The year is coming to a close, and as it does, it’s important to take a quick glance back at what we’ve had the opportunity to learn. This past year was full of great lessons thanks to the insights board members, association managers, and management company executives contributed to our State of the Industry survey. These five takeaways are ones we think are worth revisiting:
The Challenges of Investment Homeowners
The housing market went a little crazy this year. Housing prices reached stratospheric heights for sometimes meager amenities ($400k for small, self-proclaimed ‘fixer-upper’ homes in some areas!), as property investors and investment firms scooped up real estate for a quick profit. For homeowners this was a nightmare, obviously–but HOAs and condo associations hit a snag, too. With too-high a percentage of absentee homeowners, or homes being purchased just to be rented on short-term rental sites, communities are at risk of being overrun by a sea of strangers who may not follow community rules, and who cannot make decisions or votes at meetings.
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Board Members Are Techier Than Ever Before
The CAM industry has, until quite recently, always been perceived as technologically stagnant. While the world around them advanced forward with fancy new gadgetry, most communities still accomplished basic tasks (like accounting) with incorrect tools (like Quickbooks) because they’re familiar and seemingly cost-effective. But that’s been changing significantly. This survey showed just how techy board members can be, and the kind of technological support they’re seeking out for their communities. Sure, some of those wants were obvious ones like better communication tools (a trend we’re predicting will continue well into 2023), but others like Intelligent Mail Barcodes and thermal imaging cameras for leak detection made even our techiest tech-heads here at CINC nod in surprised appreciation.
Community Conflict Resolution Is a High Priority
2022 was the era of recorded shouting matches. From Twitter to TikTok, every social media outlet had recorded proof of someone being loudly, disrespectfully, flagrantly…wrong. And when HOAs are already a sore spot rife with disagreements between residents, board members, and community association managers, this sudden uptick in volatility was important to many. Finding the right way to de-escalate a confrontational situation in a community was critical, and even though this topic didn’t make our predicted top 3 trends for 2023, it will almost certainly still be a big concern for communities and management companies everywhere for many years to come.
Community Managers Are Still Very Burnt Out
Burn out is everywhere, it’s true. Regardless of industry or role, everyone is at least a little burnt out these days. But in an industry where there is an ever-growing chasm of incoming talent, a mass exodus of existing talent, and a growing need to be more things to more people, CAMs are starting to just burn. Our research indicated that the average CAM serves approximately 891 units currently, and that management company executives are often shouldering the overflow from that massive workload.
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Customer Satisfaction Was a (Solvable) Mystery
In 2022, we found that CAM management companies wanted to drive their customer satisfaction numbers up, but struggled to connect some important dots when it came to maintaining or increasing that number. Many executives were using metrics like customer retention rate to gauge satisfaction, and while retained clients do tend to be satisfied in some way, retention is the least-useful indicator of a happy client. More important satisfaction metrics like client referrals or online reviews were being overlooked. Customer retention is the foundational goal of bringing on a client, not the indicator of success.
Be a Contributor
The industry is in a constant state of flux–that’s why we’re asking industry professionals just like you for your thoughts again. CINC’s 2023 State of the Industry survey is live and ready for your input. Click here to share your knowledge and make your thoughts and insights known.