz also found that with this solution he could notify targeted buildings and leverage the mass notifications for non-emergencies and less urgent communications. For example, he could easily send a message to one building to notify residents that they would be losing electricity for a certain period of time. Prior to having a comprehensive mass notification platform, Muñoz and his team would have to share this kind of information manually by sliding printouts under each door which was an extremely timely task.
Luckily, Trinity Management LLC implemented mass notification in-time for the COVID-19 pandemic. Muñoz utilized mass notification to segment contact lists and schedule alerts to residents building by building, allowing them to sign up for available time-slots to get tested for the coronavirus.
“Communicating this to residents through Rave has made it easier for them to find out what’s going on,” Muñoz said. “We’re using it to communicate everything, from food distribution, to announcements about road closures and construction, to sharing health notifications from the public school system.”
Not only are the notifications helpful, but robust reporting gives Muñoz and his team a good idea of how to improve the delivery and performance of their mass alerts. They’ve also seen a decrease in calls to their security desk with questions due to residents being better informed.
Tara is a Marketing Coordinator on the Rave Mobile Safety marketing team. She loves writing about all things K-12, State & Local, Higher Ed, Corporate, and Healthcare, and manages the Rave social media channels. When she's not working, she's taking care of her smiley, shoe eating, Instagram-famous fur baby, Enzo!
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