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Sarah Dawson, What is the cost of not getting the most from your software

Your property management software is probably such an ingrained habit for the people in your business that you don’t think about how you’re using it. The use of the system becomes so routine that most people don’t consider that there might be a better way to do things. But what if there was? With the rate that technology is changing and improving, there could be a way to do a task that currently takes you 5 minutes in only 30 seconds; you just don’t know about it yet.

Sarah Dawson, Account Management Team Lead at Rockend, believes that about 80% of agencies are only using 60% or less of their property management software. While that may seem shocking, Sarah has found that to be the case in many offices, with over 21 years of experience working in the real estate industry and 14 years working at Rockend.

In her experience, Sarah says that, “A lot of offices are missing out on key functions that will help them increase their bottom line, streamline their processes and automate their mundane tasks.” It could be that property managers have simply not been exposed to the functionality that allows this, whether it be through missing an upgrade or just not having the time to implement a new feature. Time is a precious commodity in the property management industry but it is important to consider the opportunity cost of not implementing new features in your property management software. Chris West of Raine & Horne Commercial Northern Beaches recently implemented some of the latest features in their property management software, REST Professional, and has said that it has changed the way that their property management department is run. In regards to the efficiency of individual property managers, Chris said that, “It’s really helped by streamlining their day to day tasks. They can now click two buttons instead of printing out 100 letters and things like that.” The efficiency that the office has gained by implementing the latest features of the software that they are already investing in is astounding.

In addition to gaining immediate efficiencies, taking full advantage of your property management software can help you to provide a better service to your customers. If you are working more efficiently or you are able to offer a point of difference through your software, then you will always be more likely to secure business. It’s also about retention.

Sarah states that, “You are also more likely to retain the business because you are servicing your clients to a level that perhaps your competitors aren’t.”

So how do you know if you’re using enough of your software? Sarah has found that, “Once we sit down and have a business conversation with an agency about features that they may be missing out on and how they could implement these to improve their day to day use of the software, most people are surprised by what they could be doing and how things could change in their office.”

Sarah has some key tips on how you can find out if you’re using your software to its potential. Firstly, run some simple reports. Think KPI reports and business summary reports. Reports like these can give you an insight into your data (and its integrity) and help you capture what you might be missing. Once you find the gaps,

you can begin improving your data integrity. Next is training. Training is key to using any software to its full extent.

Thirdly, Sarah’s advice is to speak to your software supplier about how to find out which areas need work. “You don’t know what you don’t know,” says Sarah. “Call your supplier and ask the question. At Rockend, your account manager will come and talk to you about your business goals and how Rockend can help you achieve them. We find that we can always identify areas for improvement, whether it be through staff training or use of software.”

When asked specifically how Rockend helps their clients get the most out of their software, Sarah spoke about several options, including a conversation with an account manager, as well as the implementation of several new learning options. “We run courses that are specific to software upgrades, so clients can learn how to implement and use the new features immediately. We’re also building online webinars and half day classroom courses that are focused on specific areas that our clients may have missed.” A self assessment checklist is also in the works so clients can review what they are using and identify the gaps, then follow a specific training plan. To meet the demand of clients for an in depth review of their system, Rockend has released a new product called a Peak Performance Review. The premise of the Peak Performance Review is to review each individual function of REST Professional, but it also looks at the property management processes and can go as far as benchmarking and risk and compliance. According to Sarah, “It’s about identifying areas for improvement. We look at the function of the software, observe how it is being used in that particular office, then make a recommendation on how that process can be improved. Following that, we develop a quarterly action plan for the financial year that focuses on how to increase revenue, productivity and use of the program.” Chris West used this product to identify inefficacies at Raine & Horne Commercial Northern Beaches. Chris has said that, “The results of the Peak Performance Review speak for themselves. Our property managers are armed with more knowledge now so they’re working smarter as opposed to working harder.”

At the end of the day, technology should be doing at least one of two things; either saving you time or saving you money. Ideally, it should be doing both. You’ve already made the investment in your property management software so make sure you’re getting the most out of it. So, call your software supplier and start the conversation about how you could be working smarter.

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Sarah Dawson, What is the cost