Resident engagement is crucial to any HOA, condo or apartment’s management operations. In a recent poll we conducted, residents stated how easy it is to get information online and liked that they could get useful information about their community, but wish their managers would update information more regularly. The more informed a resident is, the more likely they are to engage in the community and be even more invested! In turn, a high resident engagement rate contributes to a better-run community. Pilera’s web portal offers many ways to increase resident engagement in their community through communications, documents, events, and more. In this month’s Manager Toolkit, we share 8 specific ways in which you can inform, engage, and delight residents!
1) Communicate frequently with your residents
Staying in touch with your community is one of the most essential ways to establish trust and increase resident participation. Keeping your residents abreast of what is occurring in the community is key. Some examples of announcements that you can send to your residents include maintenance work that may affect them, important changes to the community that impacts them, or other general announcements. Through Pilera, you can schedule announcements, messages, and documents to be sent out to your residents. You can also segment the announcement by the type of resident (owner, tenant, and other-occupant), street, building, floor, or unit to make your communications more targeted and relevant.
2) Let residents submit work orders & notify them of the progress
Residents need to get in touch with management easily and quickly if they have a maintenance request and the easiest way to do that is to let them submit work order requests themselves. Residents can add a description, photos of the issue, and inform management whether they want to be at their home when maintenance personnel arrives. Once you receive the resident’s work order, keep them informed of the status. Here are a few tips in Pilera on how to handle work order tickets from start to finish, keeping your staff and residents in the loop:
- If there is a common response that you send to residents once they’ve submitted a ticket, that calls for a template! In the Settings, simply navigate to Templates and click on “Work Order Comments” to create predetermined comments your staff can use.
- If the work order was generated from a phone call or email you received from the resident and you’ve entered in the work order in Pilera, you can use occupant permissions to let the resident either view, edit, or comment on the work order.
- Use the status to move the ticket through each stage and keep your residents in the know. You can choose to send email notifications to the resident each time you update the status or add a comment.
3) Add documents to the library
Are your residents searching for the latest newsletter or board meeting minutes? Direct them to the document library. A document library is an incredibly helpful tool for your residents to stay updated about the community. It’s also a great way in which you can convert unhappy or unengaged residents to more informed residents. Through Pilera’s document library, you can organize files using folders and subfolders, send documents via email, and set permissions for folders based on the type of resident (owner, tenant, other-occupant, or board member). Some examples of document folders that you can implement in your community’s document library are board meeting minutes, emergency procedures, and more.
4) Provide 24×7 access to an online help center
Are your residents constantly calling the management office to ask about guest pet policies or how to access amenities? If they are, then an online help center can help you significantly to reduce calls to the office while helping residents to essentially help themselves get answers quickly. In Pilera’s knowledge base/help center, you can add topics across multiple communities and create tags for each article to improve searchability.
5) Allow residents to self-service themselves
The best way to keep resident data current is to allow residents to update their own information. Your data is then more accurate and current, allowing you to communicate with greater confidence. Residents can select their communication and language preference to receive communications the way they want. They can also update their contact information, alternate addresses, pets, insurance, vehicles, and other occupant’s information within the unit. If the resident is leasing out their units as short-term rentals, they can also add in that lease information.
6) Provide ways for residents to get in touch with you or important community personnel
It’s important for residents to have contact information at the tip of their fingers. In Pilera, you can add office hours, board member information, and community contacts. Keeping your office hours up to date helps to set expectations for your residents on when they can speak to someone or when they can expect to hear back from their manager. Office hours can be applied to multiple communities at once if they are consistent across the board to help you save time. Add board members and their titles to display in the portal so that residents will get to know their community leaders. Community contacts are individuals whom your residents may need to contact about a specific question or concern they may have. Community contacts may include property managers, help desk personnel, board members, maintenance and landscaping personnel.
7) Invite residents to community events
As a part of planning your community gathering or next board meeting, make sure to send an invitation out to your residents. In the Pilera portal, you can create an event, add a description and contact person, and choose to send an email notification to the community. You can also update your community calendar to display all upcoming events. Residents can log into the portal at any time and be in the know of upcoming events!
8) Let residents opt into the community directory
In bringing the community together, encourage friendship and constructive dialogue among neighbors. The community directory is a great way for residents to get information to connect to one another. In Pilera, residents can choose to share their address and contact information with the rest of the community, if they wish.
Through Pilera’s web portals, you’ll be able to provide your residents with all important community information in one central, secure platform. The effort of keeping your platform fresh with all the latest information has a high payoff in the future. Self-serving residents with the content they want access to on a frequent basis helps to keep them engaged and save time for your staff. A central platform with relevant information is an investment that pays off well for the future for the communities you manage as well as your organization as a whole.
Note: The images in this blog post have been updated to reflect our new mobile-responsive web portal experience.