Is block management being left behind?

Posted on Friday, March 1, 2019

Who knows what the next decade will bring? It’s impossible to tell. But one thing is for sure: technology is here to stay – unless something really drastic goes wrong, but we’ll probably have other concerns in that case!

The way that people interact with each other is changing, well, really, it’s already changed. Block management is currently at risk of being left behind. It’s seen by some as a bit old fashioned, unwilling to get its head around new trends, dismissing them as fads. Block management sometimes seems to think that the peak of new technology was the coming of email, but technology has moved on so much since then.

What does proptech mean?

A widely shared and agreed upon description comes from entrepreneur James Dearsley: “Proptech is one small part of a wider digital transformation in the property industry. It considers both the technological and mentality change of the real estate industry, and its consumers to our attitudes, movements and transactions involving both buildings and cities”

Proptech can seem like a buzzword but really it’s just another word for the sort of technology all businesses are embracing: automation and improvement of processes. If something time-consuming can be done by a machine more quickly, then that’s a great thing because it frees people up to do work that technology will never replace… human interaction.

I’ll repeat that because it’s important – proptech is not going to take your jobs! It’s going to make your jobs more useful and valuable if you embrace it. There are some really inspiring pioneers out there who have joyfully adopted technology in their business which allows their property managers the opportunity to do the very best job possible.

Why age matters

Block management is still seen as quite traditional but the expectations of the main age groups of those interacting with it is changing. One of these groups is the millennial generation. The definition of what millennial is varies but roughly it means someone born between the early 1980s and mid 1990s. They will soon make up 50% of the workforce and by 2030 they’re expected to make up 75%. Millennials may have been slow getting on the property ladder but they are on their way up and they’re also making their way through businesses – almost certainly including yours.

They’re bringing with them a passion and expectation for technology. Millennials are baffled by the fact that as a leaseholder in a block management property they often receive all information via letter. This is not how they are used to behaving. Whilst it is true there are legal obligations to deliver letters in certain cases, that doesn’t mean that’s the only way to interact. Often these letters go unread or are immediately forgotten. Email, or an online portal for documents, is different. These can be accessed by the leaseholder at anytime, are much harder to lose and harder to prove they’ve never received. At the very least, why not offer both? A letter AND an email/access to the document online.

That’s just a simple starting example. Whatever you think about companies like Uber, Amazon or even online banking, these are all completely normal to this generation. And it’s rubbing off on the older generation too: 96% of baby boomers use email and they also regularly shop online.

Baby boomers and millennials cover the vast majority of those coming into contact with block managers (remember the oldest baby boomers are now in their 70s). They are all embracing technology in a variety of ways. So you should too!

Embrace the change

Your stakeholders have expectations. They expect to interact with all companies, including yours, online. They expect to be able to access all relevant information online and while they’re on the move. They expect to be able to report issues to you 24/7 and hear back from you as quickly as possible, not within seven to 10 working days via post. Their expectations are incredibly high and it can seem overwhelming to keep up with them.

One of the most impressive things about the block management industry is the care and attention those working in it have towards those they interact with. You are clearly a people-person who loves solving problems, otherwise you wouldn’t be working in this industry.

Proptech offers better repair reporting systems, software that manages accounts and administration and ways to ensure compliance is always in place; all of which means that your companies can be proactive instead of reactive.

That’s why proptech is the best secret weapon you’ll ever use. It allows you to ensure that your stakeholders’ experiences are the most effective they can be. It means you can add that personal touch because your time is freed up as you’re not manually putting issues into a spreadsheet.Creating relationships can’t be done by proptech. That’s your speciality and this is your time to shine!

Clare Burroughs is marketing manager at Fixflo

Via News on the Block