Griffis Residential is a multifamily real estate investment company with nearly 8,000 apartment homes across the Western United States. The company was an early partner with Knock, and the team recently piloted our latest feature: Knock Renewal CRM, which is designed to improve economic occupancy by giving front office teams more time to source and convert leases.
Knock’s Renewal CRM helps leasing teams be more proactive about renewals, prompting them to reach out to residents months in advance and find out whether or not they plan on staying at the community.
“Knock transformed how we work renewals at our test communities” said Amy Mark, operations manager at Griffis during the pilot program. “We are closing out a higher number of renewals at a faster pace, and our teams have more time to lease on-notice units. This helps us determine our exposure earlier, so we can make better decisions with cleaner data and price accordingly.”
By getting weekly reminders from Knock’s Renewal CRM, Amy and her team were able to “close out” renewals (residents confirming their intent to stay or go) far earlier than before, giving their teams up to a month of extra time to fill the units that were going on notice.
In February last year, with only eight weeks left to renew, Griffis had over 91% of renewals still “open” or “undecided”. This year, using Knock Renewals, only 25% remained open during the same time frame.
We spoke with Amy to learn how Knock Renewal CRM helps them improve insights and accelerate their outcomes.
This interview has been edited for brevity and clarity.
What was your renewal process prior to using Knock?
Before Knock, we used proprietary software to log communications. And, it was at least a two-step process. The renewal offer would be sent to the resident and then the associate would make notes of conversations that had already taken place to document the follow up efforts. All this just doubled the time we were spending on renewals compared to now.
Plus, there weren’t reminders to follow up, nor was there a way to check if the communication was actually being sent. Follow ups for renewals weren’t consistent, and open expirations would remain stagnant until someone focused on clearing them all out – which happened in fits and starts. It was challenging to hold the teams accountable and determine whether the delay in closing out renewals was on the resident or our team’s inconsistent attention to follow up.
How has Knock’s Renewal CRM changed how you follow up with residents?
“Knock is our go-to platform for communication for both future and current residents. Conversations are documented live, saving our teams valuable time.” There are no extra steps, and the time it takes to work renewals is easily cut in half.
On top of that, if you need to send any follow up, since there are often questions on pricing or other items related to the lease, anyone can see what was logged, and anyone can follow up without repeating what has already been discussed. We know exactly what is going on, and it’s a better experience for residents.
On average, renewal offers are sent 14 weeks prior to the lease expiration date. Our goal as a company is to close them out as quickly as possible – whether that is having the resident renew or submit a notice to vacate. The To Do Lists and reminders make it much easier for our team to follow up consistently. With Knock ensuring follow up every week, we are seeing a change in open expirations which allows us to better manage our availability and exposure at an earlier date.
How does Knock help with accountability?
Knock has all of our communication history saved in the platform. It also triggers renewals follow up every 7 days that show up in the To Do List. Before, someone would send a renewal letter, and then depending on the community, no one would touch it for 2 or 3 weeks. Knock doesn’t let you do that.
Those follow ups are assigned at the property level, so everyone is responsible to follow up. Now, the accountability is on the team. Every single person is responsible for making sure follow up is completed through Knock each week. This raises our Engagement Score, because we’re actively working with our residents.
Talk to us more about how you’re using text messaging for renewals?
We now have the option to email, call, and text, which has been a big one for us. Our previous texting program let us send text, but not receive replies.
It’s a lot faster to have multiple options on how to reach residents with each resident having different preferences in how they best communicate and also have every bit of communication recorded – all in one step. There’s no question if the follow up is being made. Similar to the rest of the Knock platform, the program is easy to use and easy to dig into if additional information is needed. Knock is essential in the work I do, because it keeps my teams accountable and it keeps their work visible to me.
Now we have active conversations through text messages, and it’s a lot easier to get information quickly. A resident is more likely to respond to a text that says, ‘Hey are you planning to renew?’ by replying ‘yes’ or ‘no’, then they are getting into their emails, typing a full sentence response, and sending it out.
What was it like being in the beta program with Knock?
It was super easy. Our teams were already familiar and comfortable with the lead management side that the renewal program was an added benefit. There was nothing different or any extra steps along the way – it was just changing from prospect to resident.