CRM is TRM… the Best in Breed

Posted on 3 August 2010 at 1:24 pm in Great Software.

Customer Relationship Management (“CRM”) solutions continue to be at the top of every company’s software shopping list. Whether you are a Fortune 500 company or a small three-person office, CRM solutions provide the modern ties that bind relationships. Who among us doesn’t use Outlook, Act or some other form of contact manager? For building owner/managers who are focused on maintaining and enhancing relationships with tenants, the answer isn’t CRM, its TRM (“Tenant Relationship Management”).

A TRM solution focuses on the specific needs of tenants by providing pertinent information to tenants about their building, its contractors, work requests, and notifications. A TRM solution, like an operating system, can be outfitted with software for visitor management, access control, architectural information and much more. Though an online work order management system alone is great for building operations, it fails to focus on what tenants really need. Whether by phone or online, the light bulb is going to get changed. The real question is how are tenants getting their fire drill notifications? How are they managing building access? Can they contact relevant service providers for building related work?

Having implemented several TRM solutions in both multi-tenanted and single tenanted commercial properties, the most noticeable difference with each installation is the improvement in tenants’ opinion of building management. Providing tenants with access to pertinent contacts and communication gives tenants a sense of empowerment. For the first time, tenants can access a building’s relevant knowledgebase without a phone call, without scrounging around for the notice slipped under the door, or calling the building office looking for the approved contractor for carpet cleaning.

Most recently, we replaced a very expensive work-order management system with a less expensive TRM solution. This work-order software company let the building have their work-order system for free for one year. They must have thought that once the building was hooked, a change would be difficult. They were wrong. Quickly, we discovered less than ten percent of the building’s tenants were using the work order system. We were even more surprised to find out that tenant’s attitude was, “I get charged enough for rent, I am not helping them run their building!” With the simple change to our TRM platform, the building usage jumped to eighty percent, the building is running smoothly and the tenants are happier.

The typical customer relationship management solution is applied to situations where a product or service is delivered from a business to a client on a one-to-one basis. While in some respects supplying space is a service, the interaction of janitorial services, contractors and building staff with tenants is not a one-to-one relationship. Each property is unique and building services are provided in a multi-dimensional fashion.

For example, requests for service might be made directly to building staff, but a third-party might handle the actual work. Or, a building might have an emergency response system for brown-outs, but the notifications are dispatched from a central location. Faxes and porters handing out letters just wont do anymore. A well-designed TRM allows for off site instant notifications to selected tenants and/or direct contact with selected vendors.

Remember, it is the everyday things that people appreciate. Leveraging technology to make relationships stronger and more valuable is the purpose of implementing a Customer Relationship solution. A TRM solution for building owner/managers is no different. Sharing information and communication on an easy to use platform sends a positive message fortifying existing relationships.

Before deciding on what online work-order system should be implemented, consider a TRM solution as a comprehensive communication system, one that not only allows building staff to administer work-orders, but also enhances the overall tenant experience.

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