The Differences Between Property Manager and Tenant Perceptions of “The Tenant Experience”

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I just read a very eye-opening report from Building Engines about how differently property managers and tenants look at the tenant experience, from tenant amenities and services to communication and security. It’s a fascinating report and is great reading for property managers who want to better understand their tenants and deliver services based on what their tenants actually want.

The biggest surprise for me from the report was the gap between property managers and building occupants when it came to the perception of how effective a property manager’s tenant communications were. According to the study, 75% of CRE professionals feel confident that their tenants’ employees are receiving timely and relevant information from them, whereas only 25% of occupants agree with them. That’s a huge gap and one that property managers will likely want to pay close attention to. One way for property managers to close this gap is to implement communication tactics that target building occupants directly, instead of relying solely on the tenant reps to disseminate the information. Tools like social media, tenant newsletters (especially digital), elevator screens and building websites can all help property managers engage directly with the building occupants and share timely and relevant communication.

Source: Building Engines Report: “THE TENANT EXPERIENCE GAP: Building Managers and Tenants Look at the Future through Different Eyes”

There’s another huge gap between how the property managers are communicating with their tenants and the tenants’ preferences. According to the report, 66% of property management teams use the telephone to communicate with tenants, whereas only 4% of tenants plan to use this channel in the future. The report goes on to mention that occupants overwhelmingly use messaging tools for personal and business communications, and so it makes sense for PMs to take this to heart as they look for effective ways to connect with and engage their tenants.

Source: Building Engines Report: “THE TENANT EXPERIENCE GAP: Building Managers and Tenants Look at the Future through Different Eyes”

Another interesting finding from the report is the difference between what PMs and occupants consider to be the most important amenities. From the occupant’s perspective, the three most important building amenities are:

  1. Public Wi-Fi
  2. Gym
  3. Cafe/restaurant

Compare that to what the property managers think are the three most important building amenities:

  1. Café or restaurant
  2. Meeting and event space
  3. Coffee shop

For property managers, Wi-Fi came in fourth and a gym came in fifth, so there’s clearly a gap between how the PMs and the occupants perceive the value of these amenities. This is crucial information, since giving the tenants what they want starts with understanding what the tenants’ needs actually are!

Source: Building Engines Report: “THE TENANT EXPERIENCE GAP: Building Managers and Tenants Look at the Future through Different Eyes”

I have spent my entire professional career, first as a property manager and then as the founder of eServus, focusing on a tenant-first approach to building services. That’s why I was especially heartened to see in the report that a full 60% of the commercial real estate professionals who responded to the survey have filled tenant-service-facing roles in the past year, the majority of which focus on tenant engagement and community management. My company, eServus, provides a variety of tenant engagement tools, including social media management, building newsletters, tenant surveys and more, so we’re excited to see that property managers are focusing more time, effort and resources on their tenant engagement strategies.

Do you agree that property managers are shifting to a more tenant-centric focus? I’d love to hear your thoughts, so please leave a comment.


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