Irvine, Calif.-based Avanath Capital Management (Avanath) owns and operates affordable, workforce and value-oriented apartment communities across the U.S. Its portfolio totals approximately 10,000 apartment homes and spans 12 states. In 2016, the company began using Anyone Home to field after-hours service-related calls from residents both to improve the resident experience and to ease the burden on its associates.
Prior to working with Anyone Home, Avanath’s system for fielding and addressing after-hours service-related issues was not ideal.
Residents would call and leave messages with a third-party service. This third-party service merely acted as a hotline for residents to contact and make a request. Once a resident contacted the hotline, a member of their staff would attempt to reach on-call maintenance associates at Avanath.
They would first try to contact a maintenance technician. If unsuccessful, they would attempt to reach a maintenance supervisor and so on. This escalation process often resulted in Avanath community managers and sometimes regional managers receiving calls from the hotline after hours.
“The hotline was unable to do any troubleshooting on its own and that wasn’t a great experience for our residents or employees,” says Nicholas Dunlap, senior vice president of property management for Avanath. “Plus, everyone was getting bothered by these after-hours calls. We thought there clearly had to be a better system. We needed a service that would help our associates solve the problem, not just pass on information.”
The Anyone Home Solution
Anyone Home’s property consultants receive after-hours service-related calls and speak live with residents about their maintenance issues. Avanath takes advantage of an option Anyone Home customers have to empower the property consultants to troubleshoot service calls. The consultants ask a series of questions about the resident’s situation. If the situation is an emergency, an Avanath technician is dispatched. Otherwise, the work order is integrated into the community’s property management system to be addressed the next business day and no Avanath associates are bothered after-hours.
“That was one of the true value propositions of Anyone Home for me,” Dunlap says. “When we started to look at this solution I thought, ‘Wow, that would be a game-changer for us.’ This contact center could handle these calls in a way that really lessens the impact on our employees and enhances the resident experience.”
After successfully piloting the use of Anyone Home’s property consultants to handle after-hours service calls, Avanath rolled out the solution across its entire portfolio in 2016.
“We haven’t looked back,” Dunlap says.
After-Hours Maintenance Call Highlights
Average hours per day Anyone Home agents saved Avanath associates
Percentage of calls per day deemed to be a next day, non-emergency follow up
Overtime pay Anyone Home saved Avanath in the first six months of use
Over a six-month period, Anyone Home’s consultants were able to re-categorize 44 percent of the maintenance-related calls to non-emergencies, allowing maintenance technicians to respond the next day. That meant leasing teams and maintenance technicians didn’t have to spend time in their off hours deciding whether these service issues were emergencies.
This translated to a savings of 2.5 hours each day in after-hours calls, which saved Avanath approximately $75 per day in overtime pay, or $13,500 over the course of the first six months.
The implementation has delivered numerous benefits to both residents and associates.
“One of the things that’s so great about Anyone Home is that their consultants are trained to troubleshoot maintenance and service issues,” Dunlap says. “They can talk with the resident, gather information and tell them to do things like, ‘Look underneath your garbage disposal and push the button that’s there,’ or ‘Your garbage disposal’s not working, so why don’t you go over to the wall and see if the breaker is tripped.’”
Because of this capability, some residents have their problems resolved while on the call. Even in a situation like this, though, the call is logged into the community’s PMS and a technician follows up with them the next business day to confirm the issue has been resolved.
Because of Avanath’s partnership with the Anyone Home contact center, the company’s associates are receiving fewer off-hour calls, which makes for a happier, more rested team, according to Dunlap.
“You don’t want people burning out,” he says. “Anyone Home’s handling of these service calls has helped to really improve work-life balance. There has been a noticeable improvement in employee morale and a decrease in our on-call expenses.”
Also, even when Avanath service technicians have to be brought in to handle an emergency situation, they are better prepared to address the issue because of the information and insight gathered by Anyone Home’s trained consultants.
When asked if he would recommend Anyone Home to other operators, Dunlap doesn’t blink.
“We’re so appreciative of all the help they’ve provided us,” he says. “This is a supplier partner that has great instincts, insight and expertise into the multifamily business. They’re committed to continually growing and developing their platform, and we’re excited to see what they introduce next.”