August 22 2023

Software to handle repeatable tasks to give teams a hand, and create a more engaged associate experience

Thomas Knudson, a (former) leasing consultant, community manager, and general manager at one of the country’s largest property management companies, Equity Residential, now works as an Implementation Manager for Funnel Leasing. Learn directly from Thomas, about the ways in which Funnel would have transformed his day-to-day. 

We get it: It’s easy to tune out tech solutions saying that they “changed everything.” But I’m here to tell you that I wish I had Funnel when I worked onsite. As an Implementation Manager for Funnel, I get to ensure that teams across the country are supported by the software that makes onsite teams’ dreams come true. 

I joined Funnel over a year and a half ago, and don’t get me wrong, I loved my time onsite. But, after 10 years working onsite, it’s exciting to be on the vendor side of things and helping teams solve some of the toughest challenges that I saw day in and day out for years. 

I don’t need to tell onsite teams this twice but, it’s worth saying this just in case you haven’t spent time onsite: Being on an onsite team is hard. You’re the front-line for customer experience and brand — and you’re also the person trying to juggle a million things at once. Plus, customer’ expectations shifted, and renter’s expectations don’t live in a bubble, so they shifted too. Renters demand self-service options like tour scheduling, instant information through AI solutions, and high-value customer service for nuanced, complex questions or personalized experiences like tours. 

To meet consumer expectations and the demands placed on onsite teams, new software like Funnel’s Renter Management Software is needed to free teams of leasing professionals (like me) from the expected daily rote tasks, and give them more time for the parts of their job that are high-touch and frankly unexpected (read: fires, floods, elevators not working, the dog that bit the other resident, or the resident who may or may not have done inappropriate things in the club room on Saturday at 1:05 AM… 😬). 

I can’t emphasize this enough: there are so many unexpected things that are piled on onsite team members’ desks. That’s why, software that takes care of the routine, repeatable tasks that are as necessary and expected as breathing in the onsite teams’ world is a lifesaver and the sidekick onsite leasing heroes have always dreamed about. 

I can’t emphasize this enough: there are so many unexpected things that are piled on onsite team members’ desks. That’s why, software that takes care of the routine, repeatable tasks that are as necessary and expected as breathing in the onsite teams’ world is a lifesaver and  the sidekick onsite leasing heroes have always dreamed about. 

Here are four things I know leasing teams, like the one I was on, would be so excited to have as their AI + automated platform work-bestie. 

#1. Can you just text me?

When I was onsite I routinely had residents and prospective renters ask me “Can you just text me?” And…I always had to let them down by saying, “I’ll email you.” On-the-go renters and residents want the ease of texting to communicate. The multifamily industry in general talks a lot about “meeting renters where they are” and a big part of that is communicating with renters and residents how they would choose to be communicated with. If that’s texting, text them. If that’s email, email them. If that’s a phone call…you get the picture. 

Being able to provide communication that aligned with our prospective renter and residents’ communication habits ensured that the communication flow for them was natural. On the onsite team side of things, a Renter Management Software solution (like Funnel) that collects all of this communication in one place, regardless of channel, and associates it with each renter’s individual guest card is huge. The visibility it gives all team members saves the day. I wish we would have had this visibility into communication when I was onsite. Transparency like that would have ensured that we could all operate as a team jumping in and out of conversations with the context we needed to be effective and provide an excellent level of customer service. 

#2. Calendar synchronization 

Agents with Funnel are never double-booked. Let me repeat that: with Funnel’s calendar synchronization, you’re never double-booked. You never have someone schedule a tour over a resident appointment. You never have a tour scheduled over your doctor appointment. You’re never double booked (and your tours are scheduled automatically without you doing calendar tetris to make this happen). 

Two things are sooooo cool here. First, scheduling tours with prospects can be excessively manual, and it doesn’t need to be. Renters and residents want the flexibility to schedule these on their own, without going back and forth verbally over the phone or over a never-ending email chain. With Funnel residents and renters schedule tours on their own. We’ve had clients tell us that they’re scheduling them at 2:00 AM, and our data from our partner Corland shows that 69% of tours scheduled using AI are scheduled after hours. Second, when Funnel’s AI solution is scheduling the tour the agent’s “Funnel calendar” automatically syncs with their Gmail or Outlook calendar to pull the agent’s real-time availability and schedules the tour during available timeframes. Meaning: you never need to re-schedule a tour because availability was incorrect and you are never double booked. Let me tell you this is a level of ease that onsite dreams are made of, and gives team members so much time back in their day to focus on the parts of their job that add value and that AI isn’t suited for: engaging with renters and residents and providing empathetic customer service. 

#3. Marketing automation

When you hear marketing automation you might roll your eyes and think of many of the ecommerce emails in your inbox this morning telling you about a new sale on xyz beauty product, dog leash, sandals, etc… when really the level of personalization in many of those messages is “Hi YOUR FIRST NAME” and… that’s it. 

When I was onsite, our marketing automation was time-based. For example, it would send a set email to someone if it had been four days since they inquired. Funnel’s marketing automation is so smart, it’s trigger-based. What I mean by that is that it can look through your prospects, and then send the right message to the right prospect. For example, Rachel renter inquired four days ago but hasn’t toured, her email will encourage her to schedule a tour. Arnold apartment-hunter inquired four days ago, toured, and wanted to apply but hasn’t started (or finished) his application. The email Arnold receives will encourage him to fill out the application, and ask if there are additional questions that can be answered. The right message, at the right stage of the renter journey. Not a one-size-fits-none mass email. 

Again, this tech takes care of repeatable expected tasks, so that onsite teams can take care of the things technology can’t. 

#4. Understanding the backstory without calling another property

When I was onsite we were near other sister properties, and if you’ve been onsite it can be idealized that you work in tandem with these teams. But, if your software solution doesn’t easily share information between property locations for cross-property operations…the dream dies. You don’t want to be the annoying team member at a sister property who always calls to ask how the tour with a prospective renter went…because everyone is incentivized by leases signed and essentially you’re competing for the same renter. Or another example, if you knew someone had an outstanding balance at another in-portfolio property, you would have the context you needed to handle conversations appropriately. I’m not saying these emails are a good idea, but with a solution that shares key information easily, there would be no need for the company-wide emails onsite team members know all too well saying “x person was recently evicted but it won’t be on their credit history yet.” The truth is: information like this is way too much for any onsite team member to remember all at once, and the stakes are high. A solution that allows teams across the property portfolio to work as a team decreases redundancy, increases cohesion, and ensures vital information isn’t falling through the cracks. 

I pink(y) promise, Funnel is the work bestie I dreamed about

Again, I loved my time onsite. I can not stress that enough. BUT, my time onsite informs how valuable I know many of the things Funnel provides onsite team members. (I can’t pretend like these wouldn’t have been ah-mazing.)