Tenant Turner is a full-service software solution made for landlords, by landlords, that lists available rentals, pre-qualifies interested renters against company-specific screening criteria, and schedules showings for prospective renters based on landlord schedules, all with the goal of filling empty rentals with best-fit renters—sometimes before spaces are even publicly listed.
Tenant Turner’s founding members, all landlords themselves, saw a major opportunity to help time-and-resource strapped landlords and property managers by providing screenings of prospective renters before scheduling showings, to cut down on time wasted on unqualified renters.
But, when the company first launched in 2013, it faced some major challenges, ones often found when dealing with legacy telecommunications service providers: delivery and reliability.
In particular, Tenant Turner was struggling with the expensive cost of sending SMS messages through its communications services provider, but even worse for its business, Tenant Turner’s messages were not always reaching prospective renters, effectively neutralizing the company’s business model. And, as a cash-strapped startup, scalings its offerings effectively was also a challenge.
“Early on, we’d put a [rental] notice on Craigslist for a customer and get 100 phone calls in three days, and be answering every call ourselves to pre-qualify leads. It was a huge waste of time processing people who weren’t good fits,” CTO Chris Stewart recalls.
After originally building its own Interactive Voice Response (IVR) using an alternative solution provider, Tenant Turner discovered Twilio, and Twilio’s Super Network. “In retrospect, we waited too long before switching to Twilio,” Stewart said.
Now, using Twilio Voice APIs, any incoming leads via phone about a property on Tenant Turner’s website are routed by their Twilio-powered IVR. From there, customers can schedule viewing appointments to see the property. After the appointment has been scheduled, using the Twilio SMS APIs, Tenant Turner can automatically send outbound reminder messages for prospective tenants to appear at scheduled property showings, confirmation notifications, and allow prospective tenants to easily send their property showing feedback via SMS. Since both Twilio Voice and SMS APIs rely on the Super Network, Twilio’s global software-powered carrier communications network, Tenant Turner can be confident that its message deliverability and IVR voice quality will be high.
“It’s an altogether more efficient experience for someone to get pre-qualified and schedule the showing without having to talk to someone,” Stewart explained.
Tenant Turner also built its own messaging capability for prospective renters and property managers to instantly communicate with each other, without revealing either person’s phone number. Prospective renters text to a number that Tenant Turner associates to a renter and subsequently, that message appears through its app for a property manager to respond.
“Now we don’t even think about it—it just works—so, we don’t have to do a whole lot to maintain or manage our Twilio SMS and IVR, which is great,’ he said.
With their Twilio-powered IVR, Tenant Turner is now able to process exponentially more leads month over month. Today, Tenant Turner customers have cut their vacancies in half, reduced their days on market by half, and save 16 man-hours per listing.
“75 percent of phone calls are handled by the IVR–that’s huge for us,” said Stewart.
Automating lead management means Tenant Turner is able to reduce its lead acquisition costs and free up Stewart from managing IT issues to focusing on sales and optimizing the business for efficiency.
“We are a lean team, so scaling our services with Twilio is hugely valuable,” he said.
As a former landlord, Stewart deeply understands the relief Tenant Turner brings to its customers with the time-savings from using Twilio meaning cost-savings to property owners who can’t afford vacancies.