The Console Cloud Winter Release Webinar was our biggest yet, in more ways than one.
With more than 700 live viewers, flash new production equipment, and (most importantly) an absolutely feature-packed release, this was not a webinar to miss. But if you find yourself needing a recap on what’s new to Console Cloud this season, or (gasp!) you missed the webinar, read on.
But seriously, you didn’t miss the webinar, did you?
Twelve months on: why choose console cloud?
The winter release webinar caps off a year of quarterly product launches for Console Cloud, and it seemed fitting to begin by revisiting the question: why choose Console Cloud? Besides evolving significantly to become a feature and workflow-rich product, we’ve proved something else about Console Cloud this year.
That is, we’ve proved that Console Cloud has a vision for the success of the property managers who use it. And we’ve proved that it consistently delivers on that vision. It does that by not seeking to follow everyone else’s footsteps, and recreating the same server-based software in the cloud.
Console Cloud, on the other hand, is about radically reducing the amount of manual labour for property managers. But why choose this vision?
The world of work is changing for property managers
We listen to our users, survey the industry, and work with beta testing clients across the nation. And wherever we go, we hear the same stories over and over again.
We hear that landlords are putting more pressure on property managers, and have higher expectations of service. Tenants want more transparency, and more communication. And we see that competition between agencies is getting tighter, with rent roll growth proving more challenging each year.
Not every agency will survive these challenges.
The combined pressure of these factors makes it difficult for businesses to survive without making radical improvements to how they do business. So what can technology do to help property management businesses succeed under such demanding conditions?
That’s the question Console Cloud answers. Our product vision takes in its scope 14 separate, multi-faceted processes that combine to create what we call the property management life cycle. They’re non-linear, triggered events that require tracking and administrative labour to complete.
If property managers can radically reduce the time they spend managing these 14 processes, they gain a significant competitive advantage. They would have the time to manage more properties, elevate their customer service, and provide greater depth of service to clients.
The old way vs the new way of doing things
For property managers using other software, these 14 processes look something like the figure on the left. Console Cloud’s workflows, on the other hand, are designed to take care of the tracking and administrative labour of these processes. So far, we’ve built five of these workflows, and in each case, the new way of doing the process starts to look like the figure on the right.
So what new workflows have we built this season? Let’s take a look.
1. The applications workflow (BETA)
Managing tenant applications can be time-consuming and, if applications fall through, a circular process. To help simplify the process and tracking, we’ve build the tenant applications workflow.
The tenant applications workflow captures and tracks new tenant applications for a property under management. It provides users with full transparency as to where the application process is at, helps property manager track reference checks, and select successful tenants. When a tenant has been chosen, the workflow then feeds that information into a new lease agreement, and kicks off the next stage of the tenant on-boarding process.
2. Compliance workflow
Compliance is our first fully automated workflow. To make sure you don’t have to manually manage expiry dates, we’ve built a dashboard widget that tracks compliance items like smoke alarms and pool safety.
You can easily see all compliance items that have either expired, that will expire within 30 days, or that don’t have expiry date information entered against them. To manage compliance items, simply click into a filtered list to see them in more detail. Within the compliance screen, you can schedule a compliance inspection, upload PDFs of certificates, and more.
This quarter we will be furnishing the compliance workflow with more advanced features. You’ll soon be able to set up automatic emails to be sent to the relevant parties to request a compliance certificate or notify them of items for inspection as they near expiry. You’ll also be able to bulk-upload compliance certificates, and use our risk management tool to identify where you need to take action.
3. Advanced communications
We’ve improved email and SMS communications within Console Cloud. Besides taking advantage of our suite of templates, you can now create your own templates (or edit ours), and choose your own preferred merge fields. You’ll also be able to add attachments to email templates.
You could previously send messages in bulk, but we’ve now also built more filters to help you identify types of message recipients. For example, you might like to send a message to all tenants living in a certain suburb, or all active owners in your portfolio.
And while any sent messages will appear in the contact’s timeline, we’ve added a dash-let to remove all doubt. You can see what a record of all messages that have gone out by clicking on the envelope icon at the top of the screen. Want even more information? You can check the change log at any time to see a full list of actions taken by all users in the team.
4. Recurring invoices
For offices with commercial tenants, being able to send recurring invoices to tenants is a must. Now, you can set up recurring rent invoices, create an invoice schedule, and let Console Cloud handle the rest. Better still, when you receipt these invoice payments, it’ll automatically clear and reconcile these against Console Cloud’s invoice.
We’ve also included status indicators to save you a little more time figuring out where payments are at. These flag invoices in the payments dashboard as either overdue, due soon, or unpaid.
5. Console Pay in Console Cloud
Console Pay in Console Cloud gives you control over the collection of rent payments by creating direct debit payment schedules for tenants. While this feature has been available for a while now, this quarter we made it really simple to activate the app directly in Console Cloud, and also to bulk invite your tenants to use it.
Console Pay uses one-click bulk receipting for all Console Pay tenants. Generally speaking, the more tenants you can get to pay their rent by direct debit, the less time you’ll spend receipting. That’s why next quarter, you’ll be able to set up automatic emails to invite new tenants to pay via Console Pay. Hooray for more time savings, and more on-time payments!
What we’re building this quarter
Besides what we’ve already highlighted, you can expect to see a few big improvements coming to Console Cloud this season—but you’ll have to watch the webinar to find out what they are!
There is one exciting feature we can’t wait to share with you though. Our current Tenant app is undergoing renovations and more advanced developments. Soon, your tenants will be able to use the app to:
- raise and see the status of maintenance requests without the phone tag
- get downloadable payment receipts
- receive smarter notifications, and
- see more information about their tenancy.
Here’s a sneak peek of the new Tenant App interface:
Wondering what to read next? Why not check out how Console Cloud gave Professionals Lifestyle Realty Marsden the edge. Or, see how Harcourts Astute Paddington reclaimed 45% of their day with Console Cloud.