At Mezo, we view maintenance as a collection of journeys consisting of a series of touchpoints, some of which are very painful for those involved (residents, technicians, staff). Mezo is transforming the maintenance journey by eliminating unnecessary touchpoints, compressing timelines, and reducing friction for everyone.
The “customer journey” is a collection of touchpoints. It’s basically any time a customer interacts with your company through an app, a website, an advertisement, in-person visit or interaction with an employee. Journeys can often be long, stretching across multiple channels and touchpoints, and last for days or weeks. However, customer journeys thread touchpoints together to capture the ups, downs, and sentiment a customer feels in each moment.
Customer experience has never been more important. In fact, Salesforce reports that 80 percent of customers now consider their experience with a company to be as important as its products/services.
Apple, Netflix, Tesla, Disney, and Amazon, for example, are well-recognized for going the extra mile and providing outstanding customer experiences. This is important because when consumers have a great, seamless experience, they will be more loyal and share their experience with friends. This fuels more leads, followers, trials, and ultimately revenue.
This concept also applies to multifamily and single-family rental experience. At Mezo, we believe customer journeys are crucial, and we view maintenance as a vital, and often underappreciated, hallmark of whether a resident decides to renew their lease or recommend their building to others.
Landlords and property managers understand that maintenance is a critical experience for their residents. The average resident places several work orders per year, making it one of the most frequent interaction points with their property manager. And according to a recent NMHC Apartment Residents Preferences report, 22 percent of residents cite better apartment management/maintenance as a reason for moving. Said another way, a poor maintenance experience can lead to churn, which leads to thousands of dollars in tenant turnover costs (e.g., marketing expenses, leasing efforts, vacancy).
Industries like hospitality, restaurants, retail, insurance, and credit cards are already laser-focused on the customer experience and their respective “customer journeys”. Experience often centers around convenience, consistency, speed, and human touch (for specific moments). These industries have effectively leveraged technology, analytics, and feedback to improve satisfaction and reduce churn.
Added focus on the customer journey led to improvements in Net Promoter Score (NPS), which measures customer experience through loyalty and engagement of products, services, and brands. NPS does this by asking how likely customers are to recommend your product or service to someone else. Promoters are incredibly powerful at spreading the word about a product or service - often driving down the cost of new customer acquisition.
Resident experience in Property Management has historically had a lower bar due to fragmentation across ownership and technology. Industry research shows that the 2021 average NPS for property management was 7, considerably lower than many other industries.
But this is changing and there’s proof that NPS (representing loyalty and satisfaction) can be improved. As mentioned in the article above, Mynds NPS increased to 19 - a full 12 points above the industry average. This speaks to the thought leadership Mynd has shown in its tech-enabled approach through enhancements to the lives of residents and employees and others in the space are making similar moves with the emergence of property technology.
At Mezo, we focus on the end-to-end journeys. We do this by focusing on the touchpoints that matter to our customers. As noted by McKinsey & Company, “Only by looking at the customer’s experience through his or her own eyes—along the entire journey taken—can you really begin to understand how to meaningfully improve performance.”
Our team at Mezo deeply understands how our customers experience our products. We do this through a mix of frequent surveys, interviews, observations, and metrics. Our goal is to compress that journey to limited touchpoints to reduce the friction for all parties involved.
Today's focus is on the resident journey and some of the pain points that they experience. Maintenance journeys are triggered when a resident reacts to something that breaks or stops working properly in their apartment or single-family rental home.
This trigger initiates a complex set of interactions between property managers, staff, technicians (sometimes on-site, sometimes roving), and vendors. Residents feel the pain of this complexity through waiting, uncertainty, and inconvenience. There are typically five phases a resident goes through.
Something breaks or isn’t working properly in an apartment unit or rental home. For example, there’s a running toilet or the dishwasher stopped working. Of course, it always breaks at the worst time: You have company coming over or you’re heading out of town.
However, there are so many unknowns for the resident. Should I try to fix it myself? Is this a safety hazard? Will it cause more damage if I don’t fix it quickly (like a leak)? When and how can I get it fixed? How long will it take?
At this moment, it’s critical that the resident reports the problem by contacting their property manager and is able to easily convey their issue.
As residents start to share what is going on, there are often “menus” of options that are confusing. Residents simply wish they could describe what they’re seeing in plain English (or Spanish!), such as “the washing machine is making that sound again.”
Why can’t someone just give me answers? Is this something that I can fix on my own?
At this touchpoint, residents are simply focused on initiating the process to get someone to help.
Once a resident submits ‘what is wrong’ they often wait… and wait… and wait before scheduling time for help to visit. In some cases, their landlord has follow-up questions or needs to set up a visit to learn more.
How much longer do I have to wait? Will I have to stay home from work? Will they send the right person?
Any visit leads to an inconvenience to the resident as they may have to stay home from work or find time in their busy schedule.
Once scheduled, a technician shows up, but this does not always ensure a quick fix. The fix may take multiple trips - adding more time and pain. The technician may not be the right person or they’re not equipped with the right parts or tools.
How long will this take? Why did they not know what was needed? Will they have to come back?
And while many requests are eventually resolved that day, some must wait for a part or approval.
Lastly, residents are asked to confirm completion and give feedback to their management team.
With so much pain, where does one start? Will things change next time something goes wrong?
At this point, many residents are just happy that their home is back to normal.
Mezo understands that maintenance is a very complex journey for all stakeholders. While we focused today on the resident experience, there’s opportunity for improvement across all stakeholders’ journeys, including technicians, operations, and landlords. What motivates us is the progress we’ve already seen and the opportunity to make it even better.
Many of our team members have experienced the pain of maintenance firsthand as owner-operators, technicians, service providers, and/or residents. We know what it takes to satisfy residents and are empowering employees with resources to make the maintenance journey as smooth as possible.
Please reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you're interested in learning more about how Mezo is tackling maintenance.