Kelsey Kershaw: Relationships Drive Client Success

"I often tell my clients that I aim to ensure they have exactly what they need — nothing more, nothing less." Kelsey Kershaw Account Executive, Yardi Breeze

Kelsey Kershaw is an account executive with Yardi Breeze. She excels at guiding clients through the intricacies of Breeze and Breeze Premier, ensuring her clients are able to get the most out of these platforms. Motivated by the tangible benefits her assistance brings clients, her approach is proudly client focused. Kelsey plays an instrumental role in educating residential and commercial clients on the extensive capabilities of Yardi solutions.

In this interview, she discusses what it means to forge relationships in the property management software industry and showcases the impact an individual can have on client success.

Tell us about your role at Yardi.

Kelsey:As an account executive, my goal is to help owners and property managers enhance their processes with Breeze or Breeze Premier. My role encompasses a wide range of responsibilities, from making sure clients get the support they need to educating them on various Yardi solutions and ancillary products. I also help clients learn about upgrades and provide guidance on best practices for their business, ensuring they fully utilize the solutions they have in place.

What motivates you on a daily basis coming into work?

Kelsey: The biggest thing that motivates me is helping my clients. It’s incredibly rewarding to assist a client who is struggling with a specific task. When I follow up with them after implementation and they tell me how much it has helped — whether it’s giving them more time back in their day to spend with their families or reducing their stress — that’s what motivates me the most.

What’s your approach to building a relationship with a client?

Kelsey: My approach involves a personal touch from the very beginning. They bring me up to speed on how Breeze or Breeze Premier is working for them, and most importantly, they tell me about their goals. Whether their objectives involve improving efficiency, fostering growth, addressing specific pain points or reducing costs, it’s crucial for me to know their goals. This foundational understanding not only helps in tailoring our services to meet their needs but also plays a significant role in building a strong relationship.

I often tell my clients that I aim to ensure they have exactly what they need — nothing more, nothing less. When I meet with my clients, my first thought is about how I can care for them, help their business, and understand their needs. Once I have that understanding, I try to see things from their perspective. That helps me advise them on the best solutions for their budget and operations. This approach also ensures the client isn’t oversold or overlooked.

What are commercial clients are looking for when considering an upgrade?

Kelsey: For my clients using Breeze, there are several needs that I’ve noticed as they grow. While Breeze is an excellent solution starting out, one area where clients often seek more functionality is in tracking their clauses and options. Many are doing this manually or lack a system entirely. Having an organized way to track these on Breeze Premier proves to be very helpful for clients.

Another need is for a commercial-specific tenant portal. CommercialCafe caters specifically to those tenants, allowing them to pay rent with a breakdown of reconciliations for items like property tax and insurance. It also accommodates tenants with multiple spaces, enabling them to keep track of retail rent and other necessities.

Another highly requested feature is the ability to submit maintenance requests for common areas, which can be done in the CommercialCafe portal. Unlike residential portals, where this feature is not available, being able to submit requests for common area maintenance on a dedicated commercial platform is highly beneficial.

What typically leads to a business asking about Breeze Premier?

Kelsey: The top factor leading a business to ask about Breeze Premier is growth. As businesses expand, they find themselves in need of more automations to manage the complexity and volume of their operations. The second factor is just gaining familiarity with automated services. Initially, a new business might only need basic functionality. As clients become more familiar with Breeze, they often seek out more advanced features to make their processes even more efficient.

Do clients often attribute Breeze to their business’s growth?

Kelsey: Yes! I’ve had clients who started out with just 12 units. Now, they’ve grown to over 900 units. In fact, I just upgraded one of these clients from Breeze to Breeze Premier to support their continued growth. It’s exciting to witness their development firsthand.

Are there any particular features clients attribute to their success?

Kelsey: Clients who use Yardi Investment Manager attribute a lot of their growth to that product. It enables them to raise the necessary funds for growth and keep track of their finances more effectively. Having a clean, professional interface through Investment Manager builds trust with potential investors.

How do you deal with client frustrations?

Kelsey: When I meet with clients who express frustrations, such as struggling with certain aspects of their operations, my goal is to better help them identify and understand the breaking points in their operations that they might not yet recognize as problems. I show them ways to make their business run more efficiently, reduce costs or help them grow. This approach not only helps resolve immediate frustrations but also helps pave the way for long-term improvements.

Are there any lesser-known parts of our software that people end up excited about?

Kelsey: Yes! The invoice approval workflow is a great example. I have many clients who process hundreds of invoices every month, and when they learn about our full-service invoice processing, their reaction is often a combination of relief and excitement. They see how it could significantly ease the workload in their day-to-day operations.

Another feature that garners a lot of interest is automated bank reconciliations in Breeze Premier. When clients realize this feature can save them hours spent on bank reconciliations, they’re usually very eager to learn more.

Is it common to hear that businesses are exploring other software companies?

Kelsey: Sometimes companies have different business models that aren’t compatible for what our software was designed to accomplish- and that’s okay! We want each business to have the solution that makes them successful. There aren’t many other property management software companies that provide commercial-specific features for small businesses to the extent that Yardi does. Typically, once we walk through the many capabilities Yardi has to offer, our clients feel comfortable adopting Yardi.

Will our zero ACH fee policy make an impact?

Kelsey: Our zero ACH fee policy will undoubtedly make an impact. I’ve heard of residents, tenants and clients being charged up to two to three dollars per payment before partnering with us. Our policy makes a huge difference for the those who would otherwise incur those costs.

Property managers often bear the brunt of residents’ frustration over these fees, which can be particularly acute in lower-income areas where every dollar matters. The name of the game is tenant satisfaction. Happy tenants lead to lower turnover and increased revenue. By eliminating the ACH fee, we remove a significant barrier to online payment adoption, enhancing tenant satisfaction and giving us a competitive edge in the market.

Has eliminating ACH fees helped commercial clients as much as residential clients?

Kelsey: Yes, because it prevents clients from incurring additional fees. If tenants aren’t using the payment portal, the property management office has to manually enter receipts and attach them to tenant ledgers in Breeze Premier.

Conveniently, CommercialCafe captures those payments. It automatically creates receipts in Breeze Premier and deposits the funds into the client’s bank account. If a client is paying processing fees for 500 rent payments every month, we can save them $500 to $1,500 a month. An ACH fee can be a deterrent for residents or tenants when deciding where to rent, especially if a competitor has eliminated the fee.

Read more about Yardi’s Zero ACH Fee Policy.

Have you had conversations with clients about the ACH fees or their feelings on them?

Kelsey: Yes, it’s a topic that comes up fairly often. Most clients were accustomed to the $0.95 ACH fee, but the reaction to us eliminating the fees altogether has been overwhelmingly positive. I received numerous emails from clients expressing their excitement. It’s definitely a big deal to the industry.

Why do clients stick with Yardi: the relationships, the product or the price?

Kelsey: I truly believe clients stick with Yardi because of the combination of all three factors: relationships, product and price. We offer incredibly competitive pricing on both Breeze and Breeze Premier. We’re also not compromising on essential support services, so we still offer free live chat and implementation.

I’d argue that we provide the best value across the board. We offer a high-quality product accompanied by excellent support through our chat, phone support and implementation services. Moreover, choosing Yardi isn’t just about purchasing software. You’re getting a partnership with a company who can help you at all stages of your company’s growth.

Have you ever had a bad relationship develop into a good one? How did that come about?

Kelsey: I reached out to a company that was not satisfied with one of our earlier solutions. Initially, they were hesitant to engage in conversation. However, they eventually circled back with some questions about Breeze. As I walked them through Breeze and learned more about their business needs, they were also considering another competitor’s solution.

During this process, I suggested evaluating Breeze Premier as well, which allowed us to not only compete with but also outperform the competitor. This move not only brought them back to Yardi but also led them to discover Breeze Premier. Over time, we’ve built a strong relationship, and I’m now very close with them.

What do you think explains Yardi’s longevity?

Kelsey: Yardi’s longevity can be attributed to its ability to evolve with the needs of its clients. It’s always amazing to see how Yardi stays ahead of the game, releasing features that I hadn’t even considered but could immediately recognize as beneficial for my clients. We’ll often include enhancements clients have requested. Yardi’s strength lies in its ability to listen to its clients, deeply understand the industry and develop solutions that adapt to the most pressing needs of our time. That’s what keeps us at the forefront of the industry.