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March 02 2021
Virtual Apartment Leasing in the Age of COVID: Funnel Says “Game On”

What part of the apartment leasing experience needed to be revolutionized?

When COVID-19 hit in early 2020, the world came to a grinding halt and apartment leasing as we knew it experienced a paradigm shift. However, savvy multifamily operators like Cortland had already recognized consumer behavior was shifting prior to the pandemic. As such, in early 2019, Cortland began its transformation journey to rewrite its playbook in order to continue providing “Above and Beyond” service to its prospective and existing apartment renters.

 

Funnel’s Fix: Best-in-breed technology to empower anytime, anywhere, on-demand (and socially distanced!) apartment leasing.

Funnel’s cutting-edge technology solution was essential when circumstances surrounding COVID-19 presented a unique set of challenges to the multifamily industry. Undeterred, Funnel put on its game face (and masks) to help Cortland pivot, without losing any momentum. Mike Gomes, Chief Experience Officer, Cortland explained: “We had already implemented Funnel across roughly half of our 65,000 apartment home portfolio and were beginning our implementation at our Houston communities when COVID forced everyone back to headquarters. We shifted focus to core operations and stabilizing our foundational services as we all collectively adjusted to the shutdown. Thanks to its smart architecture and responsive team, Funnel was able to help us accelerate elements in our strategy and shift those priorities.”

“Without Funnel, there’s no way we could have implemented integrated tour scheduling and live virtual tours in response to COVID. We’re positioning ourselves to be relevant and continually evolve as business and consumer needs change.”

– Mike Gomes, Chief Experience Officer, Cortland

 

Funnel’s Fix: Simplicity, Flexibility and Agility for the Win

As Cortland’s needs continue to evolve, Funnel keeps pace with the team to fuel their best-in-class customer service. From automatically following up with intelligent responses for prospective renters, enabling virtual tour scheduling and revolutionizing the apartment application and lease signing process to be fully online, Funnel is simplifying the apartment leasing experience for onsite teams and prospects. Funnel provides a modern user experience throughout the customer journey, providing renters a comfortable and sensible click-through to lease signing.

“Our previous tools had so many limitations that we couldn’t adapt to the continually changing needs of our customers or operations teams. Funnel’s capabilities enable us to remain agile,” Mike said. “As we evaluate extensions of the platform, we’re excited about the possibilities for future capabilities.”

“Funnel is not a one-off online leasing solution — it’s actually a platform that allows us continually to innovate and evolve communications and interactions across a variety of channels.”

– Mike Gomes, Chief Experience Officer, Cortland

 

Improving communication for lead conversions is another way Funnel fuels Cortland’s promise to put its prospects and renters “front and center.” Before implementing Funnel, Cortland’s leasing teams were communicating with customers via text, but doing so through their personal phones. With Funnel, leasing agents can capture contact history and notes whether communicating via connected cell phones or work phones, email, chat, or text. “No one wants to be transferred and then have to give their information or preferences all over again. Now, if another agent needs to step in while someone’s out, they aren’t starting from square one,” Mike said.

Anytime, Anywhere, On-Demand Responses

Funnel revolutionized not only where and how Cortland communicates with prospective apartment renters, but also when. Everyone is busy, and work-from-home has blurred the lines between business and personal time. Automated chat functions enable prospective renters’ questions to be answered any time, day or night, and invite them to watch video tours of the community and view preferred floor plans. As Mike explains: “People now want to get as much information as possible. With both live and virtual tours, a picture is worth more than 1,000 words. This is the new way to shop for your next home.”

 

In It For The Long Haul

The Funnel fix doesn’t end when renters move in; it stays in the game by helping Cortland forge a deeper and lasting relationship with its renters. “Once a prospective resident has chosen Cortland, Funnel helps them get into one of several Cortland apartment communities in the area,” Gomes said. “And if there’s a life change that involves a move, we can help renters stay within Cortland’s portfolio across town or across the country. That’s because we’ve built a relationship with them. It isn’t a transactional, twelve-month relationship, but a long-term relationship, where we help facilitate moves to other Cortland communities and continue to deliver the service and care that’s part of the Cortland living experience.”

“Having Funnel, a software platform in place that allows us to build this overall relationship history with a renter, is a game-changer in this industry.”

– Mike Gomes, Chief Experience Officer, Cortland

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