In a panel at the CREW Network Virtual Convention last week, owners and operators of apartment buildings spoke about how they use the day in this environment and why the customer experience is of crucial importance.
Laurie Baker, EVP of Operations at Camden Property Trust, said Camden needs to move quickly to a virtual leasing model in the spring and will continue to use this innovative approach. "We had talked about it for a while, but Covid really accelerated the process."
However, the company's current focus is on providing smart access solutions. “For example, if you move to our church, you have to go into the garage and into the church. We want this to be as seamless as possible and as non-contact as possible. From the moment a resident moves in, we can automate this and offer a much better customer experience. "
One person no longer needs to meet these people, Baker added. “We are starting by enabling potential tours virtually from a smartphone. We can get smarter with information and create a much better customer experience. "
Most of the company's managers also found that this virtual world created a sense of urgency. “When individuals take a self-guided tour, they are incredibly motivated. You won't look like you did in the past for a few months. We were shocked that we can continue to lease in this environment. "
Regarding flexible spaces, Baker said the company went through an exercise that rated those little nooks and crannies in its units. “We're looking at what the selling point for these spaces and how they're renting out faster than spaces that don't have little things like a hidden desk to work on, etc. Working remotely changes a lot of our thinking so we'll do it Check out how we can create the greatest possible flexibility in the future to help us with functional obsolescence, which has always been a problem, but this is a whole new ball game. "
But what is changing most in this environment? According to Baker, these are operations. “Communication with residents and employees is more important than ever today. Right now, it's about acting urgently and operationally, and enabling our closest people to make decisions in real time. "
Ginger Bryant, COO and CFO of the Sares Regis Group, is also thinking about how her company can be more flexible with its space, but said that it is all about marketing and presentation.
Bryant added that current technology is about improving what the company has always done but is not replacing. "It's not about unlocking hidden income. We're also monitoring more time than 16 months ago to monitor competitive sets and examine this data."
For more information on our coverage from the 2020 CREW Network Convention, please see below.
The CREW network conference starts with an inspiring business story
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2020 CREW Network Convention now safely accessible, moves virtually
How industrial keeps pace with on-demand
Global workforce trends that are redefining the workplace
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