Property Management Relies on Seamless, Affordable Organization

How smrtPhone and Podio make the perfect pair for Justin Ellis, CEO of Wolfnest Property Management


These days, property management is no longer a side hustle for real estate agents. It’s a massive industry led by experts who essentially run multiple businesses and revenue streams under the unifying umbrella of property management. Tying together those disparate departments, various forms of cash flow, and a large workforce requires impeccable organization. smrtPhone and Podio help Justin Ellis, CEO of Wolfnest, do just that.

Wolfnest is a Property Management firm based in Salt Lake City, Utah. It is an understatement to say they do a lot. Besides managing properties, which includes finding tenants, managing leases, rent collection and more, Wolfnest also has their own subcontracted cleaning and maintenance crews.

“We are a departmentalized operation,” Justin explains, “we have a leasing team, a communications team, a sales team, maintenance, and more. Podio acts as our backbone, and the way smrtPhone integrates with Podio is absolutely beautiful.”

Managing different types of relationships – employees, contractors, tenants, leads, investors and property owners – means organization is the most important part of smoothly running a property management company. smrtPhone ends up playing a major role in “tying all those threads into one easy place,” according to Justin.

smrtPhone makes it easy to have different Teams when receiving inbound communication, as well as fast phone number purchase, a free Mobile App for working on the go, and of course, seamless syncing to Wolfnest’s preferred CRM, Podio.

The Right Price

When your business relies on communication to drive sales, it’s important to find the best price for your phone software.

Justin was with RingCentral before smrtPhone, but found that he was spending more than he needed to — roughly a thousand dollars a month! smrtPhone offers transparent and competitive pricing, especially for businesses that have multiple users.

“A big draw of smrtPhone was the pricing compared to what we were at with RingCentral. It’s hands down awesome. I don’t know exactly what we pay now versus what we did, but it’s pennies on the dollar. Considerably cheaper. And honestly, I’ve seen no lack of function, there’s nothing I could do in RingCentral that I can’t do in smrtPhone.”

It’s not just about a low price for Justin and his business, it’s also about having an easy-to-understand billing system so that all calls and texts can be traced back to communication logs. Getting insight into bills should be intuitive and easy, even when overseeing multiple employees and departments with different needs.

A Phone System That’s Easy to Use

Justin and his team were already using Podio when they found smrtPhone, and it was important that their new phone system integrated easily into their CRM. Beyond integration, the phone system had to work well. smrtPhone’s user-friendly interface made the transition smooth.

“I’ve recently been adding new users and connecting their Podio accounts – that process is super easy. So is setting up the Call Flows where you want inbound communication to go, such as what happens during or after business hours – it’s way more intuitive than it was at RingCentral.”

From set-up to actual day-to-day use, a phone system shouldn’t be a distraction or another chore — it should be efficiency-boosting and easy to use. Take the multiple dialers, for example. Justin and his team utilize both the Web Dialer and the Mobile App, depending on daily needs.

“The Web App is great: using the dialer, sending texts from there, is fantastic. Sending picture messages is super important to us. If we’re on the phone, we can have a tenant send us a picture of a maintenance issue – that’s really nice.”

Beyond the functionality of making and receiving calls and texts, Justin appreciates how easy other parts of setup are, such as buying phone numbers. “One thing that’s really cool is how easy it is to buy new numbers. Anytime we want to get a new number, we just click in there and grab it,” explains Justin.

Quality Assurance For Accountability

Justin has a lot of employees, and his tech stack helps him keep track of their work. Since smrtPhone syncs with Podio, Justin takes advantage of automation to streamline quality assurance. Instead of manually checking in directly with each employee to ensure they’re doing what they’re supposed to, Justin checks Podio.

“On the sales side, from a quality control perspective, if someone calls in we have a flow setup in Podio where it pops a task for that person to return the call, or if there’s a voicemail it will let them know. From a managerial standpoint it helps us make sure that our sales team is in fact following up when they need to, and they’re returning calls when they need to.”

Call Recording helps Justin keep his team accountable since he can check that call scripts are being followed and sales are being executed the Wolfnest way. Quality assurance matters for any business that has a high standard for customer service, a huge part of property management.

“The ability to record all of our calls effortlessly is an absolute game changer from an accountability standpoint for our team. They know that when they jump on the phone, there’s certain things they’re supposed to execute on. And they know someone’s going to listen to that. If they don’t do it, they’re going to be held accountable.”

smrtPhone feeds all communication data into Justin’s CRM, so he can quickly oversee what his employees are doing — or not doing. As he puts it, “Podio is an absolute snitch.” It lets Justin know when someone’s not playing by the rules. “Having that level of accountability is fantastic.”

Looking Ahead with Video Calling

Justin is very excited about smrtPhone’s video calling feature, which is currently being tested in Beta. Video Calling is a natural evolution of smrtPhone’s core offerings, which are about connecting humans in the most efficient and beneficial way for business. It’s a no brainer that having visuals on smrtPhone calls would be immensely helpful for a property management company.

“Think about it from a leasing perspective: if someone can’t make a showing but you have an agent there who can just flip on the camera and show them, or from a maintenance perspective, a tenant can just call and show us exactly what’s happening.”

With video calling, you can instantly see what’s happening in front of you, while still allowing the call to be logged and synced to your CRM. When it comes to property management, so much of the business is visual: from seeing a potential investment property, to maintaining a current property, it’s important that everyone is on the same page – instantly.

At the end of the day, Justin just needs a reliable phone system that ties all of his departments together, provides impeccable data, all at a cost-effective price. As he sums it up: “smrtPhone is just an essential part of our tech stack, for sure.”