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Our thoughts on the future of block management

24 October, 2022

Leasehold is being scrutinised like never before, with increased expectations of property professionals it is time for property managers to step up their game and not just meet, but create, new standards.

The competitive market, high legislative standards, and rising operational costs all indicate that challenges are on the way. It is undoubtedly thought-provoking to debate and challenge what the future holds for property management given this current environment.

The future landscape of the industry appears to be full of intriguing technology and innovation, but we should never overlook the value of face-to-face contact. Even while technology can help to speed processes, we should strive to strike the appropriate balance between personal relationships with leaseholders and technology utilisation.

So, what does the future financial landscape, laws, consumer, technology, and property management position look like?

The property manager’s role

While the work of the property manager is continually evolving as a result of external variables, some may argue that it has gotten considerably more intensive in particular places.

A property manager’s responsibilities are significantly more technical now than they were 10 or 12 years ago. You must be an expert in a variety of fields, including human resources, building fabric and engineering, the complexities of regulations, and financial considerations.

Working in the sector now necessitates a wide range of skills and knowledge, which is why additional training courses are now available from organisations such as ARMA, IRPM, and RICS. Perhaps the most important question is whether a property management degree or other higher education options should be available. Would greater awareness benefit the industry and raise the bar?

Money and fees

One of the most contentious issues surrounding the future of property management is the financial aspect, namely the dispute between flat monthly or annual costs vs hourly payments.

It’s worth mentioning that professional services like accountants and solicitors are increasingly charging fixed rates as they become more tech-savvy.

Transparency, it may be claimed, will be critical in the future. If you charge by the hour, you may have difficulty explaining a large amount to a customer at the end of the year. Regardless of this debate, a general opinion from my experience is that it’s difficult to describe what a property management performs when they aren’t actually performing labour that benefits the customer, and thus the fees can become unclear and misread. Whatever the case, it is critical to be able to separate and break down costs in order to justify them. Technology, as well as financial communication concerns, can aid in this transparency.

If block management wishes to become more technologically advanced, a charge-per-hour fee model may be required due to automation and the reduced need for human labour and input.

Transparency and technologies

Customers’ habits and expectations evolve throughout time, regardless of industry. The same is true with property management. Customers have varying preferences; for example, a younger audience may have a higher desire for speedier response time. Regardless, the requirement for client satisfaction remains a top concern. The customer reigns supreme.

Block management technology could be the key to improved customer service, transparency, and communication. CRM and automation technologies will improve customer management and response times while also streamlining any back-office procedures.

As previously noted, the position of a property manager is evolving, and with increased emphasis on compliance and legislation, knowledge management software may benefit. The ability to collect and disseminate knowledge may enable for the storage and exchange of information in a single location.
Many industries have previously benefited from artificial intelligence and machine learning. Automation of chores could be the next level of customer service for block managers in terms of efficiency. This would simplify operations like repairs.

The age groupings of leaseholders should be considered in comparison to the age groups of property management staff. Just because you can contact someone over an online chat or portal doesn’t guarantee your target audience will. Your primary channel of communication should be the manner your major customer prefers to communicate. Avoid being entangled in the conflict. The customer comes first. After all, diverse client groups’ diversity can be accommodated.

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