The Next Era of Tenant Communications is Conversational
Here’s the understatement of the millennium: The way we communicate with each other has changed.
Smartphones coupled with hundreds of mobile applications allow us to be connected 24/7. To illustrate this, consider what happens in just one internet minute in 2018: 18 million text messages are sent, 38 million messages are shared through WhatsApp, and 25,000 gifs are sent via Facebook messenger. Yes, this is all happening every 60 seconds of each day. People are constantly communicating with each other – not only for social purposes, but for work too.
Business-oriented tool such as Slack and Skype have become an integral part of the workplace, allowing constant communication and collaboration between employees, and both companies have mobile apps too allowing for even greater connectivity. With six million active users logging into Slack a day, it’s clear that employees are relying on it, and other tools like it, for communication in the workplace. In fact, Twilio found that nine out of ten consumers would want to be able to use messaging apps or technology to talk to businesses. Today, websites in every industry have chat panels that provide an instant connection to someone (or something) who can answer questions immediately. The impact of conversational technologies on businesses is huge and growing every year.
Are We Approaching “Peak App”?
CRE technology providers have recognized the necessity to connect with people through technology, leading to a proliferation of specialized mobile apps. For example, any property management solutions already have mobile applications for tenants to make it easier for them to check the status of work request, register their visitors, or access important building documents. These apps do provide a necessary and valuable link between building operations and occupants, but when it comes to establishing an ongoing conversational aspect, these apps are not the only solution – and may not be the best.
There are a few reasons that mobile applications are not the best way to communicate with tenants. One is that app adoption in general is slowing down. With a finite amount of real estate available on smartphones, people don’t want to have to download yet another app that takes up storage or screen space. According to comScore, the majority of smartphone users have downloaded zero apps in the last 30 days, and most are using fewer than 20 each month. We are approaching, or may already have reached, “peak app.”
This doesn't mean that people aren’t using mobile apps. On average, smartphone users are spending half of their digital media consumption on mobile applications. But rather than spending a short amount of time on many apps, most consumers are spending more time on fewer apps. And what apps are they using more and more? Messaging apps. Because people are constantly using messaging apps to communicate throughout the day, companies are seeking to engage them there. Chatbots, complete with built in machine learning, are becoming a normal – and expected – part of the consumer experience. Take Facebook Messenger, for example. Lyft enables ride requests directly through this common messaging app. Similarly, Spotify makes it easy for customers to search for, listen to, and share music on Messenger, while Mastercard customers can check their account transactions.
So, what does this mean for the CRE industry? Simply put, CRE, like all other industries, needs to meet its customers where they are.
The Future of the Tenant Experience is Conversational
To compete in the new reality of heightened tenant expectations, building owners and managers will need to incorporate more than just a tenant app or website. Engagement through tools like Slack, Skype, and Facebook Messenger presents a world of possibilities.
For example, instead of logging into websites or specialized mobile apps to make a work request that requires filling out the many form fields, tenants could open Slack and simply type in “it’s too hot in here, please turn down the AC!” Building owners and managers could also use such a platform to share important updates about the building with tenants. Today, tenants often miss important messages posted to tenant portals because they are not logged in 24/7. But communicating through messaging apps offers a two-way stream, making it easier for tenants to make requests and for owners and managers to share important information.
For stronger user adoption of CRE tech, software providers will need to provide simpler ways to users to interact with their tools. Meeting tenants where they are, on communication platforms they use every day, will provide a simpler and more practical way to stay connected. The real estate leaders who embrace this conversational shift stand to benefit by providing a superior experience to their customers.
This Week’s Sponsor
AwareManager, a Building Engines company, provides facility management solutions for the world's most recognized facilities & organizations, including world-class commercial & residential property portfolio management firms, corporations, sports organizations & hospitals nationwide. Visit www.awaremanager.com.
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UPCOMING REALCOMM WEBINARS
Commercial and Corporate Real Estate Cyber Risk - Developing a Comprehensive Strategy - 10/25/2018
Hardly a day goes by that we don’t hear about a Cyber breach. The most recent of scale was Equifax, the credit reporting agency in which credit information of 143 million of its clients was breached. While most of the incidents we hear about involve data or financial theft, there is a looming threat…our built infrastructure. This infrastructure includes everything from power plants to dams, but also includes the millions of buildings we use every day to work, shop, learn, recreate, manage our health and more. The threats range from unwanted building access to pirating of video surveillance and everything in between. This webinar will focus on the entire spectrum of Commercial and Corporate Real Estate cyber challenges, solutions and strategies.
Founder of Realcomm Conference Group, an education organization that produces Realcomm, IBcon and CoRE Tech, the world's leading conferences on technology, automated business solutions, intelligent buildings and energy efficiency for the commercial and corporate real estate industry. As CEO, Jim interacts with some of the largest companies globally pertaining to some of the most advanced and progressive next generation real estate projects under development.
Tom Shircliff is a co-founder and principal of Intelligent Buildings, a nationally recognized smart real estate professional services company that was started in 2004. Intelligent Buildings provides planning and implementation of next generation strategy for new buildings, existing portfolios and urban communities. Tom is a speaker and collaborator with numerous universities and national laboratories, a gubernatorial appointee for energy strategy and policy and founding Chairman of Envision Charlotte, a Clinton Global Initiative.
As CIO at Meridian Capital, Sandy Jacolow oversees the firm’s nationwide innovation and technology initiatives that support the company’s brokerage, investment sales and retail leasing businesses and growth activities.
Ron Victor is a Silicon Valley based technology entrepreneur with 20 years of experience and expertise launching new ventures at start-ups and fortune 1000 technology companies. To-date he has enabled raising more than $30Million in start-up capital for multiple start-ups in silicon-valley. Ron has founded and led three companies to-date with successful exits. His latest venture is IoTium Inc. – a Silicon Valley start-up that provides a secure, cloud-managed, easy-to-deploy software defined network infrastructure for all IoT verticals.
Coleman Wolf has extensive experience developing enterprise-wide access control and alarm monitoring systems, developing business analyses, and conducting detailed security surveys and assessments of corporate offices, power generation plants, and facilities related to national critical infrastructure. Coleman has also managed numerous security system installation and upgrade projects. He holds a Master of Science, Computer Information Systems degree from Northwestern University and a Bachelor of Science, Electrical Engineering degree from the University of Michigan. He is also CPP (Certified Protection Professional) and CISSP (Certified Information Systems Security Professional). Coleman also holds the following Professional / Civic Affiliations: ASIS (Member of American Society for Industrial Security), Chairman of the ASIS Information Technology Security Council, and is an active member of the ASIS Security Architecture and Engineering Council.