Talking Tech

By on Mar 21, 2018 in People

Jason Roblin

For every property management company, success often hinges on selecting — and keeping — quality residents.

“With screening technology, we no longer lose our best applicants to the competition due to lagging on approvals or digging through paperwork, and we have reduced our vacancy rate from 13 percent to under 3 percent,” says Jason Roblin, CEO of Canadian-based Vionell Holdings Partnership (VHP). Having tools to not only ensure that operations including leasing run smoothly, but also to make its customers happy, was a big incentive for the company to put the right technology in place.

Meeting the challenges of growth

Now in its second year as a Yardi client, Vionell Holdings Partnership is a multifamily and condominium property management firm with operations in Brandon and Thompson, Manitoba. The company specializes in leasing, maintenance, budgeting and financial reporting services for its clients. With 1,250 multifamily and 1,500 condo units in its portfolio (along with 100,000 commercial square feet), VHP’s business continues to grow.

The thriving company is adding to its Yardi software platform to achieve seamless processes across its business including better reporting and online services for customers that engage more applicants and improve resident retention. VHP uses the Yardi Voyager property management and accounting platform, Yardi Resident Screening, and RENTCafé for online marketing, leasing and resident services. Soon, the company will start using Yardi Payment Processing to accept convenient online payments that residents have come to expect for fast deposits that maximize cash flow.

Using tech to make customers happy

Answering applicant phone calls and processing paper applications with manual background and credit screening was time consuming and exposed VHP to missing out on its best prospects. With Yardi Resident Screening as part of its Voyager leasing workflow, VHP’s applicants are screened and qualified renters are automatically selected based on the criteria set for each property. With quick and quality approvals, VHP is able to sign more leases, and also gains business insight with real-time analytics and screening reports to enable better business decisions for all of its properties. And that means happy investors, too.

Roblin says, “Our best applicants are getting approved right away, thanks to Yardi’s screening platform.” Roblin also pointed out that while online services expedite the leasing process, applicants are also able to take their time and choose the best unit and terms, versus feeling rushed to make a decision in the leasing office.

With the combined power and reach of RENTCafé, Yardi Voyager and Yardi Resident Screening, Roblin commented that VHP is engaging a wider range of prospects while reducing calls to its leasing offices and eliminating tedious paperwork with an efficient online marketing, application and leasing process. VHP currently targets properties with higher turnover rates with its RENTCafé services.

“Before RENTCafé, we used to have gaps in responding to and tracking service calls and were challenged to provide optimal customer service, which meant some unhappy residents,” Roblin explains. With RENTCafé added to its Voyager platform, the company integrates work orders with financials to achieve a streamlined maintenance and billing process with a simplified audit trail.

“Essentially, these process improvements, including the ability to track everything online are all about our customers and keeping them happy with better, faster service, while we save staff time and money for the company.”

Managing change, seeing operations clearly

Change management is a factor for any business adopting new technology, and Roblin commented that leadership buy-in and enthusiasm energizes its teams and proper staff training is a key to success. While VHP is still finalizing lease execution with new residents in person (the rest of the process is accomplished online), Roblin said that with the right staff training in place, they will soon be completing end-to-end leasing online. He adds, “Some of our staff have extensive ‘real world’ management experience but haven’t used property management software — that’s where planning and training comes in. Fortunately, most of our staff are specialized so they can focus on those aspects of the software that directly and positively affect their roles, and then learn the rest of the functionality later.”

With the transparency created by its Voyager platform, VHP’s leadership has a clear view into the performance of its teams. “We can review what our team members are achieving in a variety of ways, including by role or function. We can also check in with staff online, instead of picking up the phone. Additionally, our workers in the field are better connected to our offices thanks to online and mobile tools,” Roblin says.

For its investors, VHP relies on Voyager to deliver accurate analytic reporting that measures the health and performance of its portfolio — including unit and location comparisons, vacancy and turnover stats and pricing insights. As the company grows, business intelligence provided by its Yardi solutions will continue to guide smart decisions that keep VHP ahead of the competition.

For more information about VHP, read the client success story. Learn more about Yardi’s full-business multifamily property management solution.