A year in review in property maintenance 2021

Every year seems to have been a whirlwind from a product/software development perspective and 2021 is no exception. Before we talk about some of the larger features & functionality we’ve built into the ServusConnect platform this year, it might be good to share a little on our philosophy when it comes to dev and where we spend our time. 


The Main Course is Great, But Leave Room for Dessert

Software is never “done” – there is always room for improvement. Like any software company, our development team likes to have things pretty planned out, but not so planned out that we can’t execute on good ideas from our clients & prospects. So what does that mean? Here is an example:  

A couple of months ago a client came to us and said, “I really like your Resident ServusMessaging feature, but we also need an easy way to send SMS/text messages to our service team members.”

This was an interesting idea, so we talked to some other clients and asked questions like, “do you have this need?”, “how often would you use it?”, etc. Based on this input, we decided this was a “dessert entrée” we needed to create and were able to add this functionality to ServusMessaging in a really short timeframe. We LOVE feedback and new ideas and consider it a value-add to our clients to reserve time to act on the really impactful ones!

On that note, here are a few of the things we’ve brought to market this year:


1. Property Management Software Platform Integrations

ServusConnect is purpose-built to make it easy for multifamily operators and their maintenance teams to optimize the full lifecycle of their maintenance operations, from Resident Service Requests to Make-Ready, to Preventive Maintenance, Inspections, Technician Mobility, Reporting and more. Our clients come to us when they realize the built-in functionality in their property management software is not enough. That said, the PMS is integral to property operations and our seamless integration with these platforms is critical to our success.

This year, in addition to our existing integration with MRI Software Residential Management & Affordable Housing, we were extremely pleased to announce integrations with Yardi Voyager & Realpage OneSite

Both of these represent hundreds of development man-hours, along with on-property client testing to ensure a seamless user experience for our users. We couldn’t be more pleased with the results and look forward to adding a couple more PMS integrations in 2022!



2. Operational Improvements

One of our goals for ServusConnect is that our users (Maintenance Supervisor, Property Manager, Maintenance Technician, Service Vendor) are to be able to understand what is happening and what needs to be done in 30 seconds or less. 2021 brought several enhancements to the platform to enhance that goal:



Many industries have been hit hard by supply chain & labor shortages in 2021 and Multifamily is no exception. Earlier in the year, we started to see an increase in the number of service requests (SR’s) that were going on hold and started to get requests from clients on not only improving visibility to these requests but also to facilitate communication with Residents letting them know why their requests were taking longer than expected. 

Our improved On-Hold (OH) functionality enables users to quickly indicate why an SR is getting placed OH, an expiration date for auto-OH removal, a customizable SMS/text message to the Resident to keep them in the loop and an improved Dashboard widget. This has been one of the most highly-utilized features we built this year!



ServusConnect has always been “mobile-first” for Maintenance Technicians but lacked a suitable mobile solution for Property Manager & Maintenance Supervisor role users. 

ServusMobile was a major release in early 2021 that brought all of the capabilities available on ServusConnect-web into a Native Mobile App available on the App Stores. This allowed Maintenance Supervisors to perform all of the command, control & oversight functions directly from their mobile device.

“Claim” Feature

ServusMobile also has positively impacted ServusProfessional (SP) users., ie Maintenance Technicians. Our original, and still very popular ServusTechnician App, lacked the functionality for a Maintenance Tech to view and potentially “claim” a service request (SR) that wasn’t already assigned to them. It also lacked the ability to “create” a new SR directly from the app. 

This may sound like a big gap, but it’s actually perfect for 80-85% of Maintenance Technicians – “keeping it simple & focused” is the greatest feature of the ServusTechnician app user experience. That said, there is a subset of the Maintenance Technician persona that have elevated responsibilities and/or are more trusted to act with autonomy in their job. 

ServusMobile enables us to provide an enhanced Maintenance Technician user experience for this persona, allowing them to view any available SR on their property(s) and claim/re-assign them to themselves. ServusMobile also give them the ability to create new SR’s on the fly, say, when they run into a resident in the hallway who has an issue.

Scheduled SR Reminders

Similar to the usage of our “On-Hold” functionality, we’re seeing an increase in service request scheduling. Based on feedback from several clients, we introduced a scheduling reminder that goes out via push notification to the Maintenance Tech when that SR nears its scheduled time.

PS – we’ve got more scheduling-related enhancements coming in 2022, so stay tuned!

Broadcast Messaging

When we released ServusMessaging back in 2020, we had no idea how it would morph and evolve. 

As a refresher, this feature provides an easy way for management staff, moreover, the maintenance management staff to send one-way broadcast messages to one or many residents via SMS/Text and/or email. Common use-cases included notices of pest-control activities, weather-related updates, notifications related to property improvement projects, even distribution of community newsletters.

As more and more of our clients started to use it, they found other great use-cases ServusMessaging. We’ve got a lot more coming in 2022, including templates and surveys, but here are some of the exciting enhancements we delivered this year:

Prospect Messaging

For clients on MRI Software who also use MRI’s Prospect Connect product, ServusMessaging will now display prospects from the last 30 days such that the management staff can send them broadcast messages related to unit availability, pricing updates, specials, etc.

Employee Messaging

Managers can now send broadcast SMS/text messages to any other ServusConnect user that is registered on the property. This is great for distributed service teams that work across multiple small properties where the management team wants to get the word out quickly. 


Resident Survey Tracking to Google

Resident surveys have been part of ServusConnect’s core offering for several years now. It has been a much-beloved feature as it greatly improves resident satisfaction and tends to have a positive impact on the property’s online reputation. 

To review, when a SR is completed, the resident is sent a survey via SMS/text asking them to rate their experience. If they rate it poorly, the feedback is logged against the SR in question and the management team is notified so they can address any issues. Conversely, if they have a great experience, we give them the opportunity to click through to the property’s Google Place ID (or elsewhere) to leave a 5-star review. 

We measure & log nearly every part of this process, presenting the data in a rollup dashboard called Resident Feedback.  Until recently, we had no data on the number of Residents clicking on the link to leave a 5-star review on Google. This changed at the end of November. Now we log who clicks on the Google review link. This sounds like an insignificant change, but this data is highly sought after from Multifamily Marketing Teams as they work to improve online reputation management and influence better online reviews. 




3. Digital Inspections

Early in 2021 our product team started development on our new Digital Inspections Platform, ServusInspections. This is really exciting because we’ve been looking to fill this gap in our product offering for several years now…here is a little back-story:

Back in 2019, we pursued partnerships with other digital inspection software companies to fill this gap. Client reviews were mixed as each platform we evaluated lacked key functionality & interoperability that we felt must exist in the relationship between inspection findings, service requests, resolutions, data repositories, and overall reporting. 

That was the eureka moment when we determined we needed to build inspections to our spec versus trying to jam two products together that did not share overall product vision, design & framework. In 2020 we started to design it and thanks to the leadership & vision our new CTO, ServusInspections (SI) has started to take shape earlier this year.

Although SI is not considered generally available just yet, it’s live and in production for several of our existing clients, so we’re getting tons of great feedback that our dev team is incorporating into the product. We’ll have lots more to share about inspections in early 2022!


4. Reporting Improvements

Our reporting platform, ServusInsights, continues to be a major selling feature of ServusConnect by delivering unparalleled visibility into Maintenance Operations, not just at the property level, but across portfolios. We continue to invest in improving our dashboards and 2021 saw a few pretty cool innovations that we can highlight:


Onboarding dashboards – this is a really helpful portfolio-level dashboard because it helps monitor onboarding success as we train & launch new users/properties onto ServusConnect. 

Make-Ready Quality Scoring – this useful algorithm was suggested to us by a client and we’ve since added it to all our client’s dashboard. This score measures the quality of the make-ready process by assessing SR volume on newly moved-in units and makes it easy for management to assess the performance of their make-ready teams.

Regional Dashboards – our regional/portfolio dashboards continue to evolve in a positive direction based on client feedback and 2021 was no exception. The best description of these dashboards came to us from a client who described them as, “the dashboard of truth”!

Resident Feedback – we touched on a recent improvement in Google rating click-through tracking earlier in this blog and have now added this metric to the Resident Feedback dashboard.