At PointCentral, we help property managers everywhere take the hassle out of running their rental business and help them to improve operating income through smart automation and connected devices.
And we’re with them every step of the way. From training field staff and corporate teams to ensure smooth onboarding and utilization, through to regular updates and host webinars to ensure our customers are getting the most out of our system.
This month, we caught up with our very own Molly Reardon, Senior Manager, Customer Success, as she reflected on how it felt to be back out on the road meeting customers again, and what she’s learned about customer relationship management over the course of the pandemic.
Could you tell us a little more about the Customer Success team and what you do?
The Customer Success team focuses on understanding each customer’s unique success criteria (in other words, how they define success), and helping them achieve their goals. We help them deliver on their priorities, and get the most value out of their investment with PointCentral. Joining PointCentral 2 years ago, I was given the opportunity to build that team and to develop a program that helps our customers. It’s been a great journey, and I’m so proud of my team.
What’s your own background in the rental/ smart tech industry?
I’ve worked in technology for about 9 years. In a previous life, I managed hotels and timeshare properties in Portland, South Lake Tahoe, and Maui. I had my real estate license and was an active member of the National Association of Realtors for a period of time.
What excites you most about customer relationship management?
Being given the opportunity to help others be more successful in their roles. Getting to work with, and know, so many different people is such a highlight. A really important thing for me in life is connection. We’re all working to do our best. As a CS professional, my main goal is to ensure we are all pointed in the customer’s chosen direction.
Last year brought huge challenges for the vacation rental industry as a whole. What did this mean for your customers? And were you able to help them find a way to overcome these challenges?
While on the road trip, we heard a ton about how our customers were seeing occupancy numbers that were off the charts! Because of travel limitations and safety, more people are choosing staycations rather than traveling to more traditional vacation destinations that require a plane ride. While everyone was excited about the uptick in business, this certainly wasn’t without challenges. Finding the time and the staff to maintain the properties between guests became a hurdle. In addition, the influx of new clients shifted the typical guest profile, so our clients found themselves hosting a myriad of travelers that brought their own unique needs into the mix. Our clients had to be nimble and scrappy in order to adjust, often fielding more calls and dealing with more issues than they had in the past. Their ability to manage properties remotely was imperative to curbing some of the employee fatigue that comes with this strenuous pace. For example, granting instant access remotely rather than staff having to drive out to a property in the middle of the night when someone is locked out. Things like that are huge when you are at max capacity and are providing great service to a large volume of guests all at once.
Customer interaction is an integral part of your customer relations. The pandemic put a stop to physically meeting up with customers. How did you navigate a way forward? And what did you learn along the way?
As a team we really focus on trying to get to know our customers as people. This period has been challenging for each and every one of us. It’s no longer unusual to see a child step into the video call, or to hear dogs barking wildly in the background. We love this. It gives us the opportunity to pause all of the business focused chatter and to learn more about the person that we are working with. Our team makes it a priority to ask our partners how they are doing and we put an emphasis on understanding more about who they are. Knowing this enables us to be better at our jobs too, as we are able to better support the customer. Connection is so valuable.
As travel has opened up, you’ve started taking to the road again. We hear you took a road trip this summer, taking the time to meet up with customers old and new. How did it feel to be out on the road after such a long time? What did you discover about your customers and your team?
It felt great! I think people were excited to see us. I was so thrilled to get time with our customers and to see them in action. We can talk in depth remotely, but the visibility of seeing the team do what they do and getting a visual on their environment brings a whole new level of understanding.
What has this experience taught you about the value of face to face human interaction in business?
It really just served as a reminder for how important face to face human interaction is. Since COVID hit, we have certainly all missed more interaction, but many of us have also become accustomed to our little bubbles. All of us felt reinvigorated by getting to safely visit our clients.
What’s next for the Customer Success team? More road trips? Or is there still plenty of room for Zoom?
On the day to day, video calls are here to stay! The convenience of being able to ‘meet’ with a customer who is across the country from the comfort of your own workspace is so handy. However, nothing beats being in person. So as safety and health considerations allow, we will be putting an emphasis on getting back out there to visit with our customers once again.