November 07, 2012
Virtual Concierge: Creating Value in Your Tenant Portal
The standard tenant portal includes many practical tools and services, such as online methods to make rent payments, submit service requests, apply for a rental property, share documents and verify account status. But how many successful businesses can you think of that settled for “standard”?
A portal is a great tool for engaging tenants in the community you’ve built, and developing meaningful relationships that keep valued residents on your property for years to come. Essentially, it gives you the opportunity to “meet and greet” residents as they come and go online – the portal becomes a virtual concierge.
Like every good concierge, your tenant portal must go beyond the usual rules and regulations (and downloadable forms) if it’s going to stand out. You need to create real value by adding content that will keep tenants coming back for more.
Increasing Traffic to your Tenant Portal
Your tenant portal is just like any other website, in that it must remain current and relevant in order for users to want to come back. The best way to drive users to your portal is to feature information that they value, and update it regularly.
Here are a few tips on what to include on your tenant portal to maximize its effectiveness:
- Maintain a listing of local restaurants and cafés. Focus on the ones that are within a 10-minute walk of your building. Organize the eateries by type, such as the kind of food served and the price range.
- Identify entertainment options. Take the time to highlight nearby movie theatres, museums, galleries and other points of interest. Consider the approximate ages of your tenants, and be sure to include a range of activities and facilities so that your portal offers something for everyone.
- Build a directory of shops and retail outlets. As with the entertainment options, you should try to tailor this directory to the ages and backgrounds of your tenants.
- Describe the area’s public services and centres. Providing a few objective words about the types of services available at local schools, churches, community organizations and gyms shows tenants that you care and that you’re very familiar with the neighbourhood.
- Create a map that highlights essential services. This should include nearby hospitals and medical facilities, as well as drug stores and even all-night grocery stores. Identifying these essential services and outlets on a map makes it even easier for tenants to find them quickly, which they may need to do in an emergency.
Does it take time to gather and write-up these resources? Of course it does, however, you can use a striped-down version on your website, to improve its usefulness and SEO value for potential renters.
Creating an Interactive Environment
Another excellent way of engaging tenants on your portal is by developing an interactive online community. This offers residents a way of sharing their thoughts with other tenants in your building, and of becoming better acquainted with one another. It also gives you a window into their interests and concerns, which empowers you to improve your services and ensure a healthy, mutually beneficial relationship with your tenants.
Here are a couple ways to increase interactivity on your portal:
- Create an online message board. This is a simple way of giving tenants a voice – and offering you a chance to respond publicly.
- Rate your services. Allow tenants to rate the maintenance work. This will allow you to evaluate your third party vendors.
- Enable tenants to add, or submit to, directories and listings. By letting residents have a say in the local shops, eateries and services listed on the portal, you not only involve them in the process of building your community, but you can ensure that the portal remains current and relevant.
Setting New Standards in Customer Service
Tenant portals help residents and property managers carry out practical tasks in a safe, efficient manner. But portals have the potential to do much more than offer regular, everyday services.
Take advantage of the resources at your disposal to create a living experience that surpasses tenant expectations, and keeps them happy to stay in your building. With a truly valuable tenant portal, your residents will feel more at home than ever.