Continuous Improvement: How Focusing on Customer Satisfaction Also Boosts Employee Morale
“In everything we do, we focus on our residents and customers first.” This is a common phrase used by Avenue Living’s Chief Investment Officer, Jason Jogia, and a sentiment that reverberates throughout the organization. This laser focus on the customer drives our investment strategy, our approach to service, and our operations as a whole.
Since 2006, we’ve learned that superior customer service requires ongoing adaptation from our team. Employee satisfaction and customer satisfaction are uniquely linked; when a process is smooth and easy for our leasing specialists, maintenance associates, or regional portfolio managers, it usually means it’s convenient for our customers.
“We centre our operations around the customer and employee experience. We want to make tasks easier for everyone,” says Winford Rader, Vice President of Continuous Improvement. “Creating efficiencies means doing our research, evaluating the tools we’re using, and aligning our teams to best serve our customers.”
Avenue Living’s Continuous Improvement department develops better processes for our team and customers. Officially formed in 2019, the group of almost 20 includes business analysts, data analysts, and operational efficiency experts. They break procedures down and examine how each component can be streamlined. And sometimes, they uncover simple, time-saving solutions to a host of challenges.
The property management industry is in the middle of significant change, as new technology and changing customer needs push managers to consider how to attract and retain residents. The Entrata 2022 Renter’s Report notes that 62 per cent of renters surveyed prefer interaction with a real person — and it builds greater trust. Renters listed responsiveness, ability to give feedback (renter input), and face-to-face interaction as the top items they wanted their property manager to improve.
For Avenue Living, delivering industry-leading customer service has been a key differentiator from the very beginning. Providing a positive experience means re-examining our processes and adapting, whether it’s improving our response time to maintenance calls (99 per cent of which are fully resolved within 1.85 days) or making showings, rental applications, or the leasing process easier.
Sometimes the solutions to our biggest challenges lie in the smallest details.
Using data to drive improvement
The Continuous Improvement department looks at data from numerous sources, such as Google My Business, and Yardi Voyager to consolidate one “curated, validated, and trusted source of data.” With this one source of truth in hand, teams across the Avenue Living platform can begin to see where processes are performing well and where improvements can be made.
“It’s easy to get hung up on how we’ve historically done things,” says Winford Rader. “But sometimes asking the right questions and understanding the end result can help us arrive at an improved destination sooner.”
Humanity + Technology
The insight we get from front-line interactions between our residents and our Regional Portfolio Managers (RPMs), leasing specialists, and maintenance associates has led to simple solutions that can have a big impact. For example, improving the outcome of the leasing process by tailoring appointments to times when potential residents are most available, or creating tools that allow a smoother application and signing process.
The Continuous Improvement team works in tandem with business units across the organization to arrive at solutions, rather than prescribing them. The team gathers data and provides analysis that allows each group to determine a feasible endpoint. This collaborative effort creates greater buy-in and personal investment in the results.
Smoothing out these processes often has reduced costs by eliminating redundant efforts. Innovation that allows our team to save even minutes a day has a significant impact throughout the calendar year. Coupled with responsive customer service and a focus on retention, it has helped us create value for our investors, today and in the future.
The Continuous Improvement team allows us to think strategically and see how our end-to-end customer service processes work together. As the market evolves and resident demands change, we’re able to respond more effectively and work toward a shared vision that serves our customers, employees, and investors.
This commentary and the information contained herein are for educational and informational purposes only and do not constitute an offer to sell, or a solicitation of an offer to buy, any securities or related financial instruments. This article may contain forward-looking statements. Readers should refer to information contained on our website at https://www.avenuelivingam.com/forward-looking-statements for additional information regarding forward-looking statements and certain risks associated with them.