It’s no secret that the technology landscape has been completely overhauled multiple times in the last decade alone. And I’m not just talking about the obvious suspects, like computers, computer software, cellphones, or cars. I’m talking about nearly every industry being touched by technological advancement.
Ten years ago, depositing a check meant a trip to the bank. Now, just take a picture on your phone.
Need a ride to the airport? No need to phone a taxi service, just get an Uber.
Need groceries but hate grocery shopping? Have them delivered by Amazon!
Even service-oriented industries have been impacted, like automated menu kiosks at restaurants or fast-food joints.
Every industry it seems has found a way to evolve alongside technology. Even the CAM industry, although traditionally we tend to be slower to adapt than other industries. In fact, if you look at the popular products in Community Association Management, many have not innovated since the early 2000’s. It may not seem like that long ago, but technology is kind of like dog years – remember what a mobile phone looked like in 2007 vs today’s smart phones? It’s a pretty significant difference!
Even ignoring for the moment the rapid influx of millennial homeowners (all of whom sleep with their phones), homeowners of all age groups are becoming more and more accustomed to the instant gratification of mobile accessibility.
Virtually every desire a person has today can be indulged with the touch of a button. So when industries fall behind, it creates a pocket of stress for users and providers. This stress creates a groundswell of demand, which is what we are starting to see in the CAM industry today, with homeowner and board member expectations driving a need to leverage modern technologies.
Let’s take a look at some of the technological innovations that have recently entered the industry:
Balancing one’s checkbook has become a relic of the past, with only 21% of people admitting that they still faithfully balance their checkbook, and a majority of millennials wondering, “Checkbook? What’s that?”
So offering smart banking options is getting to the point where it’s no longer optional. Not only do they allow you to meet the needs of your clients, they also you’re your life easier. Features to look for in banking innovation include auto pay, automatic reconciliation, paperless statements and auto-posting transactions to your accounting software.
The modern homeowner expects 24/7/365 access to their information. Unfortunately, your management team cannot realistically respond to every email and phone call in seconds. That’s why automated self-service features are such an integral part of your management services offering.
Remember back in the day when you wanted the answer to a question and your parents sent you to look it up in an encyclopedia? How frustrating that was! Now, just Google to get answers to any question near instantly. And a Google-like experience is exactly what homeowners have come to expect from all of their services.
With self-service tools, you should be able to provide homeowners with online access to their account balances, payment history, and give them the option to pay immediately, or communicate with the management team about their account.
Like your homeowners, your employees have also been exposed to modern technologies and have built up frustrations around the current technology landscape. One frustration is simply lack of access to important information.
I remember one story of a manager who, when asked accounting questions in meetings, would respond, “I’ll have to get back to you. I don’t carry my accounting department in my pocket.” To which many would ask, "why not?" The smart phone is more powerful than the most state of the art computers of 20 years ago, and Internet access is literally in the air we breathe. There should be no excuse not to have constant and easy access to accounting data, and every other bit of data your management team needs to know.
There’s a perception out there that HOAs are a headache. But why cater to it, when we can build toward pleasantly surprising users with easy access to personal information, payment options, and customer service? Let’s begin the transition into an age of the CAM industry where our clients feel heard, appreciated, and in control.
Here’s what we’re doing to join the technology revolution. What actions have you taken in your organization? Share in the comments below!