The commercial real estate (CRE) industry has seen significant change over the last 5 to 10 years. This change can be tied to the evolving tenant demands that have come from an economy moving at the speed of the Internet. Flexible workplaces and coworking businesses have dominated the headlines, and shown that tenants and employees are moving away from the long-term leases and generic workspaces they’ve accepted in the past. This implies new tactics are needed for tenant engagement.
Tenants need flexibility — they no longer have lengthy corporate plans, and what is required of the modern office space is quite different than it used to be. In today’s world, it’s simple: tenant experience equals customer experience. For many years, CRE could succeed in being building-centric as opposed to customer-centric. This is because the old way to dominate an industry was to own the supply and connect it to the distribution. Now, as we’ve seen across a number of industries, the new way to dominate an industry is to control demand through generating great experiences.
The focus on creating an excellent experience in CRE must start at the property level, with caring about the people who come in and out of your building every day. We can no longer pay attention to only the head of facilities management or the office manager. Now, we need to be thinking about the happiness of each individual employee at a given property.
Modern tenant relations ideas can be a lot to consider, but we’re here to help. In order to ensure that CRE professionals succeed in their changed industry, we’re sharing some tips and tricks to enhance tenant engagement initiatives and to ultimately establish world-class customer experiences throughout any portfolio:
- View the Office as an Extension of Your Brand: Valuable experiences at every turn will make tenants feel appreciative of and loyal to your brand. In order to achieve this, you first need to define what a great experience looks like at your asset. The best building experiences don’t happen in isolation. Instead, they consist of all your building’s elements working together in concert, creating an exceptional, holistic impression of the workplace. If you’re able to succeed in cultivating value for each step of your office journey, then even the more negative experiences (such as wait times, long days, etc) will feel less daunting. The other aspect of this is making sure you’re enhancing the tenant experience from the very first moment a tenant interacts with your building. What is their commute like? Their entry? Their overall first impression?
- Make Steps to Understand Your Core Audience: In order to create the smaller, more meaningful experiences that shape the bigger picture, you need to understand your core audience: your tenants. Learning about and identifying their pain points and preferences will be key to laying the framework for a positive, collective workplace experience. Such insights can lead to fun activities for tenants, property event ideas, and even positive tenant reviews.
- Consider the Pillars of Tenant Experience: In order to create a truly seamless office, as well as to address evolving tenant needs, you need to know the core pillars of tenant experience and how they work together to generate value. Though building needs vary, and some may leverage solutions in certain areas more than others, we’ve identified eight pillars present in every strong tenant experience program: Accessibility, Entertainment & Education, Food & Beverage, Mobility, Security, Sustainability, Wellness, and Workplace Solutions. Together, these pillars transform any tenant experience strategy into a well-rounded one. For example, activating an on-site cafe with mobile ordering or running a fitness class booking through a tenant engagement app will drive the value and utilization of those investments in a way that the physical spaces alone cannot.
- Supplement Blockbuster Events with Smaller Activations: Introducing a mix of on-site and digital programming will make it easier to engage tenants wherever they are. Additionally, trends also show a benefit to infrequent offerings throughout the course of a year. Though high-value blockbuster events still hold value — such as work socials and larger, focused gatherings — supplementing those events with smaller activations and events throughout the year leads to increased tenant engagement. More tenants will feel connected and validated, and you won’t even have to seek additional budget to see results.
- Communicate and Leverage Feedback: It becomes easier to determine a fitting balance of programming and other tenant engagement initiatives when you’re gathering and analyzing real-time feedback. Tenant experience software — such as the HqO platform — can push out surveys as well as use your building’s feature activations as helpful data points. Additionally, this same tenant experience software can be used to let tenants know that they’ve been heard, and about the changes and events going on in your office building. Tenants who feel they have visibility into the initiatives, decisions, and practices of their building’s ownership and management groups will respond more positively than those kept in the dark.
- Only work with Reliable, Experienced, and Cost-Efficient Vendors: When looking for the right technology partners who can facilitate your events, building processes, and beyond, you need to ask yourself: Does this vendor have experience working with CRE? Are they available to help with the execution of their services? Can they accommodate large portfolios? The quality and reliability of technology partners is essential to saving money, time, and frustration during the procurement and execution processes. Additionally, end-user satisfaction depends on your office technology’s ability to establish frictionless, enjoyable experiences throughout your building — one bad implementation can negatively impact your building’s overall impression.
Tenant experience comes with many considerations, and they will continue to evolve as the CRE industry grows into its era of digital transformation. To get ahead on what makes a tenant-centric company, and to discover how you can become tenant experience experts for your portfolio, schedule a demo of our tenant engagement platform today.