Bridge at Waters Park Supports its Onsite Team

The Waters Park team recognized the overwhelm from resident packages and took action.

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Onsite team members were bogged down by resident packages.

Team members dedicated their day to checking in, organizing and hand delivering residents' packages. It took up too much time and distracted the team from what they were really hired to do.

“It has definitely opened up more time for us to be able to do our jobs and also to plan the events and do the things that we need to do. We experienced the relief right away, not having to check in 100 packages a day.”

Liz Derouen

Community Manager at Bridge at Waters Park

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Bridge at Waters Park Team Deploys Fetch to Relieve Package Burden 

Prior to 2020, Bridge at Waters Park — a 442-home Apartment Management Professionals, LLC community in Austin, Texas — conducted package management in-house, using a handheld scanner and software program that automatically sent a notification email to the resident. However, the leasing team was still required to number and sort all packages and organize them in a storage closet for pick-up. As e-commerce grew, and especially during the holiday package surge, it simply became too much for onsite associates to manage. 

Challenge: Onsite teams were overwhelmed with package management duties

“It was mainly leasing that took care of package management, but we would bring in everyone to help when it got really busy,” said Liz Derouen, Community manager at Bridge at Waters Park. “We had to dedicate team members to just checking in and organizing packages, and then getting them for the resident when they would come in to retrieve them. After that, we had to mark off that package and send out a ‘Thanks for picking up your package’ note for the resident as part of our procedure. That really took up a lot of our time.”

Derouen said people would often ask if Bridge at Waters Park had package lockers, but the community never installed them. Even before the pandemic pushed consumers online, they knew they would never be able to provide enough lockers to accommodate the daily package volume they experienced.

“We opted not to go the package locker route because we had heard so many nightmares about that, too. They get full, then packages get left in the open for someone to take,” Derouen said. “Our teams would have to go out and collect, log and sort those overflow packages anyway, so residents would still be coming into the office to pick up packages. It wasn’t a solution that would take the burden away from our teams.”

Bridge at Waters Park needed a package solution that removed the responsibility from onsite associates, with the ability to scale alongside e-commerce growth.

Solution: Bridge at Waters Park deploys Fetch for offsite, direct-to-door package management

In late 2019, previous ownership approached the Bridge at Waters Park management team to gauge interest in Fetch, a third-party package management solution that receives and stores resident packages offsite and schedules delivery directly to residents through an app.

Derouen and her team loved the concept and launched Fetch in March of 2020, just weeks before the impact of Covid-19 was truly felt.

“We were incredibly fortunate with the timing,” Derouen said. “A few weeks later we were completely locked down. We were here but our office doors were locked. Short of couriers setting packages outside, it would have been very difficult to maneuver. It was the exact right time to implement Fetch. I think it was such a relief for most people because they could just have things brought directly to their door and dropped off, so they didn’t have to have contact with anyone.”

Amid the initial confusion of the pandemic, Bridge at Waters Park packages were temporarily being held and delayed at USPS facilities. However, Derouen said her Fetch representative was quick to get things straightened out for the community, speaking directly with the postmaster on multiple occasions to ensure resident packages were directed to Fetch and restoring a timely delivery process.

“The Fetch service has blown me away with how quickly they are able to make things happen,” Derouen said. “Things are going to go wrong, believe me, I totally understand that. Just having someone step up to assist with it, take it off our hands, has been 100% wonderful and makes it stress-free.” 

Bridge at Waters Park keeps a Fetch poster on an easel in the leasing office to help introduce residents and prospective residents to the package solution. While leasing associates are always happy to answer resident questions, Derouen said the Fetch process is very self-explanatory.

“They provided us with materials to assist our team and residents, but it’s really very simple,” she said. “We essentially just have to show them how to sign up and residents take it from there.”

Results: Fetch caters to resident preferences while enabling Bridge at Waters Park team to refocus energy

With residents managing their own deliveries, the Bridge at Waters Park team has the time to focus on other tasks and resident service. But, by taking package management offsite, they have also sidestepped many of the other package issues that have cropped up since the start of the pandemic. 

“It has definitely opened up more time for us to be able to do our jobs and also to plan the events and do the things that we need to do. We experienced the relief right away, not having to check in 100 packages a day,” Derouen said. “Also, with the way things have been since Covid, with the increase in package theft and mailboxes being broken into, it’s great to be able to talk about Fetch and promote it. Residents have an understanding that this process really is better for them, as well.”

As online consumerism has escalated, Derouen said she has noted the desire people have for immediate gratification and an urgency to receive their packages. People are tracking their deliveries and anticipating arrival times, and Fetch allows them to maintain that oversight and receive packages the same day. 

“Knowing that they’re still going to get that package that day, and get it at a time that’s convenient for them, means everything,” Derouen said. “It appeals to most people’s tendency to continually check the transit of their order, so I think that’s a big plus.“

Though Bridge at Waters Park never had lockers or a resident package room, Fetch has allowed the onsite team to repurpose the storage closet previously used to hold resident packages. The Bridge at Waters Park team had been forced to relocate its physical archived files to a garage in a model home, but was able to bring those back into the office closet once the Fetch service began. 

“It’s just a matter of convenience for our team and it provided a better working space for us,” Derouen said. “There was kind of a domino effect, because it freed up that garage space so it looks nice when we show the model. It’s the little things that make an overall difference at the community level.”

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