Why a Resident App Improves your Community Living Experience
How to eliminate frustrations about apartment living using a resident app
Giving renters a good living experience goes farther than hosting community events or keeping your community up-to-date.
Don’t get us wrong. Those are definitely impactful.
However, there’s another tactic that elevates the resident experience. Removing points of friction from apartment living makes your community stand out from the rest. This is how a resident app comes in handy.
Anyone who’s ever been a renter can attest that certain things about living in an apartment community are a pain. Think about the process for paying rent, getting a package, or granting access to visitors.
In the past, these have been paper-based processes. Or they required a phone call or face-to-face interaction with a property manager. A resident app modernizes these tasks, making it easier for residents and on-site teams.
That’s good news considering resident demographics (and their expectations) are changing. Today’s renters (especially Gen Z) increasingly expect self-service, connection, and convenience. Resident apps deliver on these wants.
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Why a resident app is better than your website
If you’re like most property management companies, you probably have a resident portal. And you may wonder why an app is necessary if renters can just visit your website.
Consumers are using their phones more than their computers
For starters, apps are better suited for mobile users, which more and more of us are. Mobile devices drove 61% of visits to U.S. websites in 2020. That’s up from 57% in 2019.
Desktops were only responsible for 35.7% of all visits in 2020. The remaining 3.3% of visitors used a tablet.
Resident apps make it easier for mobile users to conduct tasks
Since so many people are turning to their smartphones for online access, then it makes sense to offer residents an experience that matches this preference.
One of the reasons an app is a better experience for mobile users is because it makes it easier for residents to find what they need. Your website probably contains resources for residents. But, it’s also full of content for anyone else who may have interest in your company – prospective renters, investors, owners, etc. Because there’s more content, it makes your website slower to load. And, if residents need to come to your website for any reason, they have to navigate around content that doesn’t pertain to them.
Giving residents an app is helpful because it squarely focuses on their needs. And it offers solutions to those needs in a way that caters to a mobile experience. Because apps are intentionally designed for mobile users, it is easier for residents to read, touch, and type in this channel versus your mobile-optimized website.
Resident apps are faster than using a website
No one likes being held hostage by a web page that takes forever to load. Or when an online form stalls after you’ve hit “Submit.”
A resident app will work faster than a mobile-optimized website, making it easier and less stressful to complete apartment-related tasks. Plus, apps can store resident information and preferences, and allow them to complete tasks (like paying rent) in a few taps, or even on an automated schedule.
And, let’s not forget that most people have their phone within arms’ reach. It’s so much easier to whip out your phone and click on an app instead of opening up a computer and navigating to a website.
Resident apps offer better personalization
With mobile apps, it’s easier for residents to have a more personalized experience with your management company. Once residents download the app, they customize several facets to suit their needs and preferences. For instance, residents can designate their communication preferences (email, text, calls) for interacting with their property manager. They can also get information that is pertinent to their interests and location.
If your community has smart apartment technology, residents can also use the same app to personalize their apartment. For instance, residents can program their lights, thermostat and locks with their phone. And if they want to grant someone access to their home without being physically present, they can use the app to set up temporary access codes.
Communication between residents and community staff is improved
Residents expect good communication from their community manager. They want easy ways to communicate with your on-site teams and prompt responses in return.
With a resident app, they can easily reach out to community staff. They’ll also receive real-time alerts about things that matter to them. For instance, residents will receive real-time push notifications about package deliveries, important community announcements, or the status of their maintenance request.
Having this instantaneous communication is even more valuable when residents are trying to solve a problem. Let’s say something in their unit is broken. Without a resident app, a renter needs to wait until they are in front of a computer to submit a maintenance request. Or, they can use their mobile device to navigate to your website. But, it might be hard to view or to navigate on their phone.
This is certainly not a good experience for your resident. It can also be problematic for your building too. Let’s say your resident is reporting a leak. This is something that you need to know right away so that it can be fixed before the problem worsens (and potentially becomes more expensive to fix).
Mobile apps will speed up the communication in these instances and provide your maintenance staff with better details about the task ahead. Residents can utilize their phone’s camera so if applicable, they can attach a picture to the work order. In turn, orders can be completed in a timelier manner since service teams are better prepared before visiting the unit. Plus, messages and updates can be shared between the service team and the resident, delivering much-needed transparency for residents about what’s happening in their apartment.
Resident apps offer connection with other community members
One thing residents can’t do through your resident portal is interact with other residents. Apps can help bring neighbors together who have common interests and needs. For one, residents can use their app to invite neighbors to any kind of social activity like on-site pool parties, book clubs, or dinner parties.
Other useful interactions include community boards where they can buy, sell, or borrow stuff from their neighbors. Resident apps can also house a marketplace feature that helps them explore their neighborhood by offering discounts to local businesses and services.
More ways to improve the resident experience
A resident app is really a win-win. It improves the efficiency of apartment-related tasks and gives residents a better living experience. If you want to read up on other strategies that improve the resident experience, download our free guide, The State of Resident Experience Management.