The trend is still ’appening – Leipziger Wohnungs- und Baugesellschaft connects tenant app to easysquare workflow
Responding to customers’ needs with technical innovations and, in the process, increasing its own efficiency – transferring services to mobile-digital technology is a perfect example of a win-win situation for both providers and customers. Recently published user figures show that apps are now commonplace, especially among the young generation. According to an Adobe study1, app use in Germany rose by 13 percent between January 2014 and January 2017. Globally, revenue from apps is expected to reach 101 billion US dollars by 2020, up by around 147 percent compared to 2015. The real estate industry is gradually recognising the potential of existing solutions. Nonetheless, a survey by the FOG Institute2 in Chemnitz found that, in 2015, only five percent of the representative selection of housing companies provided their services in the form of a tenant app. Modern companies consciously digitising their work processes therefore still have a pioneering role in the trend towards mobilisation.
The easysquare mobile app developed by PROMOS provides efficiency gains for both property owners and tenants. Workflows completed in the app are integrated directly into the property manager’s ERP system via the easysquare workflow solution and can be processed there from a PC with access to the existing documentation. Furthermore, the app is available in the housing company’s corporate design, thus increasing the tenant’s identification with the landlord. These features as well as the wide range of functions in the tenant app also impressed one of the largest municipal housing companies in eastern Germany. Leipziger Wohnungs- und Baugesellschaft (LWB) is responsible for an inventory of around 35,000 apartments in Leipzig, Saxony’s largest city. Following a detailed design phase and test runs with selected users, the LWB tenant app will soon be available to download.
Secure data transmission guaranteed
Once the tenants have registered, they can set a user name and password for using the app. Secure SQL encryption is a standard part of the easysquare product family. As contractual documents and correspondence are also stored on the app, we also recommend restricting app access with customised access details. Directly after this, the landlord activates the app. The corresponding PDF document is added to the tenant record and sent to the tenant by post.
The app is divided into three areas: contracts, defect reports and service (Figure 1). These features are in turn divided into topics. The “Contracts” service contains the existing lease-outs for the apartment and any associated parking space. Other selected documents, such as utility statements, dunning notices or house regulations, can also be viewed here. All topic categories are labelled with icons and thus meet the most important criterion for apps: user-friendliness. This also includes adopting familiar design patterns – for example, new incoming messages are displayed using badges that can be recognised from mobile e-mail or messenger programs.
Figure 1: After registration, various services are available to tenants and clearly displayed in the easysquare app (here you see the Web app).
Defect reports can be forwarded directly to property managers from within the app. The apartment information is generated automatically from the stored master data. The tenant can then select from different object categories, such as windows, doors or sinks. The defect report is created by uploading a photo with a brief description. As soon as the tenant has sent the order, it is processed in the landlord’s central IT system. The individual work steps for the administrator leading up to damage repair are displayed in easysquare workflow (Figure 2). In the left-hand window, the processor sees the entire course of the tenant correspondence, while the current status of the tenant notifications is shown on the right. The commissioned craftsmen also receive the order in a linked app. Framework contracts are usually stored by users and enable immediate calculation of the repair costs. Thanks to continuous status reports from the property managers, tenants have constant insight into the progress of the repairs. Any correspondence that is sent during the process is automatically saved in the tenant record, allowing documentation of the rental history to be provided at any time with no media discontinuity. It is also possible to view defect reports that have already been submitted or for tenants to compare their own reports with those of other building residents. Defects can be reported for the building, a tenant’s own apartment or the building’s surroundings. Property management staff can show already reported defects in the building or its surroundings in the app.
Figure 2: Structured processing of the report is carried out in easysquare workflow.
Simple chat with the landlord
The “Service” category allows tenants to request and manage changes to master data and approvals online. Master data could, for example, relate to a change in the tenant’s name or new contact details. Approvals may relate to keeping pets or planned modifications within the apartment. The processing status of the requests can also be viewed in the app. Tenants and administrators can contact one another about open requests or defect reports using a chat function (Figure 3). The functional scope of the tenant app can be enhanced to fully meet the customer’s needs. In the event of a planned move, for example, it is possible to search the housing company’s properties. Guest apartments can also be offered. Other parties would make perfect partners for the tenant app. To bring people in the neighbourhood together, it makes sense to integrate pharmacies, bakers and other small retailers and offer discounts via the app. Initiatives and organisations can advertise their leisure and volunteer opportunities on a mobile and digital notice board.
Figure 3: Customer advisors and tenants can use the practical messaging function to communicate about unresolved damage and service notifications.
For tenants, the benefits of using an app for communication regarding their apartment are obvious. Apps fit today’s communication habits and enable tenants’ needs to be met quickly. In return, rapid sending of online notifications and centralised recording of these results means landlords can enjoy significant time savings “We are convinced that the processing of requests and defect reports can be standardised, and thus contribute to increased customer satisfaction. Linking easysquare mobile and easysquare workflow, making it possible for employees in our headquarters to process data entered via the app, has brought us significant gains in efficiency,” explains Siegfried Gallitschke, Head of Sales/Product Marketing at LWB. Processing can be tailored individually to the customer’s needs. At LWB, for example, it is possible to trigger a defect report in the registration process without waiting for it to be released. These various advantages are complemented by reduced costs and workload for landlords with savings in mailrooms and call centres.
- Adobe Digital Insights, annual report, presented in February 2017 at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona: http://www.cmo.com/adobe-digital-insights/articles/2017/2/20/adi-is-europe-in-the-middle-of-a-smartphone-divide.html#gs.th7A5AY
- SDMK Innovations und FOG Institute survey in May 2015, available at http://www.contentmanager.de/nachrichten/studien-und-prognosen/studie-die-digitale-transformation-in-der-wohnungswirtschaft/ and http://www.dmk-innovations.de/blog/artikel/wohnungswirtschaft-und-digitalisierung/
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