DOGEWO21 goes digital – efficiency and convenience with the tenant app
The timing couldn’t have been better. As the world shut down in March 2020 and social distancing became the order of the day, housing companies were also impacted by the pandemic. Employees were sent to work from home, and service centres were temporarily closed. Nevertheless, the concerns and wishes of tenants remained the same. A digital solution for customer communication can ensure smooth and efficient service. It was precisely in this period that DOGEWO21 started the pilot phase of its tenant app IT project.
Thanks to the long-standing cooperation with PROMOS consult, many PROMOS products were already in use. PROMOS employees were already familiar with the DOGEWO team and the company’s needs. PROMOS consultant Saskia Klupsch, who led the implementation of the mobile vacant apartment refurbishment solution at DOGEWO21, was entrusted with the project: “I was really excited to introduce the tenant app at DOGEWO21. We had always worked well together on both a professional and a human level. And that’s how it was this time too. The collaboration was great fun. Both the constructive course of the project and the good result speak for themselves.”
How it all began…
The first step involved implementing the tenant app in the standard system with the services “Contracts”, “Defect report”, “Service notification” and “Bulletin board” services.
Armin Freitag, head of IT and organisational development at DOGEWO21
The business partner and contract master data saved in the ERP system is available in the DOGEWO21 tenant app at all times. In this way, users can keep track of the contractual relationship and the master data concerning them. The tenant app additionally provides insight into selected contract-related documents from the ERP system. This means that, for example, a tenant can view the service charge statement, their scanned-in rental contract or monthly account statements regarding account transactions around the clock. If the tenant needs a certificate of rent paid or a certification of the rental amount, these requirements can be communicated easily, without paper and fully automatically using the app.
Defect report and service notification
Tenants can now report any concerns or questions about the rental agreement or request repairs in no time via the app. The processing is simple and intuitive. The app leads the tenant through relevant selection catalogues oriented towards specific tenant needs. Users are asked to enter the information, documents or pictures required for the respective situation directly in the forms so that all important data is available for further processing.
From news to house rules or information on a contact partner – the latest updates are made available immediately in the app. As soon as new information is created for a specific building, every tenant who uses the app receives an automatic push notification or e-mail. This ensures that particularly important information does not go unnoticed (Figure 1).
Figure 1: In the seamlessly connected ERP system, authorised employees are able to cre
Customer-specific requirements were also implemented, including an adaptation to internal company processes and form designs in the tenant app as well as the introduction of an evaluation process for submitted service notifications. The first development was complete with the individualisation of the tenant app to the Dortmund housing company’s corporate design.
Test phase and go-live
Before the DOGEWO21 tenant app was rolled out to all 40,000 tenants, company employees who are themselves tenants at DOGEWO21 first thoroughly tested the digital solution in a pilot phase. All potential issues were checked using an internally developed test guide. Starting in July of this year, the app is now available to all tenants in the app stores (Google Play Store and Apple Store). The tenants’ portal can also be accessed via all commonly used browsers (e.g. Edge, Mozilla, Chrome, Safari). The advantages are clear: all matters relating to the rental relationship can be handled easily and quickly from anywhere and at any time via PC, tablet or smartphone.
Self-service is an unbeatable convenience for tenants and a noticeable workload reduction for DOGEWO21 employees. Questions and concerns are received and processed centrally. The solution eliminates long travel and communication paths as well as media breaks. The current processing status of a request can be viewed at any time. Forms and documents can be accessed and requested 24 hours a day. Defect reports, as well, are as simple and transparent as ever. Tenants can report their concerns with photos and view scheduled maintenance appointments.
Armin Freitag, head of IT and organisational development at DOGEWO21, on the all-round solution for tenants: “We’re already noticing an enormous process improvement. This is confirmed by the very positive feedback from our employees and our tenants. Lean, transparent processes makes things easier for our employees for one thing. For another, tenants want simple self-service options and an uncomplicated way of contacting us. Regardless of the pandemic, people communicate with different means than they used to – across all generations. We recently received feedback from an 80 year-old tenant who was very pleased with the intuitive operation of our tenant app.”
A workshop for phase 3 is planned in order to assess the experience and efficiency improvements to date, as well as to initiate further measures and steps. It will also incorporate new topics compiled by the employees during the project. This will pave the way for the system’s further development into a completely tailored solution for tenants.