Discover the importance of fostering a sense of community for modern property management. Learn how building a strong community can benefit both...
Fuzer by Amvest: leading the way in tenant-centred living
Fuzer leverages technology to create integrated living experiences and vibrant communities. Learn how this innovative real estate company adapts to societal trends, improves tenant satisfaction through communication, and measures the impact of their services.
Fuzer was founded in 2020 as a subsidiary of Amvest, inspired by the belief that there’s more to comfortable living than just a house. Three years later it has continued to put that belief into practice. “We build homes, not houses,” says Karin van der Ven, Director at Fuzer.
One year ago, they partnered with Chainels to develop a white-labelled platform called LIVVIN from which they can communicate, gather knowledge, resolve issues and build community.
We spoke with Karin van der Ven, General Manager at Fuzer, to understand how the app feeds into Amvest’s larger strategy.
Adapting to the new era of tenant centricity
Customer-centricity has transformed some industries overnight. In real estate, however, that transformation has taken longer to take full effect.
But Amvest caught wind of this trend earlier than most. That’s what led them to partner with Chainels.
“We had to evolve to new expectations around customer service,” adds Karin. “Real estate can no longer just provide a product and devise strategies based solely on internal processes and perspectives. It’s important to involve tenants in the process and understand what they want.”
“That’s how you create value for tenants. At Fuzer we do that by speeding up processes and getting problems solved more quickly.”
“We also build community by organising activities and initiatives. All this is made easier with Chainels.”
Creating a tech-enabled living experience
Fuzer manages its communities by catering to tenants' specific needs: gathering feedback and taking a collaborative approach.
“We do this primarily through community management and services. We call this service-led, community-focused approach ‘integrated living experiences’,” says Karin. “To enable this approach, we developed the LIVVIN platform”
LIVVIN is white-labelled tenant communication platform hosted on the Chainels. Through the platform, Fuzer can organise community events, manage shared spaces and improve communication to get tenants more involved.
Good communication is a key factor in tenant satisfaction and retention. In our recent tenant survey, we asked tenants living in rental properties in UK, Netherlands and France what traits they find most desirable in a landlord. Of the 1750 residents we survey—57% said they value good communication and responsiveness.
Chainels helps Fuzer deliver on these traits. But the app is just one part of Fuzer’s three-pronged community concept.
Alongside the app is the community manager—the person who actively works to facilitate community within the property—and living rooms—community hubs where tenants can meet, organise events and get to know each other.
The LIVVIN community concept is currently enabled in 11 of Amvest's properties in the Netherlands: Jonas and Cruquius in Amsterdam, and Zalmhaven in Rotterdam.
“At Fuzer we want to cater to our tenants by creating extra services that improve life quality. We also want tenants to get to know their neighbours better. The app helps us build connections between community managers and tenants but also among the tenants themselves.”
“We like to strike a good balance between the digital and the offline components of community building. After all, one cannot replace the other. This is where technology plays a really important role because it can automate and simplify certain processes. Freeing up community managers to focus on empathy, creative thinking and support."
Delivering on their ESG goals
Fuzer’s vision is an expression of Amvest’s wider commitment to ESG.
“We’ve recently started to reiterate our ESG goals. There's a very strong social ambition within Amvest that's reinforced throughout the whole organisation. That creates extra room for Fuzer to have a social impact.”
By making communication easier, the LIVVIN contributes better quality of life.
“Take loneliness as an example,” continues Karin. “It’s an issue that Amvest would like to take a role in addressing. One way to tackle loneliness is by building communities, so that’s why the LIVVIN concept, and the services and functions enabled by Chainels, is so important to us.”
It seems to be important to tenants, too. In our recent survey we found that, 67% of tenants believe having a sense of community is important.
Enhance experiences with knowledge.
Tenant engagement helps Fuzer to understand how tenants interact with not only the app, but also the community managers and shared spaces.
“We want to understand whether people actually make use of the common areas and attend activities, whether people communicate with one another via the platform, or whether the key procedures in the tenant experience receive appropriate attention. These are the kind of things we can measure with Chainels.”
In addition to this, Fuzer strives to measure how engagement can contribute to larger business goals by making KPIs more quantifiable.
“Does an increase in engagement or a reduction in response times for maintenance requests correlate with higher retention? We think it does, of course, but we’re working on getting the hard data to back it up.”
Fuzer runs polls and surveys to understand what types of services and amenities would best contribute to a positive living experience.
“We do regular polls on services, on the use of the different functionalities in the building. We do polls on our activity agenda and the types of content that tenants want. It usually differs greatly from community to community."
“Understanding what the tenants really want helps guide our operations in a customer centric way. Tenants are also encouraged to share their own social initiatives.”
"Polls really allow us to gather knowledge that we can use to tailor the living experience from community to community. Without an app like Chainels, we just wouldn't know these kinds of things."
On the road to 100% adoption
As an indicator of success, Fuzer focuses on achieving 100% adoption of the app within a particular community. “Overall, we've been fairly successful in achieving that. We have between 90 and 95% adoption rate.”
“Adoption and engagement ensures that people are aware of the news that we post, know how to reach each other and how to reach us. A high adoption rate ensures that the knowledge that we acquire from the app is representative.”
Working together towards a better living experience
Our recent tenant survey found that over a third of respondents would use a digital app for maintenance and repairs reporting.
To understand why, just look at how Fuzer’s processes have improved since adopting Chainels. It uses the platform’s Issue Reporting dashboard to speed up the process and improve operations.
“We have a better picture of how processes evolve. Until we started using Chainels, we had no insight into that. Now we can work together with our property managers to improve the living experience”
Again, Chainels has simplified communication for Fuzer.
“Now a tenant can simply ask a community manager about the status of a particular issue and the community manager look it up in the app. Communication has improved around complaints and repair requests.”
Responding to larger societal trends
Beyond it’s business and ESG goals, Fuzer is responding to shifts taking places in society as a whole.
“On the one hand you have this trend of urbanisation where more people are moving toward the city,” says Karin. “But at the same time there's more single person households, which means that being able to afford a living space in, for example, the centre of Amsterdam is becoming harder and harder for particular groups.”
Fuzer’s style of community-centred, integrated living concept isn’t just about improving tenants life quality and meeting ESG goals. It’s also about responding to current economic realities around housing.
“Living spaces are becoming smaller as a result of affordability. But shared spaces can make up for less space, and it also fits neatly into the whole trend of sharing economy. People are no longer eager to have their own car, their own washing machine and so on. Certain facilities also aren’t necessary anymore in a particular apartment. They can be shared.”
This fits well with tenant sentiment around amenities. In our recent tenant survey, we found that 88% find well-maintained shared spaces important when looking for rental property, another 86% said the same about functional amenities like parking and laundry services.
Moreover, 72% said they would be willing to pay additional rent for access to communal spaces and 71% would pay more for gym access.
The Chainels app allows Fuzer to offer these shared spaces as bookable amenities on their LIVVIN platform. Creating an extra layer of service not traditionally seen in property management.
Fuzer’s integrated living concept has certainly proved fruitful in its current implementation. It has helped to drive up tenant engagement, communication and sense of community with their properties. But they’re just getting started.
“I think in the next few years we will focus on rolling out the LIVVIN concept in various other locations because it seems to become more and more a necessary component of having an optimal living experience.”