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Meeting expectations – how the pandemic pushed many property managers online

Spike Global’s, CEO, Jeremy Heath-Smith, features in May’s Showhouse magazine where he talks about how the pandemic has pushed many property managers online, and why house-hunters are increasingly interested in what their community is like, who their neighbours are, what support and services are immediately available to them and, by moving into a new home, how their lifestyle can be enriched. 

Read the full article here.

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Building community engagement – why a resident portal has become a necessity

Fuelled by the rise of social media, where users can create meaningful interactions with members of their local community, connecting with neighbours online has quickly become the new norm. With face-to-face contact limited over the last year, this has accelerated the trend towards increased digital engagement. Developers have found a need to instil a sense of community through resident portals and mobile apps, providing much needed social interaction for residents, as well as access to services.  

It’s proven that residents who are engaged with their local community are often happier than those who are not, and tend to post beaming reviews about where they live on websites like HomeViews. These reviews can help attract new prospects and keep occupancy rates high. And since influencer marketing is becoming increasingly important, having residents as champions is an effective tactic if you want to increase interest in your property, whilst reducing your marketing spend.

Having helpful and friendly on-site staff can play a role in keeping residents happy and engaged, but how do you ensure your staff are interacting with every resident? That’s where online portals and apps can help – enabling your team to offer that ‘personal’ experience to all residents equally.

We outline the reasons why resident portals have become a necessity for driving engagement, rather than just a luxury.

Enhance your events

Holding regular social events is crucial in allowing friendships between neighbours to blossom. Research by Apartment Life found that the more friends a resident have within their building, the more likely they are to renew their lease. Without any friends living in their community, residents only have a 29% chance of renewing. That number jumps to 38% if they have 1-3 friends, and if they have 7 or more friends, there’s a 47% likelihood that they’ll renew.

More often or not, your on-site staff already recognise the importance for residents to connect, and likely already offer regular social events. With a resident app, community managers can communicate the details of the event, and via a bookings tool built into the portal, gain an accurate idea of how many residents to expect.

Resident portals also offer ways for residents to interact with each other outside of social events, thanks to features like clubs and forums. Residents can post their own event announcements with neighbours – we’ve seen residents start their own book clubs, and even arrange communal BBQs and cooking classes. Considering Spike connects more than 200,000 residents with their local communities, it’s highly likely your residents would appreciate their own community mobile app if you were to offer it.

Enable your residents to self-serve 

Gone are the days where residents have the time (or desire) to pop downstairs to speak to concierge or phone a specific number at a certain time to get the information they need. They want things done when it suits them, without having to involve anyone else. A mobile portal enables residents to complete important life admin, like paying rent, booking the gym or swimming pool, reading the latest community announcements – without having to rely on anyone else.

To some, the notion of self-service increasing resident engagement may seem counterintuitive. However, on-demand services deliver better efficiency for both residents and on-site staff while at the same time providing a more personalised experience.

Improve communication between residents and on-site staff

Without a mobile app, when residents want to report an issue with their property or building, they will either need to wait until the next time they pass concierge or send a dreaded email that seems to always go unanswered. This might not be an issue if they are reporting a minor issue such as a light being out, but if there’s a water leak, you want to be alerted straight away. Mobile apps speed up the communication in these instances and provide your maintenance staff with better details about the task ahead. By using Spike Living, all enquiries and defect tickets can be logged centrally, as well as being tracked and shared between teams, keeping the resident informed at all times.

The same can apply when wanting to communicate directly with residents. Mobile apps enable the in-house team to provide real-time alerts, notifying residents when a lift is out-of-service, or a package needing to be collected from reception. Or more importantly, sending out an urgent push notification informing residents within minutes about an immediate danger, such as a fire in their block, so they can take the necessary action such as evacuating the building. 

Connecting residents with their local communities

When a resident moves into your building, they may be unfamiliar with the surrounding area. Connecting them with shops and services, or details that can bring convenience to their lives is a great way of ensuring residents feel engaged from the offset. Many customers team up with local businesses to offer special discounts to their residents on anything from cleaning services, dog walkers, to local restaurants. If you are already doing this, great, it’s something else that can be housed in your resident engagement portal, so it’s easily accessible to all.

Learn how Spike is working with a growing number of customers to drive resident engagement and satisfaction by downloading our brochure below.

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Spike Global partners with Flatfair to enhance BTR Resident Experience

Spike Global are excited to announce that we have partnered with rental payments technology firm, flatfair, to further streamline the rental experience of residents. The integrated solution has been launched at EcoWorld’s Build to Rent scheme Barking Wharf Square, which is managed by Apo.

Spike’s CEO, Jeremy Heath-Smith comments:

“Here at Spike, we are committed to improving the community and overall rental experience. During lockdown, meaningful technology has never been more important in keeping people connected.”

“We have worked closely with flatfair to deliver a bespoke platform designed to make the Apo tenancy journey simple from start to finish, making residents’ daily lives easier and connecting them to amenities, services and community support at the touch of a button.”

Spike Global’s reservations and lettings software manages a resident’s journey from reservation to enquiry and through to move in. Its residents’ portal, Spike Living, then manages a range of functions that enhance the resident experience once a resident has moved in. Residents can access concierge services, get to know neighbours through social clubs and forums, browse blogs and articles and keep up to date with the latest community updates. Management staff also use the system for process and building management functions.

The new partnership will see flatfair assist with the resident onboarding process, adding referencing services to the list of available Spike Global products. It will also enable Apo residents to sign up for flatfair’s No Deposit solution, which allows them to pay a one-off membership fee equal to one week’s rent (+VAT) at the start of their tenancy, authorise their debit card and settle bills at the end – similar to hotel’s check in and out.

The firm says doing away with upfront deposits – which on average cost renters in London more than £1,500 – means they can move into their new homes quicker. Once they move out, charges are settled quickly on a pay-as-you-leave basis. 

Franz Doerr, CEO at flatfair adds:

“Both flatfair and Spike share the common goal – to streamline the rental experience for everyone, making it fairer and more transparent for all parties.”

“Working together, we hope to set a new benchmark for tenants in the Build to Rent sector, ensuring the onboarding process is as simple, straightforward and efficient as possible for Apo residents. 

“We are also thrilled to be able to offer Apo residents access to our No Deposit solution, which has already saved thousands of renters across Britain more than £10m in up-front costs.”

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Spike Workplace Launch: Portico

Portico, a leading guest relations and concierge company with more than 800 staff members dotted across 120 locations throughout the UK and Ireland, have launched a Spike Workplace app. The firm wanted to launch an engagement platform linked to its own systems that connected its entire workforce. The portal acts as a platform for communicating company updates, events and initiatives. 

Portico Spike Global App

Amanda Baber, Director, Business Development at Portico, said: We had already planned to launch our engagement app in 2020 prior to the pandemic, which made it even more important for us to connect with our people, who were working at home, in the office or furloughed. In a short space of time, we are already receiving hugely positive feedback from our staff members and real engagement in the forums and social groups, which we have created on the platform. We plan to add additional functionality to our app to further embed a culture that empowers our people.”

Spike looks forward to working with Portico to continue this success. 

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Spike Workplace Launch: Portico

Portico, a leading guest relations and concierge company with more than 800 staff members dotted across 120 locations throughout the UK and Ireland, have launched a Spike Workplace app. The firm wanted to launch an engagement platform linked to its own systems that connected its entire workforce. The portal acts as a platform for communicating company updates, events and initiatives. 

Portico Spike Global App

Amanda Baber, Director, Business Development at Portico, said: We had already planned to launch our engagement app in 2020 prior to the pandemic, which made it even more important for us to connect with our people, who were working at home, in the office or furloughed. In a short space of time, we are already receiving hugely positive feedback from our staff members and real engagement in the forums and social groups, which we have created on the platform. We plan to add additional functionality to our app to further embed a culture that empowers our people.”

Spike looks forward to working with Portico to continue this success. 

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Resident portal touch-less solution: Pocket Living

Pocket Living, a London-based property developer that offers well-designed and affordable homes to local first-time buyers, uses Spike Global’s app-based software, Spike Living, to provide residents at its developments with a touch-less property management service. Pocket Living also use the resident portal to connect their residents to one another, using the software to build community and encourage social interaction within their developments. 

A TOUCH-LESS SOLUTION

 

Without the need for on-site staff, the experience is completely digital and Covid-safe. Residents are able to submit general enquiries via the app. This could be anything from advice about a local service to an issue in their home. 

Requests are directed straight through to the back-office management system where the query is logged and categorised. Staff can then reply to the query, copy in a contractor, mark as resolved or ask for more information. All communication happens through the system and goes directly to the resident app. The sophisticated system means all queries generated can be tracked, logged and analysed depending on the need of the building operator.

The software increases efficiencies and optimises workflows, empowering Pocket Living to deliver a premium customer service to their residents.

“Keeping our residents connected via the app has proved invaluable during recent times. The app has enabled us to continue to build successful communities whilst providing a simple, digital solution to raise any queries that residents may have about their home.” 

Lorna Evans, Head of Customer Experience at Pocket Living.  

Creating a buzzing community 

Alongside the practical elements of a touch-less solution, the portal also keeps Pocket residents connected to each other. Pocket’s portal supports social interaction and community building through clubs and forums. Residents can find like-minded residents and chat with neighbours, or reach out for support, from the palm of their hands. 

To find out more about how Spike could help your business, simply submit the form below and a member of the team will be in touch shortly.

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Resident portal touch-less solution: Pocket Living

Pocket Living, a London-based property developer that offers well-designed and affordable homes to local first-time buyers, uses Spike Global’s app-based software, Spike Living, to provide residents at its developments with a touch-less property management service. Pocket Living also use the resident portal to connect their residents to one another, using the software to build community and encourage social interaction within their developments. 

A TOUCH-LESS SOLUTION

 

Without the need for on-site staff, the experience is completely digital and Covid-safe. Residents are able to submit general enquiries via the app. This could be anything from advice about a local service to an issue in their home. 

Requests are directed straight through to the back-office management system where the query is logged and categorised. Staff can then reply to the query, copy in a contractor, mark as resolved or ask for more information. All communication happens through the system and goes directly to the resident app. The sophisticated system means all queries generated can be tracked, logged and analysed depending on the need of the building operator.

The software increases efficiencies and optimises workflows, empowering Pocket Living to deliver a premium customer service to their residents.

“Keeping our residents connected via the app has proved invaluable during recent times. The app has enabled us to continue to build successful communities whilst providing a simple, digital solution to raise any queries that residents may have about their home.” 

Lorna Evans, Head of Customer Experience at Pocket Living.  

Creating a buzzing community 

Alongside the practical elements of a touch-less solution, the portal also keeps Pocket residents connected to each other. Pocket’s portal supports social interaction and community building through clubs and forums. Residents can find like-minded residents and chat with neighbours, or reach out for support, from the palm of their hands. 

To find out more about how Spike could help your business, simply submit the form below and a member of the team will be in touch shortly.

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Tenant Engagement Software and getting workforces back to the office

Monday August 3rd, marked an important milestone in the COVID-19 crisis, as people were encouraged to return to the office for the first time. However, many organisations choose to keep their workforces at home. We then saw a series of tiered restrictive systems followed by two full national lockdowns, meaning office working was off the cards once again. 

As we look towards the future with cautious optimism businesses are starting to plan their return to the office. Studies indicate people will not return until they are reassured it’s safe to do so. Could tenant engagement software be key to getting people back to the office?

Blended working  

A recent survey found that three in five British employees are itching to get back to the office. However, many participants say they would like to work from home more often once the pandemic is over. This indicates that people see the benefits of working from home, but the argument simply isn’t as straight forward as one or the other. Moving forward offices will need to cater for a hybrid workforce. 

As occupants cycle between remote and in-office working, its critical landlords build occupant confidence with communication and the right systems in place. Occupants will expect more information, safety processes and clear communication from landlords and building managers. Buildings will need to adapt operations to ensure a safe, clean working environment for occupants.

Alongside operational challenges businesses will need to engage workforces remotely, finding ways to build company culture despite this new way of working. 

Evolution of the office

The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the evolution of the office. As a result, technology is playing important role in keeping productivity high and workforces happy and safe. 

Asset-owners need to understand people’s priorities have changed as a result of the pandemic and adapt quickly to remain competitive. They need to position the office as a connected, safe and inclusive environment for occupants who are in the office or at home, and rebuild their trust. 

By offering tenant engagement software that connects occupants to staff a the touch of a button, has contact free hot desk and meeting-room booking systems and social clubs and forums which encourage peer-to-peer relationships, asset-owners can reassure businesses and support occupants in these uncertain times. 

Spike’s Tenant Engagement Software, Spike Workplace, combines tenant engagement and building management functionality. The software keeps occupants engaged whilst improving building efficiencies. 

SPIKE WORKPLACE AND THE NEW WAY OF WORKING

In response to the ongoing pandemic, Spike Global has just launched its new Spike Workplace application. The software helps companies and landlords promote a connected culture while the majority of office-based employees are working from home. The software will help companies and landlords adapt to a ‘blended’ way of working moving forward. Where we see employees cycle between remote and in-office working.

Spike’s workplace portal builds and manages buzzing, supportive communities where users can form meaningful connections. Companies can nurture the office culture virtually through social clubs, forums and events, keep occupants engaged with up-to-date news and articles. Importantly, employers can ensure staff are as settled and supported as possible by offering preventative health and well-being initiatives and support forums. Spike have also partnered with well-being provider Antidote, to offer further well-being services directly from their portal. 

Long-term social engagement to create a sense of wellbeing and identity is a key element of what the software provides.

To find out more about our Workplace portal, complete the enquiry form below and a consultant will be touch shortly.

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Resident Engagement – 5 Tips to Strengthen yours

As Spike’s Community Manager, I’ve pulled together five simple things PRS operatorsproperty managersasset managers, developers and home builders should consider when putting together a resident engagement plan. These actions will boost engagement levels and ultimately help you nurture content, loyal residents who want to occupy your spaces for longer. 

COVID-19 has disrupted every aspect of our lives. For many this change has provoked a priority shift and attitude change. In order to stay competitive, businesses must adapt to these changes and support their residents through these uncertain times. 

Resident Engagement Tips

1. Think beyond traditional face-to-face events.

Six months ago events were likely a large part of your resident engagement strategy. Even with restrictions lifting, residents and staff will be cautious of mass gatherings. Despite restrictions we’ve seen some fantastic innovation with community engagement initiatives. These examples prove it’s still possible to rally together as a community, even from a safe social distance. Moda Living for example hosted a pizza night for their residents, which was launched through their Resident App, My Moda. Moda partnered with a local Italian restaurant to deliver a pizza to each resident who’d signed up, as a treat from Moda. This small act of kindness supported their local community and made residents feel less alone and supported. In the midst of lockdown this was a real boost for their community. 

2. Establish open lines of communication between your staff and residents.

On-site teams play an important role in nurturing your residential community, even if they’re not onsite all the time. Residents need to feel comfortable in approaching staff about problems and/or worries, and feel issues are dealt with quickly and efficiently. After all, happy people make happy spaces and feelings of dissatisfaction can be very disruptive.

Some of our client’s have chosen to set up ‘I’m happy’ and ‘I’m not happy’ forums in their Resident Apps. Residents can then post issues or praise accordingly. Although this might sound risky it gives operators the right to reply to any complaints as a result, and keeps the problem contained. Moreover, it offers residents complete transparency which then translates into trust and loyalty. 

3. Empower residents to socialise outside of organised activities.

Although organised activities and initiatives are important, there will be residents who prefer to socialise with neighbours on their own terms and in their own time. It’s important to give your resident’s choice in how they interact. Since the start of lockdown in March we’ve seen an incredible 700% rise in social interactions across our resident portals. These interactions include comments, likes and messages on social forums and clubs. We’re now seeing these digital interactions  transforming into face-to-face friendships. What is even more encouraging, for instance, is that residents are now creating these forums themselves, creating micro-communities. We’ve seen everything from charity bake-sale forums to poker clubs being created as a result. 

4. Listen to your residents.

Many make the mistake of assuming they know what their residents want, and create a strategy around these assumptions. As a result these efforts are often wasted. Invest in really getting to know your residents. This can be done in a number of ways; Fizzy Living created a service where residents can reach out to their buildings managers to book an hour slot to discuss their life at Fizzy. Building managers then come away with actionable insights to implement moving forward and residents feel heard. Another simple way to do this is by tracking and analysing data from your resident portal, identifying popular subjects, events, discussions and pain-points. 

5. Plan, Track, Analyse, Plan 

Despite the ever-changing landscape it’s still important to plan ahead when it comes to resident engagement. Our in-house Community Engagement Team put together a monthly engagement plan with our clients to map out key activities. Following this, the teams meet at the end of the month to analyse data, spot trends and make changes accordingly. This approach is instrumental in the success of portals. As a result this allows our client’s so stay one step ahead.


To find out more about how Spike could help improve your resident engagement, retention and reputation, simply submit your details below and a member of the team will be in touch shortly. 

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Community Engagement Growth Across Spike

Since February – the last month prior to lockdown – engagement on Spike Living saw over a sevenfold increase in the volume of posts, shares and interactions (March; 712%, April; 680%), covering community outreach, social forums, events and bookings, from a cross-section of our portals. 

Our Community Engagement team have been working with clients to ensure their residents are supported throughout these uncertain times and to ensure they still feel a part of a thriving community, albeit a socially distanced community. We’ve seen everything from balcony workouts to pizza parties, from wellness workshops to charity bake sales organised and advertised through our portals. As the data shows these initiatives have been extremely well received.

As leaders we need to be considering resident and staff mental health, happiness and wellbeing. Long-term social engagement to create a sense of wellbeing and identity is key to this happiness. Spike Living delivers exact that.  End users feel invested, valued and better connected to their homes or work places.

We form long-term partnerships with our client’s to help them move into this new age of community management. At Spike we offer more than just technology solutions, we work with our clients to improve their community engagement strategies to achieve their KPIs. We make it our business to understand how communities interact and we share these insights with our clients.

Want to find out more about Spike could do for your business? Simply submit your details below and a member of the team will get back to you.