Experienced property manager and Propertyware user James Wagley steps in promising to “make the products and services already in place better before we add anything new.”
“I was one of you, so I know exactly where you’re coming from,” said James Wagley, Propertyware’s SVP of Single-Family, in a recent address.
His extensive experience as a single-family property manager made it clear to him that Propertyware customers were a lot more interested in improvements to existing functionality and customer service than in new bells and whistles. So he has made it his mission to fix product problems, improve the implementation process, create access to product training, simplify the product offering/pricing and improve the overall customer experience before taking on anything else.
“I am a power user of Propertyware. My wife and I built a management company with around 500 properties, and I had even developed software myself, so I was keenly aware of what Propertyware customers need and expect,” says Wagley. “When I was asked to take over this role, new features were being announced at a steady clip, but I kept thinking that what we really need is to have what’s already there perform like our customers expect. Not only the functionality of the software itself but also the way the company supports customers, the pricing structure, all the basics.”
After taking over in late 2015, Wagley changed the company leadership team and dug into change things. Here are some of the major areas already showing big improvements:
Improved product functionality
The most critical attention has been given to fixing bugs and improving product features that do not provide a best-in-class customer experience. “When we’re finished, the software will exceed the expectations of our customers. We have sought out feedback on what they don’t like and what doesn’t work the way it should. Our main focus is on the accounting and reporting modules,” says Wagley.
Simplified product offering
The once confusing slate of product offerings has been streamlined and simplified. “We restructured the product offering based on what a PMC needs to manage their business, with easy to understand pricing and pre-set packages,” says Wagley. “We also simplified our contract and terms. Early feedback has been very positive and the overall perception of Propertyware has improved greatly in a short amount of time. This tells us we are on the right track.”
Customers used to get called by various people from different product areas during implementation, depending on what products they had purchased. “This was not only confusing, it was redundant,” says Wagley. “Many of our products require the same information, and being asked for it repeatedly was irritating and confusing. Now when a customer starts implementation, there’s just one point of contact, one consultant through whom everything is channeled.”
Ongoing product training
Before, there was no ongoing product training that allowed users to continually improve their knowledge of how to use the product. Wagley prioritized closing this gap. Propertyware now hosts free live daily product training online, with no attendance limits. “Users can participate anytime they want to in order to fine-tune their knowledge and use of the products. This is important not only for new customers but also existing customers with new employees or those who need refresher training,” Wagley says. He also made it clear that the best is yet to come for training. “Look for additional training resources during the first part of 2017 that will wow our users,” he promises.
A new system of scorecards now lets customers know how effectively they’re using the software. “For the first time ever, we have a way to ensure customers are getting the most out of the products they’re paying for,” says Wagley. “The scorecards allow users and managers to identify areas in which they and their staff need improvement. This initiative was piloted in mid-2016 and the reaction of users has been overwhelmingly positive.”
Institutional investor features
Wagley mentions that the evolution of Propertyware will continue with a final goal: adding new functionality geared toward the needs of institutional investors or PMCs that manage for investors. The initial focus will be to deliver industry-standard reporting with the caliber and power needed by institutional investors to gain visibility into data and statistics previously not offered by Propertyware.
Wagley’s wife continues to manage their single-family property management company and remains a loyal Propertyware user. She and other friends and business associates in the industry channel feedback to Wagley. “I have a whole network of people in the business I rely on for feedback and great ideas about improving Propertyware,” he says. “We’ve already done a lot, but our customers will feel an even greater difference in quality as we roll forward.”