CRE leaders are ramping up their efforts to attract the best commercial tenants in an increasingly competitive space. But unfortunately, the industry has reached a point where improvements to the physical office environment can no longer enhance the tenant experience. Instead, tenants today expect a digital experience that’s social, engaging, and, perhaps most importantly, seamless. As a result, CRE companies are investing in tech-enabled solutions, from automation to artificial intelligence, to bolster a successful tenant experience program.
What is Tenant Experience?
Tenant experience is an umbrella term that refers to tenants’ satisfaction with their property manager, the property itself, and the overall leasing experience. It is the combination of all the interactions, services, and amenities that a tenant has access to throughout their tenancy. Tenant experience is essential to attracting and retaining quality tenants while reducing vacancy rates.
Tenant experience combines several factors, including physical property conditions, the quality of the property manager-tenant relationship, the day-to-day management of the property, the responsiveness of the property manager to requests and complaints, the quality of the amenities provided, and the overall costs.
Why Does Tenant Experience Matter?
The tenant experience can make or break the success of a commercial property. It is the key to increased occupancy, reduced turnover, increased referrals, and improved public perception. Here are the key benefits of a successful tenant experience.
Higher Retention Rates: Satisfied tenants are loyal tenants. Creating a solid tenant support system helps increase retention and long-term rent optimization.
Increased Occupancy Rates: Happy tenants are more likely to refer your property to their network, leading to increased occupancy and revenue.
Reduced Turnover: Negative experiences often cause tenants to rethink their lease. Tenants who feel valued in their rental unit are less likely to move out, leading to reduced turnover rates and less money spent trying to find and screen new tenants.
6 Must-Haves for a Successful Tenant Experience
1. Remove Communication Barriers
Tenants value the visibility and control provided by open lines of communication. Whether in an app, online portal, digital signage or text notification, multi-channel communication achieves an active connection with tenants making them feel important and supported. In addition, employing these modern communication tools allows property owners and managers to better monitor tenant needs and put a more effective and professional face on their buildings.
2. Provide Self-Service Support
According to ZenDesk, 69 percent of people want to resolve as many issues as possible on their own using self-service options. Using tools like conversational AI powered by ChatGPT can empower tenants with self-service access to important building information like tenant manuals, rental terms and local services and amenities. It can also enable the automated coordination, processing and approval of maintenance requests, resource reservations and visitor parking for quick and efficient service and a superior tenant experience.
3. Keep Processes Simple
Tenants don’t want to write out checks for rent, deal with the paperwork to renew leases or call the property management office to file a work order request. Tenants want convenience. And convenience happens to be the key to ensuring business continuity.
Digitizing and automating day-to-day processes like rent payments, lease renewals, maintenance requests and so on takes the manual burden off of both the tenant and property manager.
4. Consider Health and Safety
With indoor environments directly influencing people’s physical and mental states, tenant health and well-being have become core pillars in today’s commercial building operations. For example, a World Green Building Council study found that thermal comfort impacts workers’ productivity. A cold office reduces productivity by 4%, while a warm office will reduce it by 6%.
Continuous real-time monitoring of indoor climate conditions is crucial to maintain a comfortable, productive, personalized environment for tenants. As such, the ability to track diverse environmental variables – from temperature and relative humidity to air, lighting and sound quality- and deploying smart cleaning programs is fundamental to ensuring a positive tenant experience.
5. Take a Greener Approach
Tenants don’t just want a tech-friendly environment—they also have serious and growing concerns about their buildings’ environmental impact. As a result, CRE companies must embrace digital transformation and its business-critical insights to pivot to more energy-efficient practices, use resources more responsibly and organize processes in ways that reduce waste.
For example, collecting and analyzing ESG data such as energy consumption, indoor air quality, occupancy rates, CO2 levels and more enables CRE firms to quickly identify trends and inefficiencies across their property portfolio to provide an optimal environment that dramatically improves the tenant experience.
Buildings that are green, or more sustainable, have also proven to have higher occupancy rates and lower turnover and command higher rents. For example, a study by Bentall Kennedy found that LEED-certified projects take in 3.7 percent more in rent and have four percent higher occupancy rates than comparable non-LEED buildings.
6. Learn from Your Tenants
The ability to adapt asset strategies based on tenant behaviour and tenant sentiment changes is paramount for any ownership or property team looking to ensure the long-term value of their assets. Owners and operators who effectively deploy technology to collect, store, and learn from tenant data will put themselves ahead of the competition, accelerate leasing cycles, improve tenant retention, and optimize operational efficiency within their portfolio.
Tech-driven solutions will drive the future of superior tenant experiences. From automated self-service support and multi-channel engagement to IoT-fueled sustainable buildings and deep analytical insights, these technologies help create an engaging environment that will improve tenant satisfaction and increase property portfolio profitability.