Fortunately, digitization does not stop at the dialog between property management companies and their tenants, owners and craftsmen. Not so long ago, communication was still exclusively by telephone and e-mail (or by mail…), but many property management companies now offer self-service on their online portal at least as a supplement to the other channels, sometimes even available as an app. A good addition, yes, but not yet optimized enough, and by no means exhausted. Self-service on the online portal is a first step in the right direction, but without subsequent process optimization, even this is quickly lagging behind the competition.

Tenants have high expectations of their property management firm. Not only do they always want uncomplicated and fast service, but the whole thing should also be available around the clock and independent of location. Just to keep it as we are used to it today. Self-service makes this possible. Online portals with a personal login, for security reasons, allow tenants to view all kinds of data and take care of things themselves, including the following:

  • Access to the rental contract data (digital rental file)
  • When was the last rent increase/rent reduction
  • Claims can be reported directly
  • Direct communication with the property management firm
  • Order name plate for mailbox and entrance/apartment door
  • Key loss message
  • General and current information from the property management firm can be published

The functions of such self-service are extremely practical and can be used almost indefinitely. In addition, self-service does not have to be limited to tenants, but also offers many advantages for owners and craftsmen. The functions in contrast to the tenant online portal differ from each other, the principle behind it remains the same. For owners, a personal administration area opens up with just a few clicks, providing specific insights in real time into how their properties are managed, including, for example, the amount of utility bills, which costs were incurred how, when and where, were the rent paid on time, and so on and so forth.

An online portal also has several advantages for craftsmen. Orders can be passed on by the property managers directly to their craftsmen via this (save paper). Craftsmen, for their part, have the opportunity to view damage pictures via the online portal and to call up a clear overview of all their orders.

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Here’s the catch

All these possibilities and functions that an online portal offers as a self-service almost sound too great to be true. So what’s the catch? Self-service only works perfectly and, above all, is only efficient as long as no other documents are involved in the processes. But as soon as the tenant, owner or craftsman has to upload additional documents, it becomes tedious and costly, as the following example shows:

If a tenant wants to order a new name plate because his name has changed due to a marriage, he can conveniently apply for this via self-service in the online portal under “order name plate”. But since the property management company also needs a marriage certificate to confirm the name change, the tenant must upload the corresponding document. This one additional document entails a lengthy manual process in the background, which unnecessarily delays processing many times over. And what could be more tedious for tenants than having an actually so practical and recently also highly praised thing like a self-service available on the online portal, when due to the manual and slow processing of the property management firm, you still have to wait two weeks until the name plate is in the mailbox? Customer satisfaction is gone in a flash.

So the solution here is to optimize the process of uploading additional documents. With appropriate extraction software (OCR), all relevant data of the documents that are uploaded, in the example above the data in the marriage certificate, can be automatically and completely extracted, which makes the processes much more efficient. The immediate processing in turn results in faster delivery of the name plate to the tenant.

But it is not only the tenants who benefit and will thank it with higher customer satisfaction. For the property management companies themselves, the automatic document extraction using an OCR solution also results in direct added value, not only making processes more efficient and conserving resources but also allowing employees to devote more valuable work and proactively address customer-centric issues.