Occasionally, in our industry, a new technology or idea emerges. On the surface, it may not be particularly complex or ground-breaking. In fact, it’s usually some tiny innovation, a simple shift in thinking. But so often this small change has the potential for profound and far-reaching impact. It’s one such innovation I am excited to share with you today.
The process for logging of security incidents in UK Residential properties (BTR, PRS and PBSA) is near-universal. When the property manager finishes their shift in the evening, they hand over responsibilities to a security guard along with the logbook for security incidents. When the property manager returns the next morning, they are updated on the night’s events from this handwritten log. 22:06, fire alarm on floor three, burnt toast on investigation; 00:02, leak on floor six, mechanical maintenance contacted; 02:23, lockout in room 182, key card replaced; and so on. The manager takes action on the things they can and files the handwritten report away in case it’s needed for follow-up issues.
It’s a simple, functional and rudimentary system. It’s also outdated. How much valuable data is lost in this process? Data that could help improve customer experience, reduce maintenance costs and ultimately make UK Residential developments safer places to live. How long does it take for pertinent information to escalate to management, both on the property side and on the security side?
We knew a better system was possible, so we built one.
We created an online logbook. The benefits became apparent very quickly.
Every night, the security staff would fill in an online form, very similar to the handwritten kind. At the end of the night shift, a summarised version of this form would be disseminated to relevant figures in the management chain, from site manager to directors of operations, procurement, facilities management and so on. This system allowed for important information to be circulated to key stakeholders, by issuing a consolidated report every morning detailing the incidents that had occurred the night before. It was an improvement for both the BTR and PBSA clients and the security companies.
On top of this, all the information was being added to a growing database and it was here that the major potential became apparent.
Patterns began to emerge, both on a micro and macro scale. Little things like recurring plumbing complaints on certain floors, or repeat lockouts with certain rooms. This allowed us to not just address individual cases of a problem, but the emergence of a pattern pointed us to its roots – a broken boiler or a faulty lock for example.
We were so excited about the results of this relatively minor process improvement, we have taken the idea one step further.
The Solution: PropSecured
We have now designed a progressive web app – PropSecured – which will allow us to refine the sorts of improvements we discovered above, and much more.
The value of this data is immense. With some careful algorithmic analytics, PropSecured can interrogate the data and generate novel and insightful suggestions, the kind that would be impossible by just leafing through some handwritten logs.
Assessing an individual’s experience of living in a property, for example, can become a powerful tool. With the high cost per acquisition of new customers in our exponentially expanding market, knowing which residents are already likely to renew and which residents are almost definitely going elsewhere, can save time and money. Last year Resident A reported a lockout which was resolved there and then, Resident B has reported 3 cases of mice infestation and 6 recurring leaks. Who is most like to accept a rent increase at renewal?
But the benefits of PropSecured don’t stop there.
Over a few months or years, and harvesting data from across a range of properties, trends and patterns can emerge that can prompt changes in purchasing, management, staffing and so on. One example might be recurring issues with a certain type of boiler. Armed with this information, buyers can know which boilers work best in their properties, and which models or manufacturers to avoid. To an individual property manager, this information may not mean much. But to directors of operations and other senior management, the cost saved here could be enormous, both from an FM and customer experience perspective.
PropSecured also offers exciting new options for security services. The types of data entered and the regularity of entry can be correlated against individual staff members. Therefore not only is the platform a huge selling point to new clients, the information garnered can be used as a tool for employee evaluation.
The possible uses for PropSecured are endless, and each iteration can be white-labelled and tailored to the needs of the property or the people overseeing it. With a pool of data this large it becomes possible to identify and interrogate trends that would never have been accessible before.
The beauty of it all is that these features directly benefit everyone involved at every step of the process. It reduces the burden on the security staff and the property managers; it provides novel, holistic insights for senior management staff; and perhaps most importantly, the efficiencies and data gathered directly impacts an individual consumer’s experience of their time in a property, without doubt, for the better.