11 February 2019
Better communication between property managers and tenants
In Australia and New Zealand, Palace Property Management (Palace) provides property management solutions to thousands of realtors, which allow users to better oversee the management of their clients’ properties. Palace currently serves over 600 customers that provide services for over 70,000 properties.
Central to Palace’s growth and longevity has been a willingness to embrace disruptive and innovative technologies that has allowed the company to provide the best possible suite of software solutions for its clients. The company, which has seen 30 percent year-on-year growth, attributes a portion of this success to its continuously evolving product, which includes features such as an app and a number of third party capabilities, which add value for its clients.
As the platform offers a complete property management solution, it is critical for the company to have a reliable and effective communication system between property managers and tenants.
Palace began as a New Zealand-based company, writing and developing software solutions for the property management industry. By developing and providing access to a suite of integrated software solutions, Palace allows its clients to operate more efficiently.
The company, which has been operating since 1999, has experienced significant growth in recent years, expanding from a small family operation of three people to now employing more than 20 staff.
Michael Abbott is Palace’s CEO and is responsible for upholding the company’s commitment to providing clients with a valuable and innovative product. While the Palace software suite provides access to a number of different tools, Abbott says that SMS has proved to be one of the most effective, and popular, methods his clients use to communicate with tenants.
New technology to solve a common problem
The Palace software suite operates in a crowded and competitive marketplace. To distinguish itself from competitors it has been important for Palace to offer the most cost-effective, innovative and efficient third party software solutions to its clients.
Abbott first identified a need for a reliable communication system in 2008 when a number of clients had mentioned that they found it difficult to reach and communicate with tenants over the phone, however, they had a much higher response rate with SMS.
“Unlike other forms of communication, when you receive a text, the recipient will often have a look as soon as it pops up. That isn’t always the case with other methods like email or snail-mail.”
Abbott decided SMS needed to be incorporated into the platform, however, when researching, he found that few offered API integration, apart from MessageMedia.
“In 2008, it was rare to find a solution that could offer API to integrate into our platform. MessageMedia was one of the only ones to offer API that allowed SMS to integrate back into our system where competitors did not. This was a key consideration in our decision to adopt MessageMedia,” says Abbott.
“In the early days, convincing our clients of the value of an SMS solution wasn’t the easiest sell, particularly when we were still charging a subscription fee to utilise the service,” Mr Abbott said.
“While we no longer charge clients a subscription fee, this was initially a significant barrier to adoption.”
To combat the initial lack of uptake by clients, Palace began offering a one-month free trial of the MessageMedia SMS service integration.
“Not a single client that trialled the free MessageMedia solution ended up cancelling their subscription after the month. What this told us was that we were offering something of significant value to our clients and once they started using this technology, they weren’t likely to stop.”
With such a resounding vote of confidence from its clients, Palace continues to offer access to MessageMedia’s industry-leading SMS service.
Integration and automation provide improved efficiency, fewer headaches
The seamless and intuitive way that MessageMedia’s API integrated with Palace’s software suite was a critical factor for Palace’s adoption of the software, particularly in providing a user-friendly management system for end-users.
“The API allows for the text message to come back into the system as a text message, whereas a number of competing products only allow that communication to come back as an email,” said Mr Abbott.
“Integration needed to be straightforward and MessageMedia provided some of the best support we’ve experienced from a software development perspective.”
This simple integration encouraged Palace’s clients to utilise the automated SMS platform in numerous ways, making otherwise time- and labour-intensive tasks much quicker and more efficient.
“Before clients began using the SMS solution, many would waste time trying to get hold of tenants on the phone and leaving voice messages, which would often go unnoticed. The advantage of text messages is that, unlike voice messages, if you get a text you’ll look at it almost instantly.”
“We can also set up templates, for example a remittance template, which can be tracked and sent through our system, saves our clients so much time and money.”
On-the-record communication for peace of mind
Having a robust and reliable way to keep track of past communications was a popular feature for a number of Palace’s users. Some property managers have hundreds, if not thousands, of tenants and tradespeople that require constant communication.
“If you manage a large number of tenants, and you send a tenant an SMS from the Palace system, a record of that text is then stored against that tenant. If the tenant then replies to that text, you will have a record of that response on the system,” says Abbott.
“The system is also useful when it comes to staff turnover, as the company has a secure record of communications with tenants, allowing simple handover for new staff. This feature doubles as a safeguard, particularly in situations where disputes occur and the company requires proof of interactions. On multiple occasions, our clients have been able to take message history to tribunal as evidence, which preserves our clients’ reputation and credibility.”
SMS for added value and business growth
MessageMedia makes up a critical component of the Palace software suite and is a key selling point because of its speed, reliability and functionality.
Abbott said that compared to competitors, MessageMedia’s solution was much faster and demonstrated more efficient rates of delivery.
“Often when I’m giving prospective clients a demo of what our software can do for their business, one of the most compelling examples I can give them is the MessageMedia component of our offering,” said Abbott.
“During a demo I ask for someone to volunteer their mobile phone number so I can generate an SMS from our system, using one of the standard templates that we generate for clients. This will come through in around 10 seconds, which is generally much quicker than anyone expects.”
“When our clients realise the advantages that come from sending an SMS from our system, as well as how quick and easy it is to generate them, the case to incorporate SMS into their day-to-day operations becomes quite appealing.”
In addition to speed, SMS has been a cost-effective addition and a key source of value for the company, with the function being one of the most utilised functions on the platform.
“In comparison to other products, MessageMedia is highly economical whereby I only pay for what I use. If I don’t use all of my messages, I don’t lose them.”
In recent years the company has seen significant growth, largely due to Palace’s ongoing development of the platform and the integration of MessageMedia’s API solution.
“The business growth has been great due to a number of reasons, however MessageMedia is an important part of that, particularly because it [messaging] is so widely used.”
“We have observed that our text message use has been consistently increasing and it has been for several years,” said Abbott.
“I would certainly recommend MessageMedia as I know competitor services are not as good as what MessageMedia provides.”