Multifamily Call Centers Give Way to Automation to Augment Teams and Ease Workload
Workforce shortages and burnout are now pervasive across all industries, and multifamily property management is no different. If hiring skilled workers in general is a challenge, imagine what it takes to secure high performers and keep them for the long haul.
It takes a new way of doing things, that’s for sure. And that new way better includes healthier work/life balance, the ability for teams to do work that’s meaningful and energizing to them, and some level of flexibility in when, where, and how they meet performance goals.
Beyond emerging worker preferences, there’s also the issue that you still have goals to meet, and you must find ways to meet them with a lean time and budget.
These market shifts, combined with consumer expectations for instant gratification, self-service tools and anytime/anywhere access, add up to the age of AI-powered teams. Increasingly, multifamily marketers are ditching traditional methods that demand lots of manhours and in favor of machine learning and automation.
Take Call Centers, for instance. Though they were once a go-to service solution in multifamily, they are also facing the stressors of the “great resignation”. Some of them are struggling to staff their teams, leading to less-than-desirable results. And, the high cost, time and human resources that Call Centers demand make them a poor match for a market that faces growing demands for speed, cost savings, and always-on availability.
While staffing challenges are exacerbated by a workforce that is becoming more selective about their jobs, the availability of jobs in the market is making it increasingly difficult to hire. In fact, 84% of surveyed multifamily professionals say they’re facing more competition when trying to fill on-site roles. To manage workload in this competitive environment, 33% (the majority response) said they’re using automated leasing follow-up. Multifamily chatbots, self-guided tours and other methods all ranked at more than 22% each. Many respondents say they’re mixing automation methods using AI tools or other technology. (See relevant resources at the end of this post.)
Survey respondents are on to something with their use of automation: in side-by-side tests over 30 days, PERQ data outperformed sophisticated call centers in significant ways.
- 114% more lead conversions from website visitors.
- 209 additional tours from existing website traffic.
- 119% growth in lead-to-tour conversions.
- Savings of 894 hours and $17,880 in payroll value by relieving on-site teams from having to follow up with every lead and prospect inquiries, or record related documentation/data entry.
- 93% of tours are scheduled via AI, freeing up agents for other priorities.
AI-powered automations aren’t just beneficial to multifamily marketing teams. They’re also a big win for prospective renters, says Liz Bogue, Director of Marketing for Bonaventure. “Prospective renters want instant gratification. We’re seeing data that they’re interacting with PERQ longer. They’re scheduling tours. They’re asking a lot of questions and, more importantly, those questions are being answered. In the last three months, our AI chatbot was able to answer 93% of prospect questions, which is very impressive.”
(Watch Liz and fellow marketer Lindsey Kuhn, CMO at the Champion Companies, discuss the role of AI lead management in their marketing program.)
Automation has a positive effect on employee satisfaction as well. Energy and time are highly valuable, yet highly limited resources for multifamily teams. Maximizing them starts with automating low-impact or repetitive tasks so teams can do work that gets results and compels them to return recharged and reengaged, day after day.