Why Settle for Traditional Property Maintenance Technology?

February 16, 2024

Why Settle for Traditional Property Maintenance Technology? 

Technological evolution within Property Management and Maintenance was historically slow (but steady!) The current landscape is transforming faster than ever, though, thanks to recent innovations in maintenance management software and breakthroughs in property maintenance software. As things speed up, it’s clear that the keys to meaningful, impactful change involve embracing new technologies and developing new ways of thinking about multifamily maintenance. 

Early Property Maintenance Systems

Once upon a time, residents had to leave the comfort of their homes and trek to their supers’ doors whenever a maintenance issue popped up. In the days of yore, property managers and maintenance technicians had to act as their own maintenance management systems. With an average of five work orders per unit per year, maintenance technicians, in particular, were the de facto “brand” or “face” of the property; their interactions with residents opened the door for raving fans or resident turnover.  

Fast-forward to the 1960s, when the power of existing technology -the telephone-  was harnessed to create a new industry: call centers. Not only did they allow property managers to maintain their brand’s presence and expand the range of resident questions they could answer, but call centers also freed them up to focus on more critical tasks.

However, the advent of Property Management Software Systems (PMSs) in the 1980s marked the most radical shift in the Property Management and Maintenance space. PMSs replaced paperwork orders and offered organization that helped connect the dots from one end to the other.

The Advent of AI and Digital Property Maintenance Solutions

Of course, the most significant leaps and bounds in innovation have unfolded over the past few years in the realm of maintenance software. 

Two great examples: 

  • Elise AI showed us how far an AI-assisted tool could advance leasing. Not only did it include its own form of automation (customer-established workflows), but it also leveled up with intuitive resident interactions that residents preferred. 
  • Alfred, a virtual resident concierge service (launched in 2015 by Sapone and Beck) designed to make life easier for residents by outsourcing household tasks. 

In 2020, the pandemic encouraged a shift from onsite staffing to technology-supported solutions. While the circumstances were far from ideal, the change was welcome as maintenance technicians were stretched thin, and inconsistent experiences began speaking more loudly to residents. 

Be Wary of Well-Intentioned Tech-Solutions That Could Harm Your Brand

Several prop-tech providers now offer automation, AI-supported resident chat features, and other tech-forward solutions to improve property maintenance. However, while automation and improved resident experiences are absolutely the future, putting the (automated) cart before the horse could lead to more headaches than solutions.  

Automating processes and workflows -aka “set-and-forget”- are only valuable when they’re dynamic and data-driven. Without clear visibility into work orders upon intake (namely, what’s broken and how to repair it), automations miss critical data needed to drive outcomes. At this point, you’re essentially automating junk-in/junk-out. 

Plus, it takes a considerable team investment to create most automation options, and even then, they rarely offer dynamic options regardless of inputs. You could have all the correct data, but workflows could limit your ability to optimize margins and performance.

For example:

  • Your resident has an ‘A/C cooling issue’ in their home. 
  • Your auto-vend’s set to send HVAC tickets to your preferred vendor (as an expert is often required.

Inefficiencies include:

  • Your team does not understand what’s broken or why: Without this, you won’t know the required fix, the parts needed, or whether to call an expert versus your less costly in-house team.
  • You’re unaware of the cost and time needed to repair: Without this, you can’t confidently negotiate the NTE and you’ll incur the added expense of a diagnostic visit.
  • Your maintenance ops team is burning time to coordinate quotes/spend: While they work this out, your resident’s home temp and frustration levels rise as they wait for a resolution.

Residents have come to expect Digital Chat or Text Options –a step up from traditional call centers and calling trees– from all their service providers. However, a chat or text solution that simply regurgitates the same old maintenance form won’t necessarily fit the bill. Consumers today can get an immediate answer from Alexa, Siri, ChatGPT, or Bard anytime, which has raised the bar for call resident experiences (digital or otherwise).  

Consider the example A/C service request: does a new chat-based resident intake form offset the frustration of a vendor/technician making several trips before resolving the issue? 

Reducing the time your team spends on each work order will only help your brand if you resolve issues faster and/or level up the resident and technician experience. Service providers can do better; you should expect more from your technology partners.

Without Data Visibility, You’re Sacrificing Improved Outcomes 

Mezo’s co-founders and team have decades of experience in the industry. When we set out to solve the property maintenance black box, we knew each product had to drive meaningful outcomes for all three stakeholders: residents, maintenance teams, and owners/operators/ managers. It’s like a three-legged stool…you can’t improve one ‘leg’ at the expense of others without taking a (potentially embarrassing) tumble.

When creating true, dynamic, data-driven Maintenance Intelligence, there are three outcomes to look for in a maintenance solutions provider:

  • The ability to truly identify the issue: What’s happening? Why it’s happening? What’s involved in the repair? What tools are needed? What type of technician skillset is required?
  • Hands-on maintenance experience and subject matter expertise in maintenance operations: This isn't about replacing your technicians and vendors...it's about supercharging their capability and capacity!
  • Detailed, real-time knowledge of the property’s attributes and asset inventory. 

With a solid foundation built on data visibility, you can start layering on technology (automations, AI, Machine Learning, etc.) to drive dynamic decisioning* that continually adapts and improves. Then, and only then, will smart solutions like automation drive meaningful outcomes for your stakeholders.  

*More on that in our next blog post!


At Mezo, we’re excited to lead the way with Maintenance Intelligence that reimagines what’s possible, making property maintenance transparent, seamless and easy for everyone involved. Mezo combines advanced AI with decades of property maintenance subject matter expertise to accelerate property maintenance innovation for Multifamily, Student-Housing and Single-Family. 

By eliminating inefficiencies that exist in traditional property maintenance, Mezo's maintenance platform is simultaneously improving the Resident experience, supercharging Maintenance teams and delivering unparalleled cost savings & operational visibility to Owners, Operators and Property Managers. Learn more about Mezo by checking out our latest blog series, www.mezo.io or contacting our team at sales@mezo.io 

Let's explore the future of maintenance intelligence together.

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