The future of work is here: The wants and needs of your customers have changed.
Speaking broadly of recent trends to hit commercial real estate, tenants want three major things from their workplace provider: Flexibility, productivity, and safety.
- Tenants want flexible office lease terms. Many want to pay for space as an ongoing service. They want to pay only for the space they need to accommodate transient hybrid workers, and nothing extra.
- Tenants want their workplaces to demonstrate benefits to productivity. The home office is convenient, but the company HQ is the place where real work gets done. Landlords should invest now in smart building solutions, such as those that track CO2 density, so that they can prove, quantitatively, that the office is a more productive space.
- Tenants want their workplaces to be safe. Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) monitoring is a hot-button issue, and rightly so. Tenants need to know that, when in the office, they are breathing the best and cleanest air. They need to know, too, that their buildings manage air regulation sustainably.
These are the main demands facing commercial real estate landlords. There are many more. Your tenants, in your buildings, will have their own wants and needs. As they now consider returning to the office, you have a golden opportunity to gather useful insights from them. These insights will help you to improve your services and amenities, and will galvanize you against the uncertainty of the future.
Why is tenant app data so important? Ask Deloitte
"Now, more than ever, CRE companies need to capture and analyze high-frequency data to create a meaningful tenant experience," writes Deloitte in its 2021 Commercial Real Estate Outlook report. "This could include data around how tenants use different amenities, and/or engagement and performance levels."
Capturing data is tricky. It takes a long time. Longer, still, is the process of analysing numbers and inscrutable graphs. It's little wonder that many commercial real estate professionals rely on instinct when making decisions about their assets, and customer engagement strategies. But when it comes to welcoming tenants back, you may find you have precious little information to guide your future-planning. How do you truly know how your customer wants and behaviours have changed, while they've been working from home?
With the right analytics platform, linked to an array of customer-facing systems, CRE landlords and property managers can make informed decisions about improvements to their assets and tenant services. With a tenant experience platform and in-built analytics dashboards, it is possible to reliably track behaviours, habits, and sentiments of customers, even as they work remotely. And, even more critically, it is possible to build robust lease renewal strategies tailored to individual tenants.
"Companies can analyze tenant engagement levels and behaviour to understand preferences and provide a more customized experience," Deloitte writes. "For instance, owners/operators can combine and analyze the occupancy, movement, and temperature sensor data and assist tenants in creating COVID-19-safe seating and space utilization decisions.
"They can also use tenant data to predict lease renewals and devise appropriate strategies for tenant retention."
We couldn't have said it better. But what happens if you don't have a tenant experience platform, and a complementary analytics plug-in?
Start with good old-fashioned customer feedback
We can't overstate the value of qualitative data. If you don't have an analytics platform to guide you, simply ask your tenants what they think, want, and feel. We recommend starting with workplace managers. Ask them questions like:
- When do you expect employees to return to the office?
- How many days a week do you foresee employees coming in?
- What amenities or services matter most to your team?
- What culture building initiatives or events do you have planned?
- What safety measures do you expect from the building?
With a decent sample size (around 20 companies, let's say), you can start to form an accurate picture on the customer profile of a given asset. You can start to build plans and business cases around the most-requested services and amenities; you can better direct leasing teams; and you can better allocate resources to enhancements.
Why stop there? You can go beyond workplace managers and poll employees directly. A building-wide survey is an inexpensive way to gather insights on your population and further validate your plans. Our Global Office Tenant Survey does this very thing, every year, on behalf of our clients. Pick up a free copy here and form your own survey using our questions. One thing is for sure: You will be surprised by what you can learn.