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Taking it online: How technology can drive connections between property managers and residents

Our Chief Operating Officer, David Young discusses how technology can drive connections between property managers and residents, and help bring communities together.

When managing residential properties, it is important to place people and their day-to-day experiences as the number one priority. Increasingly, we’re seeing that developing a sense of community and providing the space to foster positive neighbourly relationships is a key factor in creating somewhere people want to move to and stay.

Connecting Communities

Today, technology is an essential part of building community connections. Recent research we commissioned at FirstPort showed that a third of Brits (33%) thank tech for giving them a sense of local community, with 54% saying they exchange more messages with neighbours now than pre-pandemic.

It also emerged that three in ten (30%) feel using online platforms has helped tackle crime in their area, and four in 10 (45%) said they feel safer having a strong neighbour network around them. As managing agents, the responsibility lies with us to ensure residents feel safe and secure in their homes, and tech can play a huge role in this by giving people the opportunity to share intel in real-time.

Helpful Technology

We understand the pandemic has been a catalyst in bonding our communities, and people now value neighbourhood connections more than ever. We need to encourage and support our residents to continue to build relationships using community forums. At the same time, property managers can harness this use of tech to connect with residents and strengthen their relationships with the community. There is a great opportunity to use technology as an enabler to help improve the human experience of living in a managed property.

At FirstPort, we’re investing in our own technology so that we’re responding to how our customers want to interact with us too. We have launched The FirstPort Way which is a gamechanger in opening up conversations between residents and their property manager, and allowing them to access information and updates how and when they want. Issues such as a repair needed within a development can be flagged immediately, and residents can then track the progress of the solution. On the flip side, it connects the property manager to the resident, allowing them to create a timely and accurate response, as well as enabling them to access their account history and files to give them a wider understanding of the situation.

Property management is about people, not just buildings and the research has hammered home that, to align with residents’ needs, managing agents must have communication channels which are both effective and support good neighbourly relations. This is to the benefit of all parties, as having happy customers that socialise boosts the value of where they live. One in three (32%) Brits would pay a £10,000 premium for a property if it guaranteed good neighbours, while 32% wouldn’t consider moving because they get on so well with those living nearby.

However, whilst we should enjoy the benefits of technology, we shouldn’t lose sight of the power of face-to-face meeting for building a meaningful rapport. Despite the increasing number of neighbours connected online, we understand that not everyone uses tech the same way. The research also shows that face to face connection is still as important as ever as nearly a third (31%) would like to catch up with their neighbours over food and drink. Our aim is to make sure our residents have options that allow them to connect with their communities in the best way for them and this extends to communicating with their property managers, so we are here for them however and whenever they need us.

This article was originally posted on Property Week on 1st November 2021.

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