A Look Back at 2021 - Improvements, Updates and New Features

A Look Back at 2021 

Every year seems to have been a whirlwind from a product/software development perspective and 2021 is no exception. Before we talk about some of the larger features & functionality we’ve built into the ServusConnect platform this year, it might be good to share a little on our philosophy when it comes to dev and where we spend our time. 

 

The Main Course is Great, But Leave Room for Dessert

Software is never “done” – there is always room for improvement. Like any software company, our development team likes to have things pretty planned out, but not so planned out that we can’t execute on good ideas from our clients & prospects. So what does that mean? Here is an example:  

A couple of months ago a client came to us and said, “I really like your Resident ServusMessaging feature, but we also need an easy way to send SMS/text messages to our service team members.”

This was an interesting idea, so we talked to some other clients and asked questions like, “do you have this need?”, “how often would you use it?”, etc. Based on this input, we decided this was a “dessert entrée” we needed to create and were able to add this functionality to ServusMessaging in a really short timeframe. We LOVE feedback and new ideas and consider it a value-add to our clients to reserve time to act on the really impactful ones!

On that note, here are a few of the things we’ve brought to market this year:

 

1. Property Management Software Platform Integrations

ServusConnect is purpose-built to make it easy for multifamily operators and their maintenance teams to optimize the full lifecycle of their maintenance operations, from Resident Service Requests to Make-Ready, to Preventive Maintenance, Inspections, Technician Mobility, Reporting and more. Our clients come to us when they realize the built-in functionality in their property management software is not enough. That said, the PMS is integral to property operations and our seamless integration with these platforms is critical to our success.

This year, in addition to our existing integration with MRI Software Residential Management & Affordable Housing, we were extremely pleased to announce integrations with Yardi Voyager & Realpage OneSite

Both of these represent hundreds of development man-hours, along with on-property client testing to ensure a seamless user experience for our users. We couldn’t be more pleased with the results and look forward to adding a couple more PMS integrations in 2022!

LEARN MORE ABOUT OUR INTEGRATIONS >

 


2. Operational Improvements

One of our goals for ServusConnect is that our users (Maintenance Supervisor, Property Manager, Maintenance Technician, Service Vendor) are to be able to understand what is happening and what needs to be done in 30 seconds or less. 2021 brought several enhancements to the platform to enhance that goal:

 

OnHold

Many industries have been hit hard by supply chain & labor shortages in 2021 and Multifamily is no exception. Earlier in the year, we started to see an increase in the number of service requests (SR’s) that were going on hold and started to get requests from clients on not only improving visibility to these requests but also to facilitate communication with Residents letting them know why their requests were taking longer than expected. 

Our improved On-Hold (OH) functionality enables users to quickly indicate why an SR is getting placed OH, an expiration date for auto-OH removal, a customizable SMS/text message to the Resident to keep them in the loop and an improved Dashboard widget. This has been one of the most highly-utilized features we built this year!

 

ServusMobile

ServusConnect has always been “mobile-first” for Maintenance Technicians but lacked a suitable mobile solution for Property Manager & Maintenance Supervisor role users. 

ServusMobile was a major release in early 2021 that brought all of the capabilities available on ServusConnect-web into a Native Mobile App available on the App Stores. This allowed Maintenance Supervisors to perform all of the command, control & oversight functions directly from their mobile device.

 

Download ServusMobile on the App Store >

Download ServusMobile on the Play Store >

“Claim” Feature

ServusMobile also has positively impacted ServusProfessional (SP) users., ie Maintenance Technicians. Our original, and still very popular ServusTechnician App, lacked the functionality for a Maintenance Tech to view and potentially “claim” a service request (SR) that wasn’t already assigned to them. It also lacked the ability to “create” a new SR directly from the app. 

This may sound like a big gap, but it’s actually perfect for 80-85% of Maintenance Technicians – “keeping it simple & focused” is the greatest feature of the ServusTechnician app user experience. That said, there is a subset of the Maintenance Technician persona that have elevated responsibilities and/or are more trusted to act with autonomy in their job. 

ServusMobile enables us to provide an enhanced Maintenance Technician user experience for this persona, allowing them to view any available SR on their property(s) and claim/re-assign them to themselves. ServusMobile also give them the ability to create new SR’s on the fly, say, when they run into a resident in the hallway who has an issue.

 

Want to know the difference between ServusMobile and ServusTechnician? 

DOWNLOAD THE BROCHURE >

 

Scheduled SR Reminders

Similar to the usage of our “On-Hold” functionality, we’re seeing an increase in service request scheduling. Based on feedback from several clients, we introduced a scheduling reminder that goes out via push notification to the Maintenance Tech when that SR nears its scheduled time.

PS – we’ve got more scheduling-related enhancements coming in 2022, so stay tuned!

Broadcast Messaging

When we released ServusMessaging back in 2020, we had no idea how it would morph and evolve. 

As a refresher, this feature provides an easy way for management staff, moreover, the maintenance management staff to send one-way broadcast messages to one or many residents via SMS/Text and/or email. Common use-cases included notices of pest-control activities, weather-related updates, notifications related to property improvement projects, even distribution of community newsletters.

As more and more of our clients started to use it, they found other great use-cases ServusMessaging. We’ve got a lot more coming in 2022, including templates and surveys, but here are some of the exciting enhancements we delivered this year:

Prospect Messaging

For clients on MRI Software who also use MRI’s Prospect Connect product, ServusMessaging will now display prospects from the last 30 days such that the management staff can send them broadcast messages related to unit availability, pricing updates, specials, etc.

Employee Messaging

Managers can now send broadcast SMS/text messages to any other ServusConnect user that is registered on the property. This is great for distributed service teams that work across multiple small properties where the management team wants to get the word out quickly. 

 

Resident Survey Tracking to Google

Resident surveys have been part of ServusConnect’s core offering for several years now. It has been a much-beloved feature as it greatly improves resident satisfaction and tends to have a positive impact on the property’s online reputation. 

To review, when a SR is completed, the resident is sent a survey via SMS/text asking them to rate their experience. If they rate it poorly, the feedback is logged against the SR in question and the management team is notified so they can address any issues. Conversely, if they have a great experience, we give them the opportunity to click through to the property’s Google Place ID (or elsewhere) to leave a 5-star review. 

We measure & log nearly every part of this process, presenting the data in a rollup dashboard called Resident Feedback.  Until recently, we had no data on the number of Residents clicking on the link to leave a 5-star review on Google. This changed at the end of November. Now we log who clicks on the Google review link. This sounds like an insignificant change, but this data is highly sought after from Multifamily Marketing Teams as they work to improve online reputation management and influence better online reviews. 

 

LEARN MORE ABOUT SERVUSMESSAGING >


 

3. Digital Inspections

Early in 2021 our product team started development on our new Digital Inspections Platform, ServusInspections. This is really exciting because we’ve been looking to fill this gap in our product offering for several years now…here is a little back-story:

Back in 2019, we pursued partnerships with other digital inspection software companies to fill this gap. Client reviews were mixed as each platform we evaluated lacked key functionality & interoperability that we felt must exist in the relationship between inspection findings, service requests, resolutions, data repositories, and overall reporting. 

That was the eureka moment when we determined we needed to build inspections to our spec versus trying to jam two products together that did not share overall product vision, design & framework. In 2020 we started to design it and thanks to the leadership & vision our new CTO, ServusInspections (SI) has started to take shape earlier this year.

Although SI is not considered generally available just yet, it’s live and in production for several of our existing clients, so we’re getting tons of great feedback that our dev team is incorporating into the product. We’ll have lots more to share about inspections in early 2022!

LEARN MORE ABOUT OUR DEV TEAM >

 


4. Reporting Improvements

Our reporting platform, ServusInsights, continues to be a major selling feature of ServusConnect by delivering unparalleled visibility into Maintenance Operations, not just at the property level, but across portfolios. We continue to invest in improving our dashboards and 2021 saw a few pretty cool innovations that we can highlight:

 

Onboarding dashboards – this is a really helpful portfolio-level dashboard because it helps monitor onboarding success as we train & launch new users/properties onto ServusConnect. 

Make-Ready Quality Scoring – this useful algorithm was suggested to us by a client and we’ve since added it to all our client’s dashboard. This score measures the quality of the make-ready process by assessing SR volume on newly moved-in units and makes it easy for management to assess the performance of their make-ready teams.

Regional Dashboards – our regional/portfolio dashboards continue to evolve in a positive direction based on client feedback and 2021 was no exception. The best description of these dashboards came to us from a client who described them as, “the dashboard of truth”!

Resident Feedback – we touched on a recent improvement in Google rating click-through tracking earlier in this blog and have now added this metric to the Resident Feedback dashboard.  

GET OUR SERVUSINSIGHTS BROCHURE >


Thankful for You!

To our clients and friends

Happy Thanksgiving!

 

We are so thankful for all of you!

We as a group wanted to say thanks to our clients for all the blessings of this year. And we also want to wish everyone a wonderful Thanksgiving from the team here at ServusConnect! We wish you a great holiday season and many blessings!


New Features: ServusMessages Expanded!

FEATURE UPDATE!

ServusMessages Expanded

We know how important it is to get the word out to employees, contractors, and residents at a moment’s notice. That’s why we’re so excited to announce our new ServusMessage updates!

 

How to Use ServusMessages

STEP 1

Select Recipients

Easily search and select anyone on your team, vendor list, resident directory, or any other ServusConnect contact to add them to a message.


STEP 2

Write Your Message

Write your notification, alert or message and even choose a time and date for the message to be sent out to everyone on your recipient list.

 


STEP 3

Send the Message

Send your message, along with any important attachments, pictures, and other calls to action to everyone at your scheduled time.

 


STEP 4

Team Gets Notified

Your team, vendors, residents, and other contacts can receive an alert on their phone to ensure that the message is read quickly.

 

To learn more about ServusConnect Messages, contact our team today!


Sessions, Singing & Swag: Takeaways from Ascend 2021

Singing, Sessions & Swag

Our takeaways from Ascend 2021

 

Did you make it to Ascend 2021?

Here are some of our takeaways…

The ServusConnect team had so much fun hanging with our MRI colleagues during Ascend 2021! Here are a few quick tidbits of what we learned during the conference.

1. “Great experiences are driven by interactions” – MRI Team

We couldn’t agree more! At ServusConnect we believe in great communication, not only for resident engagement through automated messaging and notifications but also for employees by streamlining property maintenance.

2. “Mobile is the future!”

Yes! This is our mantra at ServusConnect! From residents who can engage with property managers via text, to service providers who can take care of work orders from their phone, we believe in the power of mobile.

ServusConnect Pricing
3. “Great analytics is the key to success”

Our analytics and reporting tool, ServusInsights, is empowering property managers, maintenance teams and executives to get a holistic view of their portfolio. Now they can see what’s happening with properties, predict upcoming issues, and make better business decisions.

 

4. Our CEO can SIIIIIINNNGGG!

Train performed, and that was amazing. But even more amazing…our fearless leader, Jamie Wohlschlegel, took a moment to sing a bit of “Let Her Cry” by Hootie & the Blowfish for us.

5. Conferences have swag, and we got some extra!

Schedule a Demo & Get Free Swag!

Our team snuck around the conference and shamelessly collected candy and swag to make “exclusive” Post-Event Swag Boxes (that even include a free customized Yeti!).

We’ve got a few left, and we’ll send you one if you schedule a virtual demo with our team before November 30!


New and Improved Servus Request On-Hold Features

SERVUS REQUEST “ON-HOLD” WAS A HIT…

so we made it even better.

In early 2020, ServusConnect launched several COVID-related features to assist with protecting the health and safety of Property Management Teams (including Service Technicians and Vendors) as well as Residents. Building on the success of the Servus Request On-Hold feature, ServusConnect is releasing a major update to further enhance this feature.

Dashboard Widget

Easily keep track of all the On-Hold Servus Requests in our brand-new dashboard widget.

Expiration & Reroute Selection

Set an optional expiration date for when the Servus Request should be automatically removed from On-Hold.

You can also reroute the Servus Request to a different Service Professional if needed.

Resident Notifications

Select a pre-canned (or custom) message to the Resident to give them an update on the status of the Servus Request.

Reasons & Tags

Select a reason for placing the Servus Request On-Hold and Auto-Tag Requests for easy organization.

 

Improving resident engagement in 2022?

Schedule a consultation with our team to plan out how to make resident engagement amazing in the months and years to come.

SCHEDULE A CONSULTATION

5 Takeaways from Apartmentalize 2021

5 Takeaways From Apartmentalize

The ServusConnect team had a blast meeting many of you face-to-face (finally!) at Apartmentalize in Chicago last week! Here is what we took away from the conference sessions and meetups.

1. Virtual Maintenance Management is Ramping Up

The “Virtually Unstoppable – Managing Properties from Anywhere” session provided a glimpse into the future of Maintenance Management by outlining some innovative approaches to keep maintenance moving during COVID and how some of these techniques & technologies are here to stay.

We’re on board with this sentiment and have been working on some exciting innovations around Resident Maintenance DIY. Let us know if you want a peak!

 

2. Hiring & Retaining Maintenance Team Members Will Continue to be Difficult

Maintenance team member turnover is said to be in the +40% range this year and every operator we spoke to at the conference is feeling this statistic.

Ease of training is going to continue to be critical for this team member persona, including the mobile app you give them to track & manage their service requests. The good news is that the ServusConnect Team is pretty good at that!

3. Our Analytics & Plan View Inspections Were a Hit!

At Apartmentalize, everyone wanted to talk about ServusInsights, which provides game-changing insights & reporting into maintenance operations.

We also launched our Plan View Inspection tool, which allows you to see & annotate unit floorplans and property maps, make notes in each room, with specific instructions, upload pictures, and more.

 

4. Most Innovative Product at the Expo

While there’s no shortage of “furnace filter changing” policies & practices, it has always been a pain to manage & track replacements!

We were blown away by the furnace filter subscription service, Second Nature, and their new foldable furnace filters. Small enough to ship directly to residents and includes instructions!

 

5. It’s really good to be F2F again!

Everyone was excited to have in-person chats and we realized how much we’ve missed that priceless face-to-face conversation with our partners, customers, and colleagues. We’re definitely looking forward to our next opportunity to do it again!

 

Let’s Talk Property Maintenance

In case we missed you at Apartmentalize, scheduling a call with our team is easy! Just click below to get started.


Feature Release: Property Resident Report

NEW FEATURE!

Property Resident Report

We’re not on summer vacation yet! Our team here at ServusConnect has been hard at work, bringing you new features, just like you asked!

This week, we’re excited to bring you our newest feature: Property Resident Report.

With ServusConnect’s new Property Resident Report, you can easily access an up-to-date list of your resident contact information for your entire property.

See Errors

Now you can view any errors in your database, such as invalid phone numbers or missing email addresses.

View Opt-Outs

You can also see which residents may have opted-out of text messages and are missing new alerts.

Stay Updated

Now you can optimize your communication strategy and ensure that all residents are staying updated with alerts and notifications.

 

So, How Does It Work?

Step 1:

Simply choose the property you want to include and select “Export Resident Report.”

 

 

 

Step 2:

Once you’ve done Step 1, you’ll get a CSV file with all the information you need.

 

 

 

Step 3:

Now you can easily filter for missing emails and phone numbers and residents who have opted out of messages.

 

To learn more, watch this video