Resident receiving a message on multiple devices from an HOA communication tool

Pilera’s HOA Communication Tool vs Generic Communication Tools: Which one’s right for you?

Improving outreach to your community residents has been a constant goal and now, you’ve made a decision to use a communication tool to automate the process. Keeping in touch with your residents means sending regular community updates and oftentimes, time-sensitive information. A reliable solution to send your messages quickly to the right people at the right time is vital.  With many communication tools available in the market, where do you start?

Communication Platform Types and Features

Upon researching the web, you find that there are a few different types of communication tools to choose from:

  1. Generic mass communication tools such as Onsolve providing phone, email and text but service a large number of industries. These include nonprofits, government, education, healthcare, and others.
  2. Email marketing tools that focus mostly on features to grow your business, such as Active Campaign, Constant Contact, or Campaign Monitor. These platforms also service a large number of industries.
  3. HOA communication tools are built specifically for associations and management companies. These platforms include our own solution Pilera, as well as other competitive products such as Comweb and Frontsteps.

While you were doing your research, you probably noticed that generic communication, email marketing, and HOA communication tools, at their core, have many similar features:

  • Contact lists
  • One or more ways to send messages
  • Company branding
  • Segmentation
  • Message delivery analytics.

The main difference is in how Pilera’s HOA communications tool will help you achieve a greater return on investment, save your staff time, and gain peace of mind. Read along and let us walk you through how! 

Pilera’s HOA Communication Tool vs Generic Communication Tools

Language translation

With diverse communities comes a need to communicate in a way that is most effective for the resident.  Are you able to translate your email and text messages to other languages to meet your resident’s needs?  Many generic communication providers can translate emails and text into 20 languages, but you may find the need to expand on those capabilities.  An HOA tool such as Pilera can translate email and text to more than 100 languages. Additionally, Pilera can translate phone calls into Spanish.    

Segmentation: Street, building, floor, unit, and user type

Community managers track data on a unit level to stay organized and efficient.  Since generic communication platforms cater to the needs of many industries at the same time, they deliver messages only at a person-level.  This means that they can’t easily accommodate segmenting your communications by an entire street, a building, or unit without you spending enormous time and effort.  HOA communication tools are designed to segment your list and send messages at a unit level.  Most other HOA technology providers aren’t able to segment lists at a person and unit level at the same time.  Through Pilera’s distribution groups feature, you can create any combination of unit and people-based groups to send messages. You can also segment your communications further by filtering the user type. This means that you can send messages to board members, tenants, owners, and other occupants in the system.

Automated list maintenance 

Managing move-outs and move-ins is vital to make sure the right people are notified.  Associations could face legal liability if a homeowner decides to sue because they are constantly receiving messages despite not being a part of the community anymore. However, the removal of people from lists is often a manual and cumbersome process when using a generic communication system. After removing the previous resident and adding the new one in, you then must make adjustments to every list the previous resident was a part of, manually.  With Pilera’s HOA communication tool, managing your list is a painless process.  After adding the new resident to the unit, they are instantly added to any list they are a part of. The previous resident is automatically removed from the list, so you don’t have to worry about accidentally messaging them.  Most other HOA platforms don’t automate list maintenance.  

Built-in fault protection and increased delivery rate

During emergencies, it’s vital to get your message out quickly to keep your residents safe and informed.  Other generic communication platforms provide emergency messaging but what if the power is down and cellular service is low?  Pilera takes the delivery of your messages seriously.  We’ve built-in fault protection into the system which means that we make multiple attempts to get your message through.  

Speed & reliability

When you need to send out a time-sensitive message, such as during an emergency, the speed and reliability of your messaging platform are key. It’s critical that your messages are sent timely and accurately. As you evaluate communication software, ask the providers what protocols or best practices they have in place to send your messages quickly and reliably. Pilera’s communication platform is built on one of the most advanced server technologies, Amazon Web Services (AWS). This means you can send messages to hundreds of residents in Pilera within just a few minutes. Other providers in the HOA industry or the generic communication market are using their own servers to send out messages. This means there’s a greater chance for lag and managers experience delays to the tune of hours.

No email send limits

Generic email marketing tools or email providers often place daily or monthly email restrictions. Depending on the email client you or another service provider uses, managers can send only 500 to 2,000 emails per day. While the send limit may be sufficient enough for self-managed associations, they are restrictive for management companies. Management companies handling over a thousand units need to send emails to multiple communities or their entire portfolio, so these restrictions decrease productivity significantly. These email caps can also be very restrictive in a situation where a management company needs to send time-sensitive information or emergency messages to their residents. With Pilera’s communication tool, there are no limitations on the number of emails that you can send. You can also send an email message to your entire portfolio or multiple communities at once, increasing your team’s productivity.

One HOA management tool vs Multiple, Disparate Systems 

HOA communication tools are a component of property management software, which consists of multiple, integrated features to manage your operations. Generic communication platforms do not integrate with accounting software or any resident database software in the industry.  Going with a generic communication tool means that your staff is working off of multiple, disparate applications to manage other community tasks such as maintenance, customer support, architectural requests, violations, document management, events, and dues payments.  A complete HOA management tool helps to unify your entire organization under a single platform. It’s a single shared resource for your staff members to log in and handle various facets of community management. This means that as a community manager, you don’t need to ask your marketing staff about messages they’ve sent as you would have otherwise in a generic communication platform.    

Consider the following ways to increase the productivity of your staff with one integrated community management solution in Pilera:  

Save time with Pilera’s HOA communication tool

With a variety of options at your disposal, it’s important to know which tools will help you get the most out of your investment. While generic mass communication and email marketing tools have a variety of features, their systems can’t easily segment your list by location-level automatically.  They also miss out on allowing unlimited emails and speed while sending a large number of messages. An HOA tool like Pilera has locations built into the system so that you can communicate at a street, building, floor, or unit level easily.  Additionally, since an HOA communication tool is part of management software, there’s an additional benefit of organizing all of your community’s work in one platform. Would you like to learn more about how Pilera can help you automate communications and save your staff time?  Contact us to learn more or sign up for a personalized demo.