8B — January 30 - February 12, 2015 — Owners, Developers & Managers — M id A tlantic

Real Estate Journal


B uilding S ervices & S uppliers By Michael Mullin, Integrated Business Systems Leveraging technology as a multifamily customer service tool


ily owners are starting to customize their online work order and payment portals with information pertinent to their individual communi- ties and residents, in order to enhance a sense of com- munity and loyalty. This may include adding a town events calendar and discount coupons from local vendors; offering the ability to make online reservations for com- munity lounges, and game and theater rooms; incorpo- rating a guest book feature; publishing newsletters and announcements; and provid-

ing package tracking and notification service. Land- lords can elevate the sense of “ownership” at their proper- ties by engaging residents in the process of adding and ad- ministering certain features. Interest groups and social profiles can help connect two people who are looking, for example, for tennis partners. They can advertise property events and club meetings. Some portals even allow chat capabilities among tenants. Mobile applications – Mobile websites and guest cards are great illustrations of how tablets and other devices can provide notable operational and marketing benefits. The first enables easy, instant access to cur- rent property information via a tablet computer – in- cluding unit availability and pricing, selling features like closet size, and upgrades such as stainless appliances and renovated bathrooms. And, as a salesperson walks a property with a potential resident, he or she can use an electronic guest card to capture customer informa- tion. This data can then be transferred directly to the company’s property man- agement system, enabling marketing staff to spend less time at their desks and more time engaging their customers. Today’s rapidly changing technology landscape pro- vides an opportune time to consider features, like these, that can be incorporated into a multifamily enterprise technology system. The end result can bring not only efficiencies that improve bottom-line results but new ways for companies to dis- tinguish themselves from a customer service standpoint. Michael Mullin is the president of Integrated Business Systems. His real estate technology career spans nearly three decades, during which he consistently has de- livered positive business outcomes for his clients, leveraging technology to improve operating results. In 2010, Mullin joined IBS, a boutique firm that develops and supports high-quality enterprise property man- agement and accounting software. n

i s cuss i ons about technology in the multifamily sector

operators as they work to improve customer service in today’s competitive rent- al market. Interestingly, a number of popular technol- ogy initiatives can foster both cost-saving efficiencies and improved client relations. Consider the following. Online work orders and payments – Programs that enable residents to enter work orders and pay bills on- line via an ACH withdrawal or credit card provide great advantages. Money comes in online and is routed elec- tronically, and these pay-

ments automatically update the ledger and statements via a company’s enterprise accounting system. Or, if someone submits a work or- der, it will route to the appro- priate person. Residents can check on the progress, and once their job is completed they receive an automated notification. Nobody has to touch anything from the op- erational side, which can cut down processing expenses significantly, and tenants appreciate the convenience. Enhanced web portals – Today, savvy multifam-

often revolve around le- v e r a g i n g products to create oper- ational effi- ciencies. Re- cently, the f o c u s ha s sh i f t ed t o

Michael Mullin

the critical areas of market- ing and resident retention. Several advancements are bringing immeasurable ben- efits to multifamily owners/

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