October 16 2023

Changing from a property-centric to a renter-centric CRM increased renter retention by 15% and drove down costs for CARROLL.

As customer expectations rise, so do demands associated with providing outstanding leasing experiences. CARROLL, a real estate investment firm with roughly $ in assets under management, struggled with call volumes that topped 20,000 per month and wanted to centralize its operations.

“We realized that the traditional ‘one staff to 100 residents’ model (1:100) wasn’t providing outstanding renter and team experiences,” says Noah Echols, SVP of marketing and customer experience at CARROLL.
In an effort to tackle this challenge, the company deployed a new CRM and AI voice recognition technology. It soon ran up against limitations that interfered with achieving the desired results. Echols notes that by adopting a renter-centric model, they were able to improve the performance of their managed properties.

Embracing a renter-centric CRM

According to Echols, the property-centric nature of their previous CRM couldn’t provide their  desired centralization outcomes. “With a property-centric CRM our centralized team needed to log in to different properties and toggle between multiple screens, wasting time and duplicating efforts across the portfolio,” says Echols. He notes that this interfered with their goals of fully centralizing operations and scaling more efficiently, and due to those limitations, CARROLL  rolled out a new renter-centric CRM.

With the new renter-centric CRM, records for renters and residents are kept on a single guest card. This single record of the customer organizes them no matter how many properties they interact within the portfolio. Echols says it has helped them centralize and streamline interactions. “The automation built into Funnel also makes it so much easier to complete simple tasks, such as customizing an email — saving time and money.”

As CARROLL focuses on improving customers’ experiences through centralization, the company reconfigured bonus structures, and teams make more money under the new operating model. With traditional models, staff might receive a bonus when achieving certain leasing goals, which doesn’t always provide excellent customer service to renters and residents.   However, the company is now tying incentives for specialized teams to specific outcomes that align with the function of that team such as NPS for resident-focused teams, empowering staff to earn more while keeping renters happy.

Decreased costs, improved savings, and higher retention rates

After deploying Funnel’s renter-centric CRM, CARROLL is already seeing the positive impacts. Although expenses increased in recent years, the new approach supports lower costs and improved resident retention rates and conversion. “The lead management team, or “reservation center,” increased lead-to-visit ratios from ~25% to upwards of 40%,” said Echols.

“Last year, when we ran metrics, customer retention had increased 15%,” says Echols. “And as we move forward, our focus remains firmly on customer value because if you follow that, we believe NOI and all the most important metrics will naturally follow.”

And Echols explains that staff often worry about a reduction in headcounts when the discussion turns to centralization, but that isn’t CARROLL’s intention. Instead, they are moving away from the 1:100      to free up staff time and allow them to grow into meaningful careers with more rewarding work and higher ceilings.

“Our centralized team loves the new CRM because they can get more done and do so with greater efficiency,” says Echols. “Our resident teams are in the process of learning the tricks of the trade, but are also very happy with it.”

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