Beacon Communities Enhances Work Order Experience and Improves Operational Efficiencies with Mobile Doorman Apps

In early 2019, Beacon Communities was looking to strengthen connections with its residents through improved communication and convenience.

After 10 years of using an online resident portal, resident usage of the system was still lagging behind expectations. The majority of residents paid rent through the portal, but they only occasionally logged in to submit work orders or engage with the community. Beacon’s leadership team wanted to enhance resident engagement and provide a more efficient and convenient experience for both residents and leasing teams.

That’s when they found Mobile Doorman.

In the first quarter of 2019, Beacon Communities introduced customized, community branded apps from Mobile Doorman that literally put the apartment living experience at residents’ fingertips.

“We were looking for ways that we could, without spending a ton of money, offer up convenience to our residents and also enhance communication. The more we’re communicating with our residents, the more connected they’re going to feel,” said John Reardon, vice president of marketing at Beacon Communities. “If they feel connected, the more likely that they’re going to renew when the time comes.”

Making Strides in Maintenance

While Mobile Doorman apps enhance and simplify numerous aspects of apartment living, one option jumped out at Reardon.

“One of the big things for me was the work order feature,” Reardon said. “It may seem like a little thing, but for me it was really the main priority. For whatever reason, people would not go into the resident portal and put in work orders online, which meant a lot of time taken from our onsite teams with answering the phones, entering the orders manually into the property management system and answering emails. It also leads to a higher likelihood of things falling between the cracks.”

An improved adoption rate was almost instant with Mobile Doorman’s implementation.

“We saw a pretty dramatic uptick in online work orders immediately when we rolled out,” Reardon said. “That first month, we saw positive data come through and it continued to trend up.”

"In the last 30 days alone, more than 170 maintenance requests were submitted via Beacon resident apps from Mobile Doorman, equating to more than $3,000 worth of working hours saved for onsite staff"

Leasing teams were trained to introduce Mobile Doorman at lease signings, which quickly began to shift the paradigm and establish the app as the standard method for submitting work orders.

In the last 30 days alone, more than 170 maintenance requests were submitted via Beacon resident apps from Mobile Doorman, equating to more than $3,000 worth of working hours saved for onsite staff having to field work order calls and logging within internal systems.

Pondside at Littleton in Littleton, MA

A New Engagement Driver

One unexpected benefit of the shift to the Mobile Doorman apps has been the noticeable increase in resident feedback.

“Residents message us through the app consistently about things happening every day. Maybe there are slight improvements they want to see or questions they have about certain systems,” said Beacon Communities Customer Experience Manager Connor Duffy. “We can get them answers quickly and accurately in that kind of medium. The residents absolutely love it.”

Not only are residents able to more easily engage with their communities about more general issues, but they also are more inclined to provide valuable – and often morale-boosting – feedback about individual team members.

“Before, these work orders would go into the property management system, and it all kind of happened behind the curtain. The resident would go home, their stuff is fixed, and the maintenance person never really gets a thank you,” Reardon said. “Now, because it’s so incredibly easy for residents to reach out, we’ve started seeing residents actually writing, ‘Thanks, this is great!’ Just a simple thing like that. When we share that with the maintenance teams, it’s actually a pretty good engagement driver. It helps fill their tanks back up and really motivates them when they see that people do actually appreciate their work.”

Paying for Itself

With the rollout of Mobile Doorman, leasing teams felt a burden lifted right away when it came to work orders. So, Beacon decided to measure the actual man hours the app had freed up.

“We created a calculation involving the number of work orders being requested through the Mobile Doorman system, and how that compared to our site team members manually entering a work order,” Duffy said. “We found that we were saving thousands of dollars and paying for the platform with the labor hours that we save when our associates don’t have to manually record and create work orders.”

The transition from traditional emails to push notifications through residents’ phones also has made a big difference in the resident experience. 

“Today’s residents live their lives through their phones, and they spend much of that time in mobile apps. We should be striving to meet them there,” Duffy said. “Meeting them there is not sending emails. That’s a completely different medium than truly communicating through push notifications right through your phone. If we can meet them where they’re living digitally, we want to be there. Mobile Doorman helps us to get there.”