Beacon Communities enhances work order experience with Zego™ Mobile Doorman
About Beacon Communities
Beacon is a privately owned real estate firm that develops, acquires, invests in, and manages a wide range of multifamily housing. They own and manage approximately 19,000 apartments including affordable housing, market rate housing, and mixed income-housing. Developments range from new construction, to historic adaptive reuse, to the renovation of existing housing. Beacon’s driving passion is to create well-designed, healthy homes that improve the quality of life of their residents and enhance the neighborhoods in which they are located.
- Portfolio: Multifamily
- Units: 19,000
- Zego Products: ZegoTM Mobile Doorman
- Accounting Software: Yardi Voyager
- Location: Headquartered in Boston with 150 communities in 11 states and the District of Columbia
In early 2019, Beacon Communities was looking to strengthen connections with its residents through improved communication and convenience.
After 10 years of using an online resident portal, resident usage of the system was still lagging behind expectations. The majority of residents paid rent through the portal, but they only occasionally logged in to submit a work order or engage with the community. Beacon’s leadership team wanted to enhance resident engagement and provide a more efficient and convenient experience for both residents and leasing teams. That’s when they found Zego Mobile Doorman.
The approach & outcomes
In the first quarter of 2019, Beacon Communities introduced customized, community-branded apps from Zego Mobile Doorman that literally put the apartment living experience at residents’ fingertips.
“We were looking for ways that we could, without spending a ton of money, offer up convenience to our residents and also enhance communication. The more we’re communicating with our residents, the more connected they’re going to feel,” said John Reardon, vice president of marketing at Beacon Communities. “If they feel connected, the more likely that they’re going to renew when the time comes.”
With the goal of improving the quality of life for their residents and Beacon created a world-class resident experience designed around the following three principles:
1. Meet residents where they are
The transition from traditional emails to push notifications through residents’ phones has made a big difference in the resident experience.
“Today’s residents live their lives through their phones, and they spend much of that time in mobile apps. We should be striving to meet them there,” Duffy said. “Meeting them there is not sending emails. That’s a completely different medium than truly communicating through push notifications right through your phone. If we can meet them where they’re living digitally, we want to be there. Zego Mobile Doorman helps us to get there.”
“We saw a pretty dramatic uptick in online work orders immediately when we rolled out. That first month, we saw positive data come through and it continued to trend up.Vice President of Marketing at Beacon Communities
2. Communicate with groups and individual residents
One unexpected benefit of the shift to the Mobile Doorman apps has been the noticeable increase in resident feedback.
“Residents message us through the app consistently about things happening every day. Maybe there are slight improvements they want to see or questions they have about certain systems,” said Beacon Communities Customer Experience Manager Connor Duffy. “We can get them answers quickly and accurately in that kind of medium. The residents absolutely love it.”
Not only are residents able to more easily engage with their communities about more general issues, but they also are more inclined to provide valuable – and often morale-boosting – feedback about individual team members.
“Before Zego Mobile Doorman, work orders would go into the property management system, and it all kind of happened behind the curtain. The resident would go home, their stuff is fixed, and the maintenance person never really gets a thank you,” Reardon said. “Now, because it’s so incredibly easy for residents to reach out, we’ve started seeing residents actually writing, ‘Thanks, this is great!’ Just a simple thing like that. When we share that with the maintenance teams, it’s actually a pretty good engagement driver. It helps fill their tanks back up and really motivates them when they see that people do actually appreciate their work.”
3. Allow residents to self serve their work order
While the Zego Mobile Doorman app enhances and simplifies numerous aspects of apartment living, one option jumped out to Reardon.
“One of the big things for me was the work order feature,” Reardon said. “It may seem like a little thing, but for me it was really the main priority. For whatever reason, people would not go into the resident portal and put in work orders online, which meant a lot of time taken from our onsite teams with answering the phones, entering the orders manually into the property management system and answering emails. It also leads to a higher likelihood of things falling between the cracks.”
An improved adoption rate was almost instant with Mobile Doorman’s implementation. “We saw a pretty dramatic uptick in online work orders immediately when we rolled out,” Reardon said. “That first month, we saw positive data come through and it continued to trend up.”
Leasing teams were trained to introduce Zego Mobile Doorman at lease signings, which quickly began to shift the paradigm and establish the app as the standard method for submitting a work order.
In the first 30 days alone, more than 170 maintenance requests were submitted via Beacon resident apps from Mobile Doorman, equating to more than $3,000 worth of working hours saved for onsite staff having to field work order calls and logging within internal systems.
With the rollout of Mobile Doorman, leasing teams felt a burden lifted right away when it came to work orders. So, Beacon decided to measure the actual man hours the app had freed up.
“We created a calculation involving the number of work orders being requested through the Mobile Doorman system, and how that compared to our site team members manually entering a work order,” Duffy said. “We found that we were saving thousands of dollars and paying for the platform with the labor hours that we save when our associates don’t have to manually record and create work orders.”
Today’s residents live their lives through their phones, and they spend much of that time in mobile apps. We should be striving to meet them there. Zego Mobile Doorman helps us get there."Customer Experience Manager at Beacon Communities
With the aim to improve the quality of life of their residents, Beacon Communities is pleased with the impact Zego Mobile Doorman has had on their relationships with residents. They value the candid feedback they receive through the app and are using it to continually improve the resident experience. They are also enjoying the improved operational efficiencies that come from offering residents a tool they are excited to use. By meeting residents where they are, on their smart devices, maintenance requests have been streamlined benefitting both the staff and residents. The numbers speak for themselves: 170 maintenance requests and $3,000 in staff time saved in just the first 30 days were exactly the type of results Beacon was looking for.
Best practice recommendations for building a modern resident experience
With results such as increased resident communication and app adoption the Beacon team is benefitting from simplified staff operations and a better resident experience. Resident & staff app fatigue and confusion have been eliminated with one app for communication, work orders, pet/vehicle/visitor registrations, package notifications, and more. A thorough, integrated approach to resident and staff engagement enabled Beacon to achieve a new level of operational efficiency.
Zego offers five recommendations for building a modern resident experience:
1. Meet residents where they are
2. Communicate with groups and individuals
3. Allow residents to self serve
4. Help residents build relationships and a sense of community
5. Provide one comprehensive app across the full resident living experience
Schedule a Demo
To learn more about how we can help you implement these best practices schedule time with a Zego team member for a quick demo of our platform.