Alliance Residential Company has hundreds of properties across the United States and prides itself on high-quality customer service for property managers, residents, and their guests. So when the Phoenix-based company partnered with Latch, creator of the first smart access system, it was important that this commitment carried through.
Alliance piloted Latch devices in two of its newly opened luxury buildings: Vinz on Fairfax in Los Angeles and Broadstone Makers Quarter in San Diego. Latch devices have been a main selling point for Vinz on Fairfax, according to the building's business manager, Stephanie TeBeau. She said it's a "wow factor" when potential residents tour the 150-unit building. "I had people choose our community over another because of the Latch system."
Latch devices simplify countless aspects of property management. For starters, Latch eliminates the need to cut individual keys and saves managers from having to run back to the office to grab different sets for different units, according to TeBeau.
But, as with any smart technology, it's important that users feel comfortable with the technology and know they're supported if issues ever arise.
For Latch devices, this means making sure that property managers and residents are confident in the usability and have easy access to customer service if questions come up.
From the outset, Latch is involved in making sure building managers and their residents feel comfortable with the smart access devices. In the case of Vinz on Fairfax, the devices were delivered in July 2017, the property was completed in February 2018, and the grand opening was in April 2018.
Before residents start using Latch, the property management team is required to attend a software training session with a member of Latch's implementation team. This ensures that building managers feel comfortable with the product and gives them the opportunity to ask any questions and address any issues that might be unique to their property.
After this training, Latch's Customer Success Managers also provide property managers with materials and checklists they can use to onboard residents and get their building ready. Once property managers are well-versed in Latch, the devices are made available to residents.
TeBeau said that Latch has "changed the game for us operationally," and a big part of that was the ease of set-up and onboarding.
Ben Levinson, Latch's regional operations manager for California, came to Vinz on Fairfax before the residents had moved in and walked TeBeau through the entire system.
"Latch has been great with their support with us," TeBeau said. "They made sure we were extremely trained and answered any questions we had. It was really straightforward. We just pull it up and show [residents] the features."
Regardless of where the building is located, Latch makes sure that someone is on-site the first day so that residents move in so they can answer any Latch-related questions. Regional teams work closely with the Latch support to ensure that property managers and residents are satisfied with the system and can raise any questions.
Customer support is available every weekday from 8:00AM until midnight for residents, guests, and property managers. At the start of 2019, Latch introduced a new channel partner program, working with Latch-certified locksmiths and integrators to provide a complete maintenance and support experience from installation to after-care. For Latch, support is a top priority—the average response time to inquiries over the past six months clocks in at only 12 minutes.
Latch has been a deciding factor for some residents, including Alysia Anderson, who lives in Vinz on Fairfax. She said the smart access system was one of the features that attracted her to the building from the beginning.
Anderson said she only needed a run-through of the Latch system once because it was so "simple and straightforward." After living in the building for several months, Anderson said her opinion of Latch has only grown.
"I thought that Latch was immensely innovative at first, and I still do after months of using it. It has transformed my idea of security and access to my apartment."
Anderson hasn't needed to reach out to customer service herself. But she said at one point, she shared a door code with a friend who had trouble using it. The friend emailed customer support, and they quickly solved the issue.
TeBeau has also been incredibly impressed by the level and quality of customer service.
"The support system is insane. We’ll email someone at 5:00PM on a Friday and receive a response within five minutes," she said.
Smart building technology delivers a wide range of financial benefits for multifamily owners and operators. From cost efficiencies to improved customer experience, a strategic investment in the right technology solution can positively impact both the cost and revenue sides of the ledger.
There are several different ways to estimate how smart communities achieve ROI. Learn more about the four most popular approaches in our easy-to-read guides.