Resident communication tools, Reporting
National Multifamily Developer Trammell Crow Residential Boosts Revenue, Resident Satisfaction With SightPlan
Resident communication tools, Reporting
Trammell Crow Residential (TCR), the national multifamily development company of Crow Holdings, was seeking to enhance and modernize communication with residents. Paper notices and emails had become less effective as the preferences and practices of the modern renter continued to evolve.
“Everybody operates from a smartphone these days,” said Deborah Gaffney, VP of asset management for TCR. “We have found our residents universally prefer to use their phones and expect to receive updates, submit service requests and rent payments through a fast and easy to use app.”
TCR also wanted to ensure that its teams had the ability to reach residents in real-time during special situations, as well as provide a platform for their residents to submit and track maintenance requests during such events.
Gaffney, who used SightPlan while overseeing TCR assets during her tenure at Greystar and Riverstone Residential, knew that the broad capabilities of SightPlan create efficiencies not found in other software applications.
“I’ve used SightPlan for years and have consistently seen that the properties that weren’t on SightPlan weren’t run as efficiently in terms of communication and service requests,” Gaffney said. “SightPlan’s offerings and capabilities are more extensive than competitor programs. They are committed to keeping their system current and relevant to respond to resident needs and preferences and continue to improve their offerings and add new products. SightPlan excels at rolling out the Operations Suite and the app and training the onsite teams from day one so that they’re fully utilizing the platform.”
TCR initially tested the SightPlan Operations Suite at three communities before rolling it out across its entire portfolio.
“The initial roll-out was primarily focused around service requests and ease for residents, the maintenance team and the office team,” Gaffney said. “The implementation evolved from there into preventive maintenance and inspections.”
Gaffney uses SightPlan to conduct weekly audits of unresolved tasks, as well as onsite team communications with residents.
“As an asset manager, being able to easily see what communication is being sent out — regardless of which property management system we’re using — and what tasks are still open is invaluable,” Gaffney said.
The impact on initial test properties was extremely positive.
average NOI improvement among the three properties
saved annually in expenses per unit after the initial implementation of SightPlan
The initial rollout of operational best practices saved TCR $246 annually in expenses per unit. It also delivered an average NOI improvement of $71,832 amongst the three pilot properties through opportunities identified via SightPlan to streamline processes and better utilize resources.
After SightPlan was deployed portfolio-wide, data continued to show a significant reduction in expenses, increased NOI, improvements in maintenance service and higher resident satisfaction scores.
“The preventive maintenance and the inspections are really beneficial in the long-term and have a positive impact on expenses and the bottom line,” Gaffney said. “SightPlan even helps with resident retention. Residents love the ease of the app and communication tools which translates to strong resident satisfaction scores.”
TCR has relied on SightPlan for day-to-day communication and service workflow and have found it especially useful during urgent or emergency situations.
“The resident communication tool is really helpful during special situations, whether it’s Covid-19 or a natural disaster,” Gaffney said. “When Hurricane Harvey hit the Houston area in 2017, SightPlan was invaluable in facilitating our ability to communicate with residents in real-time.”
She also noted that TCR’s branded Alexan Life app, a private label app powered by SightPlan, makes tasks seamless for residents.
gain in asset value
With the pilot properties, TCR experienced an average $1.4 million gain in asset value, at a 5% cap rate.
Four years after the SightPlan implementation, Gaffney said the answering service, communication tools and service platform are all utilized daily by the teams at TCR communities to improve the lives of residents.
"Our teams love SightPlan and the residents love the convenience of the app. I honestly don’t know how our teams would function without it now."
SightPlan also delivers customized touchpoint and one-time surveys through its communications platform to help TCR better gauge resident satisfaction. TCR streamlines its survey program across all assets to gain valuable insights on management performance, policies and practices.
increase in its resident satisfaction survey score
above its indexed benchmark for appearance and condition
TCR saw an 8.5% increase in its resident satisfaction survey score and jumped 12% above its indexed benchmark for appearance and condition.
responsiveness score improvement
first-attempt maintenance task completion rate
TCR’s maintenance responsiveness score improved by 9.5%, and its first-attempt maintenance task completion rate increased by 7%.
Those increases can largely be attributed to the increased maintenance efficiency and preventive maintenance through the use of SightPlan.
The surveys offer valuable insights on resident preferences, which has allowed TCR to refine its future development programming to improve the resident experience in new communities.