St. Paul, Minn.-based Elation Properties (Elation) manages apartment communities in Minnesota and South Dakota. The growing portfolio is poised to add several more communities in the near future. In March 2018, the company began using Anyone Home’s Contact Center, Access Scheduler and CRM to improve its lead-management efforts. The solutions are now being used at all of Elation’s communities.
As an operator of smaller communities with minimal onsite staff, Elation relied on its regional staff to answer prospective resident calls and follow up with leads. It didn’t take long for team members to become overwhelmed with calls and follow-up tasks.
“I was managing three buildings and answering the calls for all of them,” says Danielle Harless, regional director for Elation. “The phones were ringing non-stop. I was struggling trying to answer and call our prospects back. And when I had the time to call them back, they weren’t answering.”
According to a Zillow study, associates who respond to a prospect within two minutes of receiving their communication are 40 percent more likely to engage with the prospect than those who wait a day or longer to respond. Waiting half an hour to respond means an associate is likely to engage with a caller about 10 percent of the time.
In line with the Zillow study, Elation’s delays in responding to residents resulted in lower occupancy than expected.
The Anyone Home Solution
Elation had to increase support for incoming calls from prospective residents, implement a system that would better manage and track follow-up with leads and empower prospects to self-schedule tours to improve prospect management efficiency.
Harless found all of those solutions in Anyone Home.
Anyone Home’s Contact Center fields calls from Elation’s prospective residents that the onsite teams are unable to answer during regular office hours and when leasing offices are closed. The property consultants at the contact center are well versed in the features and amenities of the communities, and can answer detailed questions about pricing, floor plans and the neighborhoods surrounding the properties. The consultants create guest cards for prospects and conduct the initial discovery process, gathering the prospect’s preferences for floor plans, move-in date and desired rent range.
To further improve call efficiency, Anyone Home’s Access Scheduler was implemented to empower prospects to schedule a tour online without ever speaking with an Elation associate or contact center representative. The solution reduces Elation’s prospect call volume, while also meeting the expectation for an instant response.
At the same time, Anyone Home’s CRM is a powerful management and automation tool for Elation’s lead follow-up and its ongoing lead-management efforts. It tracks all actions and communications with each prospect in a simple-to-read timeline. It also automatically prompts Elation associates to follow up with each lead at the right time, ensuring these tasks are completed and making each contact point valuable to the prospect.
The CRM is especially effective at automating drip campaigns for prospects whose preferred move-in date is greater than 30 days. Another attribute of the CRM is the real-time visibility it gives Elation into the performance of their advertising sources. This empowers management companies to reduce or eliminate their spend on ineffective sources. Finally, the CRM’s FIT (financial, interest and timing) Leads function automatically matches prospects with available units that best fit their needs and preferences.
By using the Contact Center and the CRM, Elation communities never miss a lead.
Ultimately, the transparency and automation made it easy for Harless to sell Anyone Home’s services and solutions to executive leadership and to the owners of Elation’s communities.
“Our COO was all for it,” Harless says. “He loved that we could see everything in the CRM software, that we could check on leads and make sure that lead follow-up was being done appropriately. When I show investors the platform, they love it. They love being able to see in the CRM where the leads are coming from, how we’re closing and how often.”
Anyone Home Solutions Highlights
Percentage of leasing calls managed by Anyone Home that otherwise would have gone unanswered
Percentage of tours booked by Anyone Home, with 51.2% coming from the online tour scheduler available directly from the property website
Percentage increase in community occupancy only two months after implementing Anyone Home
The benefits of using the Contact Center and the CRM quickly became apparent for the Elation communities using the solutions, according to Harless.
Over the course of the 12-month period that ended on Aug. 31, 2019, the Anyone Home Contact Center answered 67 percent of prospect leasing calls, which would most likely have gone unanswered if Elation hadn’t implemented the solution. Additionally, the Contact Center provided the help without the properties incurring the expense and effort needed to hire full-time onsite associates.
Elation also secured substantially more tours because prospects were able to schedule online and their incoming calls were answered at a higher rate. Over the same year-long period, more than 90 percent of Elation’s tours were booked using Anyone Home solutions. To be specific, 51.2 percent of the prospects scheduled a tour using Anyone Home’s online self-scheduler, and 39.3 percent booked a visit through the Anyone Home Contact Center.
One property using the platform, Kascade Place, had 21 vacant units prior to the addition of Anyone Home, meaning the property’s occupancy rate was 79 percent. Within two months of implementing the Anyone Home solutions, the community was 90 percent occupied.
Harless adds she wouldn’t hesitate to recommend Anyone Home to other operators.
“I’ve called the Contact Center myself a few times to see what it’s like for our prospects, and the property consultants are all very friendly and educated on the buildings,” she says. “It’s so helpful to be able to use the CRM to check in on staff and see that they’re following up on leads. The KPIs and all of the information available in the CRM play a huge part in being able to follow through on whatever goals you’re trying to accomplish.”