2021 was a challenging year as managers worked tirelessly on customer retention and safe reopening of offices and community amenities. As we approach 2022, now is a great time for your HOA management company to set clear goals for the upcoming year. In this article, we’ll share 4 important goals to help your management company start off the year right. We also provide some insights on how technology can help achieve your goals.
1) Continue focusing on customer service improvements
The global pandemic has shifted focus back on customer service and how important it is to the success of any business. Customer service is tied to every aspect of your business from client retention to company growth.
Did you know that retaining a loyal HOA client is 5 times less expensive than acquiring a new one? Each client you retain allows you to allocate monetary resources to uplift other aspects of your business that you would have otherwise had to forgo if that client left. The better service you offer to your customers, the more likely they are to renew their contracts which increases your financial bottom line. The ability to deliver strong customer service can also be a differentiator for your company and help you gain new clients.
Now that you understand the critical role that customer service plays in your community management company, how do you prioritize this goal in 2022?
During the past two years, customer service operations have faced many challenges. Many companies have found it challenging to keep up with the high volume of requests as employees continue working from home or have a hybrid schedule. Customers have also reported longer wait times or having to contact customer support multiple times for the same issue. Communicating internally with employees and providing an easy way for residents to contact you can help achieve better results. Here’s what you can do to improve your customer service today:
- Provide a way for residents to get in touch with you and make sure they know what that outlet is, whether it is email, social media, or a resident portal.
- Set expectations on when your team will handle incoming customer requests, whether it is one or two business days.
- Communicate internally with your staff and divide each employee’s workload adequately. Use customer support software to manage resident requests from start to finish. Assign requests to staff members as they come in so nothing falls through the cracks. Through Pilera’s resident support management feature, managers can automatically send e-notifications to residents with updates. Each action taken on a customer support ticket is tracked so managers can see what was done.
Promote self-service so your customer service is “always-on”
Residents expect to receive instant information about their community as well as “always-on” support. However, when managers can’t always be there 24×7, a resident portal can serve as the community’s 24×7 information desk. When updated regularly, a resident portal can be a powerful tool to promote self-service within the community. Residents can look up their balances and make payments, view documents, learn about upcoming events, contact management, and more. A portal offers them the convenience of accessing community information on any device or location without needing to call the management office.
Regularly communicate with your residents
Communication is key for any customer service strategy to succeed. When frequent and timely, communicating can help establish trust and transparency with your community members. Things you should communicate with them about include safety issues or emergencies, maintenance, amenity policies, meetings, events, or other issues impacting the community.
2) Increase employee efficiency
Employee efficiency is key to every aspect of your business – employee retention, operations, customer service, and increasing revenue. When employees are productive as a team, it improves the work environment, leading to less churn. Many companies nationwide, including community management companies, are experiencing a rise in employee churn. This puts a lot of strain on current employees as they scramble to take on the tasks of those who left. This can result in employees becoming overwhelmed. Churn also strains the company’s financial resources because hiring and onboarding a new employee costs much more than retaining an existing one.
But that’s not all. Happier employees means happier customers. One of the most important reasons to invest in employee efficiency is that there’s a direct correlation between increased employee productivity and customer satisfaction. Employees who find value and meaning in their work are more likely to stay and increase their productivity, and this results in more satisfied customers.
Now that you understand the impact of employee efficiency on your business, how can you achieve this goal in 2022? The key is to give your employees the processes and tools to help them work smarter, not harder.
Improve internal communications
According to Firstup, 86% of corporate employees state that poor internal communication leads to failures in the workplace. It’s important to regularly communicate with your employees, whether it be through virtual meetings, chat, or email. Check in with your community managers and staff regularly on tasks they’re working on, have completed, and any issues they need help to resolve. Encourage two-way communication so that your employees are comfortable sharing their concerns and solutions.
Encourage your employees to get accredited
Industry certifications empower managers to be better equipped in handling various responsibilities for the communities they manage. When managers have the tools and resources to do their job, they’ll be more efficient and knowledgeable. Consider encouraging your employees to partake in Community Association Institute (CAI)’s CMCA, AMS, and PCAM courses for the community association industry.
Susan Hoffman, Managing Director of Professional Association Services, Inc. in California, says that education is one of her company’s most important goals. “We’re pursuing that through Community Association Institute and the minimum certification is the CMCA and about half of our managers are credentialed that way. We have a couple of people that have other credentials from other organizations. But we’re on a trajectory to get everybody certified and credentialed so that we have a lot more depth and experience. I’m a big proponent of education in the industry. I was a facilitator for the CAI for a number of years and it’s very important to me that managers are educated and they at least understand the framework and they know where to go or what resources to get when they need help with something.”
The right technology can help employees get work done smarter
Technology has become core to a company’s operations. However, employees may feel overwhelmed with the vast amounts of information and technology they are expected to deal with. In fact, RingCentral’s report states that 69% of employees lose 32 days a year toggling between multiple apps. Imagine having to log into separate applications to keep track of your tasks, communicate with your residents, upload community documents, work on maintenance requests, issue violations, or approve architectural requests. Thankfully, there are software solutions available that bring a community manager’s most vital tasks together.
Community management software such as Pilera’s enables your organization to streamline important tasks like communications, maintenance, customer service, online payments, and resident engagement. Multiple people in your organization can log into one platform and get visibility into each other’s tasks. This allows your staff to work together and smarter without constantly needing to ask for updates. For example, these key features in Pilera help increase employee efficiency:
- Automated email notifications when tickets are created and assigned keep the right people informed.
- Analytics reports give insights into which communities are creating the most amount of work, or which employees are overwhelmed.
- Dashboards show managers at a glance the tickets that are assigned to them by prioritiy, urgency, or age, so they can plan out their day accordingly.
3) Increase Revenue Streams
As many management companies focused on safe reopening and client retention in 2021, revenue goals remained on the backburner. In 2022, consider how you can take incremental steps toward the revenue goals you want to pursue.
When you increase revenue, you can improve profitability. Focusing on revenue growth enables your management company to gain more clients, grow your internal team, and offer better service.
You can combine one or more of the following growth strategies with your current offerings to improve profitability and reduce risk to your company.
Offer new services
One way to position your company for growth is to offer new complementary services to your existing clients for an additional cost. A great example is building an in-house maintenance team to offer home maintenance and improvement services to your residents.
Offer your existing services to an untapped market
A study by Bain & Company showed that businesses that moved into an adjacent market saw the most profitable growth. For example, if your company exclusively services single-family homes, you may consider aligning your services to condominiums, high-rise or luxury condos, or even apartments.
Many management companies operate within a specific city or multiple neighboring cities. One way to improve your company’s growth is to expand into an adjacent regional location. As you come up with your expansion plans, it’s important to evaluate the following:
- Existing regulations that your company will need to comply with in the region you’re interested in entering.
- How similar or different are the needs of communities in this new potenial city/state as compared to where you are currently operating?
- How easily can you adapt your business model to meet potential clients’ needs or succeed in the business environment?
- Existing competitor offerings – What can you offer that’s unique and isn’t offered by local competitors?
- Business relationships that you can create in the area to solidify your offerings such as availability of high quality contractors.
Whichever growth strategy you opt for, community management technology can help you scale. Pilera’s community management feature is an enterprise solution that makes it simple for managers to handle any type of community in their portfolio. Features such as unlimited staff users, cross-community search and dashboards, reports, and user roles all help to organize work, increase efficiency, and improve security as you grow your portfolio.
4) Reduce Costs
Driving costs down is crucial to improving your company’s growth. However, the challenge is to not compromise your company’s core values or the quality of the customer service you provide. Here are two major ways you can reduce costs:
Invest in community management software
Using the right software can help save money while automating many mundane tasks for your business. Pilera’s community management software helps you centralize vital community tasks such as communications, maintenance, customer service, document management, payment processing, event management, and much more in one place. Community management software reduces costs in many ways, here are just a few of them:
A) Reduce paper mailings
Automating phone, email, and text messages to notify residents can save thousands of dollars per year in paper mailings. Even sending electronic notices for maintenance, rule violations, ACRs, events, and documents through Pilera pay for itself.
B) Eliminate paperwork
Previously, managers would keep track of work orders, tasks, and resident data through handwritten notes. Switching to a community management platform like Pilera helps you declutter your office space and track tasks more easily.
C) Reduce hidden expenses
When you reduce time, you save money! A hidden expense such as an hour-long phone call with a resident that could have been resolved through a self-help portal is one such expense that many companies overlook. Technology can offload many tasks like communicating to your entire portfolio, notifying vendors, or providing a 24×7 help desk to residents.
Help your communities to reduce cost
In addition to helping your communities manage operations, it’s also important to help them save money. When you help your clients save money, you can save money too. Here are some ways to help your communities reduce costs:
A) Budget planning and monitoring
By this time, your communities will have already prepared their budgets for the upcoming year. However, it’s important to have a working budget the community can use to monitor income and expenses in real-time.
B) Preventative maintenance
Preventative maintenance is the action of regularly monitoring the condition of your community’s equipment and identifying issues early before it escalates into an emergency situation. While it reduces equipment replacement costs for your communities, it saves your staff time from unexpectedly having to go on-site to assess the situation. Many Pilera clients handle preventative maintenance by creating work orders, setting a due date and priority, and then assigning them to vendors or staff.
C) Reserves study
It’s vital that HOA’s conduct a reserves study to identify all the equipment in their communities and when they need to be repaired or completely replaced. This study helps the Board to identify how well prepared they are financially to take care of these repairs or replacements.
Summary of HOA management goals you should focus on in 2022
Set goals early for 2022 so that your management company can take action toward those goals and monitor them regularly. To take your company forward, focus on these four important goals:
- Improve customer service – Ingrain customer service in every part of your business. Respond to residents in a timely manner, promote self-service within the community, and communicate regularly with them. With the right technology, you can provide residents with a 24×7 information desk and make it easier for them to contact you with questions.
- Increase employee efficiency – Create processes and give your employees the tools to help them work smarter and be more productive. Improve internal communications with regular check ins to make sure your employees feel valued and get the assistance they need. Encourage employees to get accredited in community management so they can solve everyday challenges more easily. Finally, provide employees with a tool that centalizes all of their important tasks. Community management software platforms consolidate all important tasks in one place.
- Increase revenue – To generate additional income, consider providing new complementary services to your existing clientele, serving a new market, or expanding to a new geographic location. Community management software such as Pilera’s helps you scale no matter which avenue you choose.
- Reduce costs – Manage your costs more effectively without compromising on quality is something that many businesses struggle with. Start by helping your clients save money and investing in community management software to automate everyday tasks.