We wanted to know how many people haven’t received a package because of poor communication from their building so we recently conducted a survey to find out!

We asked people about how they interact with their building including monthly payments, maintenance requests, and package notifications. We learned that buildings have not adopted mobile technology to provide residents these simple conveniences on their smartphones.

For example, among people who rent, 44 percent still pay their monthly dues by writing a check. Checks are a hassle. They get lost in the mail. They take time to process at the bank. “Electronic banking is not for everyone,” one might argue. Well, of the same people we surveyed 85 percent said they had checked their bank account and/or paid their credit card bill via an app on their smartphone in the last month.

bank chart

Maintenance requests have a similar story. We found that approximately half our respondents submit maintenance requests via the building’s website (28 percent) or an email to the manager (21 percent). But the other half are submitted either via a phone call to management or by letting someone at the front desk know.

We think verbal communication is a good thing, but we also learned that 67 percent of our respondents made a restaurant reservation and 72 percent ordered a taxi or car service via an app on their smartphone in the previous month. We know it’s not apples-to-apples, but clearly the urban dwellers we surveyed like the ability to schedule and track services on their mobile devices.

maintenance chart

So what about packages? For package delivery we found that 28 percent of our respondents have had a package received late or lost altogether because of poor communication from their building. Only 18 percent said they receive email notifications when a package arrives. The most common method was an old-fashioned note on the mailbox. Other notifications included phone calls, the doorman telling the resident, delivery to the unit door (!), or no message at all (!?!?). A note on a mailbox is good, a notification directly on a smartphone is better.

package chart

Buildings can create better living experiences while improving efficiency at the same time – the opportunity is there for the taking by using mobile technology. Communication and management practices are antiquated, or at least not fully updated. For example, more people in our survey reported receiving notes under their door than emails from management about important building updates. But even emails have become less efficient. Your residents are mobile, is your building?

Results are based on an online survey conducted in March 2014 with 193 people, 138 of whom lived in multi-unit buildings.