After three decades leading in Melbourne, real estate agency Marshall White has taken the bold step to change its property management platform, partnering with Australia’s first real estate industry payment gateway between tenants and landlords.
Paula Matlock, Marshall White director of property, told REB that she wanted to develop smart tech to support their internal process to enable the property management team to spend more time on the customer-facing activities.
“I have always been of the opinion that we are a people business and technology should aid and assist, not replace our customer service,” Ms Matlock said.
According to the director of property, Marshall White’s strong sales performance plays a key role in driving the success of its property management proposition and the two functions are closely aligned.
“Marshall White is number one when it comes to the market share of property sales in all areas where we have an office. We develop strong relationships with these clients, a large percentage of which are investors and referred from the sales team directly to property management.
“The property management team are then tasked with nurturing these clients and providing the same level of personalised service they received on the sales side. In short, our key point of difference is our team — knowledgeable, hardworking and operating as a whole to ensure the best possible experience for our landlords.”
After assessing a number of cloud-based platforms, Ms Matlock felt that the best fit for Marshall White was Managed App (Managed). As well as delivering Australia’s first automated payment gateway, Managed offers a degree of customisation that was not available from any other provider.
This gave Marshall White the scope to match its client service proposition with cutting-edge technology that improved the outcomes for tenants and landlords while dramatically cutting much of the administration that had dominated the daily workload for the property management team.
“Our property managers’ administrative workflows will become automated; processes will be more streamlined and communication with clients will become easier. The end plan is for property managers to have fewer administrative tasks dragging them down, liberating them to be proactive than reactive.
“This will also allow them to manage more property and provide a more personal service to their clients. The flow-on affect to the investor is they have a trusted representative looking after their property investment. They can access information at their fingertips and only have conversations with their property manager that are valuable.”
As well as giving property managers more time to focus on constructive management of their clients’ investments, Managed also delivers a host of new features to both the tenant and the landlord. This is a feature that Ms Matlock believes delivers a better experience for all parties.
“The new platform allows tenants and owners access to all information relating to their property or tenancy. There is more transparency around payments, better communication in terms of maintenance, bill payments and a level of connectivity than I’ve seen any other provide offer.”
Real estate groups often face a daunting level of disruption when transiting to a new platform — one of the key reasons that property managers stay with software even when it has been superseded. The process of switching to Managed, however, has been less onerous than she feared and the benefits have far outweighed the inconvenience.
“We have over 2,300 properties ranging in rent from $450 per week to $8,000 per week. I would say half of our rent roll are what I refer to as investors by default who we anticipated being more of a challenge as they don’t necessarily want all the information and access that we offer with our new tech. Quite simply, they just want the money in their account,” Ms Matlock said.
“It’s these clients that we were wary of moving on to something so new. Communicating change is the biggest challenge, and the best solution is to replicate the current setup and slowly introduce the features if and when they want to use them — we still handle the full process just like we did before so their experience and interactions with their property manager do not have to change.
“We have now trained the property managers to sell the benefits to an owner and tenant, with new clients being very receptive.”