Today’s consumers expect goods and services to be available in an instant. From ordering groceries online via Instacart to streaming TV shows on Netflix, people rely on technology to complete many of their day-to-day tasks. As more processes are automated to allow for self-service, businesses have to look for ways to elevate their customer experience if they want to stand out from the crowd.
According to Forrester, an influential research and advisory firm, customer experience is defined as “how customers perceive their interactions with your company”. Some of the most customer-obsessed companies — such as Warby Parker, Casper, and Amazon — are also known for investing in their customer experience above all else. Having instant access to important information, convenient online tools, personalized options, and the ability to perform tasks quickly are all things that can lead to a positive customer experience.
For investment management this translates into providing the right digital tools investors need to save time and work more efficiently, along with truly listening and understanding their business’ pain points and needs. Your technology decisions directly impact your customer experience, which is why it’s essential to implement the right real estate investment management tools.
At AppFolio, we partner with our customers from the beginning, developing new features and researching new areas of innovation to help them overcome persistent challenges. This strategy creates a continuous feedback loop, in which we are always evolving and adapting our customer experience to better meet their needs.
“A partnership is a good way to describe the relationship that we have [with AppFolio]. When we share our methods and practices or present problems that need to be solved, the development team takes ownership and we find solutions together with the team directly responding to our needs.” —Jeremy Terr, Argo Property Group
How are you engaging with potential and current investors? What kind of technologies are you using to communicate? How do you know they are valuable? These are questions you should consider asking yourself. If you take a moment to reflect on what is working and what isn’t, you’ll be able to better identify how you can improve your customer experience.
In the meantime, here are some ways you can engage your investors and build a great customer experience using technology:
Share Documents Digitally
Mailing physical documents and reports not only takes up your time, it also makes it harder for your investors to get a holistic view of their investments. With an online investor portal you can easily share reports, tax forms, and asset information with your investors 24/7. Investors can quickly find historical distributions and investment performance of all of their properties, which increases transparency and satisfaction.
“Unlike our competitors, we can take out an iPad at an investor meeting and pull up all the information we need in one central location. They may have to print heaps and heaps of paper to provide a simple explanation. For us, all the information is at our fingertips.”—Oliver Cameron Hayes, Calidus Management, LLC
Ask For Feedback
Ratings and reviews matter, especially when it comes to investors. One negative encounter can turn away a prospective customer, which is why it’s important to ask for feedback frequently and openly. Consider sending out a Net Promoter® Score survey via email to better understand your customers’ satisfaction and level of loyalty. According to SurveyMonkey, the NPS system does this by asking one core question: “How likely is it that you would recommend [Organization X] to a friend or colleague?” Respondents then rate their answers on a scale of 1-10, which is divided up into three categories:
- 0-6: Detractors
- 7-8: Passives
- 9-10: Promoters
Those in the “promoters” category are the most likely to recommend your business to a friend, which is essential in the word-of-mouth industry of investment management. Whereas “detractors” would be more prone to spread negative sentiment about your company, and “passives” would likely not say anything.
Once you know your NPS score you’ll be better able to know where you currently stand and work to make changes to improve. Don’t forget to close the feedback loop and follow up with investors after the survey to go over the results and explain how you will implement any changes.
Embrace Virtual Communication Tools
Being able to quickly and easily communicate with your investors is key, especially when you have customers dispersed all across the nation. By embracing digital communications such as email, text messaging, and video conferencing, you can stay connected and maintain a strong relationship. Consider implementing an all-in-one investment management software system that has a built-in online investor portal and robust CRM system that can house and track all communications automatically.
“We needed investment management software that manages communications, so nothing falls through the cracks. The benefits are communication, professionalism, transparency, and simplicity. Our investors love it.” —Steve Rice, Venture Real Estate Co.
Consumers today value instant service and connectivity, including investors. By implementing technology solutions that make things easier, more accessible, and enjoyable, you can meet the expectations of your investors and create an unforgettable customer experience.