From the very beginning, we designed our member services team with the flexibility and bandwidth to communicate with members faster and more efficiently than traditional property managers, resulting in happier residents and higher renewal rates. The centralized member services at Common allow us to quickly adapt to new changes, and now especially with the daily developments of the COVID-19 outbreak, our team is more equipped than ever before to easily communicate to all of our 1,600 members on new developments.
To learn more about the complex workings of this team, we caught up with Georgia Flaum, Common’s Director of Member Experience, whose extensive background in member relations in everything from the food and wine to short-term rental to dental industries qualifies her as the ideal person to lead such an innovative team. Today, Georgia oversees the Member Experience team at Common, ensuring members get the most value, convenience and community out of their Common experience.
Your team handles a wide variety of different tasks! What roles make up the member services team and what are each of their responsibilities?
Currently, the team is broken up into three roles: Member Support Specialist, Onboarding and Experience, and a Project Manager. The Member Support Specialists act as our front line support for members, taking care of issues or requests and liaising with our property services, finance, and legal teams to handle all issues quickly. Our Onboarding and Experience team proactively ensures our members are off to a great start and plans events and community gatherings for our members. Finally, the Project Manager oversees new initiatives to help our team scale, such as training an additional team of support agents based in the Philippines, and automating some of our internal processes. All of these roles work together to create a seamless experience for our members!
How does the centralized member services team at Common go above and beyond for our members in a way that other property managers don’t?
Common takes a very proactive approach to member support. We build in checks and balances to make sure our members are engaging with their communities and having a great time in our homes. The fact that we have a dedicated team to plan amazing events for our members and surprise and delight them with personalized gifts speaks volumes to our dedication to their overall wellbeing! In addition, our app, Connect by Common, allows members to plan their own events for their communities, stay in touch with one another, check their invoices, and most importantly, reach out to us for any requests. Technology helps us prioritize and follow up on urgent property issues, as well as stay on top of our caseload in ways other property managers can’t.
How has our member services team introduced virtual events during this time of social distancing?
I’m incredibly proud of the work our Onboarding and Experience team has done to add value to the events side of our business during this unprecedented time! We try to find and publish two new events every week that are sponsored by Common and exclusive to our members. Some of my favorites include cocktail making classes, dumplings from scratch, virtual animal meet & greet with the Staten Island Zoo, and the art of tarot.
What unique challenges has your team faced with COVID-19 and how are we equipped to handle them?
Although it has been a challenge, my team acted with urgency and made tough decisions early on, which allowed us to take a proactive, rather than reactive approach. We’ve had to adjust many of our standard processes to ensure the safety of our members and our team during this time. Our team has increased the amount of cleaning supplies and shared goods (toilet paper, dish soap, etc.) that get delivered to our members each week and closed our community spaces to discourage group gatherings.
To prevent any unnecessary spread, we’ve limited the scope of repairs and maintenance to emergencies only, as well as replaced all of our in-person events and tours with virtual options. In more dire cases, we’re delaying move-ins if members are running a fever. The silver lining is that we’re also able to do more for our members than we have in the past, such as set up payment plans and provide them with rental assistance resources.
Since each city has different regulations during the outbreak, how are we working with members across all seven of our markets?
These are unprecedented times, so the reality is that everyone is figuring this out day by day, from the federal government down to Common. We keep a close pulse on the news, and work quickly with our legal team to make any necessary market-based adjustments. Without a doubt, social distancing in metro areas has had the biggest impact on our members, but we fortunately haven’t found that the market by market differences have impacted our internal processes greatly.
On a lighter note, what is your favorite virtual event so far?
Personally, I’ve attended almost every one of Common’s HIIT and yoga livestreams! If I were a member and could participate in one of our ticketed virtual events, I’d have to go with “Beginner Handlettering” so I could write my friends and family fancy postcards during quarantine!