Self-service and seamless communication has become the table-staked standard for businesses and brands today. Online buying has grown astronomically in recent years, and with it, expectations for online experiences. Consumers want easy single-click buying, seamless transitions from channel to channel, and rapid, smart responses to their inquiries.
In the property rental world, expectation and reality remain pretty far apart. Funnel, a multifamily property marketing and leasing software company, aims to change all that.
Giving multifamily property owners and managers the ability to promote, manage, and lease their units all in one place, while also easily communicating with renters and prospective renters, didn’t exist, so Funnel built it—with some help from Twilio.
Having surveyed countless multifamily property owners and managers as well as renters, and by navigating the process themselves for years, Funnel’s creators knew there had to be a better way. The process for marketing and managing a property was disjointed at best, and getting prospective renters to finalize an application and move into an available unit meant lots of back and forth across different channels, burdensome paperwork, and most of all, tons of time spent.
“We provide tools to make it as easy as possible for property managers to communicate with their clients, to get their inventory out to market, and to help folks go through the application and leasing process,” Chief Product Officer Ben Rubin explained.
The company does that by taking a holistic approach to the marketing and leasing process, Rubin explained.
“We automate as many communications and experience as possible. It's a better experience for prospects because they’re being communicated with through one system,” he explained. “And it's a better experience for our clients because they get all of that information retained in our application, and they get great metrics too.”
Twilio enables Funnel to give multifamily property owners and managers the ability to automate phone calls and integrate them with their existing phone system.
Twilio became the default choice for SMS and telephony. At the outset, I had worked with other services for sending texts, but with Twilio the developer experience was just night and day.
They provide a 24/7 chat service, powered by Twilio, so prospects can inquire about a property any time they want. And Twilio powers the text messaging service that lets prospects, renters, and managers communicate seamlessly about prospective properties, leasing procedures, and more. It all started, though, with the organization’s founders seeking the simple ability to send text message confirmations when a prospect books a viewing or appointment.
“We learned about Twilio through various developer meetups in New York years ago, and became familiar with the products that way,” explained Mike O’Toole, Funnel’s CTO and co-founder. “Twilio became the default choice for SMS and telephony. At the outset, I had worked with other services for sending texts, but with Twilio the developer experience was just night and day, compared with trying to integrate with these old school companies that have been around since the '70s, and their products look like they were built in 1997, and their APIs are very much the same.”
As the company’s offerings to multifamily property owners and managers grew, so did their Twilio usage. With that came advanced analytics to give managers deep insight into how to better rent and manage their properties.
The Funnel dashboard provides a history of all the communication someone has had with a property manager, broken down by agent, reply rates, length of time, and much more. Funnel also provides data on how long properties take to rent, conversion rates, what sources provide the best leads, and much more. It’s an industry game-changer, Rubin said.
With the onset of the coronavirus earlier this year, Funnel set out to meet a sudden and urgent market need within their space: a remote leasing solution for the multifamily industry.
The industry, O’Toole explained, like many others, has been forced to pivot to a remote-first workforce and meet needs for social distancing and new safety requirements. So, the company built an omnichannel contact center offering specifically for leasing teams, combining Twilio’s tools with Funnel’s industry-specific suite of services.
All the tools integrate with existing accounting software and enable leasing teams to handle emails, calls, SMS, and live chat -- all remotely, as well as reporting to track real-time leasing performance. It’s a service that allows teams to keep working amid the pandemic, while also preparing for the long-term future.
“We are eager to help and participate in an opportunity to give back to our industry", said Funnel CEO and co-founder Caren Maio. "Twilio has been an outstanding partner to us and our hope is that together, we can power omnichannel contact centers so that leasing teams can continue to thrive even while working from home.”
Twilio has been an outstanding partner to us and our hope is that together, we can power omnichannel contact centers so that leasing teams can continue to thrive even while working from home.