Customer Success Representative at HqO
As a Customer Success team member at HqO, Gillian works with Engagement Specialists and Success Managers to ensure customers achieve their tenant experience goals. She loves addressing client challenges, whether it’s executing on a property team’s day-to-day strategies or coming up with custom technology offerings for unique use-cases.
What drew you to this industry and HqO in particular?
When I joined HqO, commercial real estate was entirely new to me. I had some minor residential and retail knowledge from family members working in those industries but never knew much about office space. I chose HqO because it struck me how motivated this crew was. I could tell early on that there was a genuine commitment to building something from scratch that hadn’t been uncovered yet. It didn’t feel like we were just another business doing what everyone else does. Instead, we were taking a need in the industry and building it from the ground up.
You mentioned needs in the industry. Can you share an example of what you’re seeing?
One of my clients really values data. They try to use it as much as possible to retroactively look at how they’ve done things in the past, as well as proactively look at how they can achieve their goals in the future. For the past three quarters, I’ve been working to put together look-back decks, which my client then goes and distributes to their property teams across their entire portfolio.
These reports allow them to demonstrate the value of our product through success stories and key wins. The information also helps them see that the work they’re doing every day is important — it’s good when you add content to the app and when you promote those contests for tenant engagement. I like that project because it closes the loop on what our clients work on all year. It shows that this is all worth it, and uses data to back it up.
Love that. Seems like there’s quite an opportunity when it comes to engaging with tenants meaningfully.
Absolutely! Ponce City Market is a mixed-use property. They have commercial office space, but also residential and retail space. They found a way to really tap into each of those areas because they know their clientele really well.
When I worked on the account, they hosted perks to drive tenants to the retailers around them in a meaningful way. For example, they’d have pop-up days where the pizza place downstairs was selling $5 pizzas or something similar. They’d send out a push notification through the app and tenants could run down and get their food.
Seeing that multi-faceted approach was awesome, because we hadn’t necessarily built the app to be retail or residential-focused at that time. Ponce was able to take the capabilities of the app and morph it into solutions that were unique to their asset. They definitely see the value in technology, well beyond the horizon of what’s currently possible.
What do you think is possible? How do you believe tenant experience technology fits into the office today and tomorrow?
I think that the past year and a half has proven that, if nothing else, people can actually work from home. The luxury that big landlords had before was that maybe people could work from home one day a week, but they weren’t really working from home. They were picking their kids up from soccer practice, or doing their laundry, or scheduling a vet appointment, or couldn’t focus because the street sweeper was going by and it was too loud in their house. They banked on the fact that people would have to come into big metropolitan cities to go to the post office or get lunch with a client.
Now, I don’t think they have that luxury anymore. We’ve all been exposed to the idea that people can make things work depending on what’s best for them. The importance of tenant experience technology is how it shifts that dynamic back to the office. It makes workers want to come back. It provides a value to the physical office that is distinctly better than what they have at home. Technology can create advantages, perks, amenities, and conveniences for tenants — like mobile access, food ordering, density checks, and more — that are valuable throughout their entire day.
As a member of the tenant workforce, are there any technologies that you’re using right now that you find beneficial?
I’m a big fan of mobile access, which we happen to have in our product. I think that it goes without saying that it’s ubiquitous these days. It’s something that a lot of people are gravitating towards in this post-pandemic, no-touch world. I’m a bit of a germaphobe, and even before COVID-19, I was always nervous about touching things. So, it’s been convenient and comforting to just hold my phone up to a sensor and have the door open for me.
I also am a commuter, and transit is vital to me. My dad lives all the way out in the suburbs, and he takes the commuter rail every morning. I have experienced that before, and it was incredibly stressful and painful to go through that process every day — trains would be late, there would be delays, it would be overcrowded. It would set you up for a lousy work day.
The fact of the matter is simple: if someone is frustrated and showing up late to a meeting, or feeling upset about their commute every day, then they’re not going to want to come into your building anymore. Instead, they’re going to want to work remotely or find a job closer to home. Fortunately, technology exists to ease all of these pain points, and it’s definitely being applied to the workplace.
Has this kind of technology provided any other benefits to landlords and property managers?
I’ve learned along the way that there is a ton of room to grow as it relates to landlords and property teams really knowing the individuals in their building. Before the last few years, landlords were restricted to their tenant points-of-contact or a few select representatives. These people likely did not represent the larger building community as it relates to how they’re interfacing with the building, what they like, what they don’t like, and what their plans are for renewing their lease.
Our product allows teams to have a direct line to every single individual tenant in the building. Which, of course, if you’re the money-maker at the top of the chain, is valuable because then you get a sense of how people feel about your building. Maybe they really like the gym, but you know they hate the coffee shop downstairs because it doesn’t make any sales. That might indicate that it’s time to think about bringing something else in to hook tenants and make them love your building more than the one across the street that has cheaper rent.
Technology has really been crucial to exposing teams to a new world of how tenants think and feel.
What excites you most about working at HqO?
There’s an almost stereotypical culture with any startup where everyone has snacks in the kitchen and a ping pong table. Not all of that leads to productive work, a successful culture, or a business that actually functions in a meaningful way. I think the difference for HqO is that we have all of that, but we also have an incredibly hardworking, intelligent, driven, motivated team. There is an unspoken commitment that we are all striving to be something that’s better than ourselves.
Inside HqO pulls back the curtain and introduces you to the people who make HqO the undisputed leader in tenant experience technology. For more information on HqO’s Customer Success team, click here. If you’re interested in joining Gillian and the HqO team, check out all of our current openings here.