It’s probably happened to every apartment operator: A resident uses an online apartment review site to complain about issues within the community, rather than trying to resolve their concerns with the property manager first.
Resident satisfaction is key to a successful community. If your residents feel seen and heard, they’re more likely to stick around and less likely to leave a bad apartment review.
So what’s the best way to get feedback from residents and address concerns before they explode into bigger issues? Survey them.
Taking the pulse of your community periodically can give you vital resident feedback on your apartments, the overall community, the quality of your maintenance team, customer service and management. Listening to and acting on your residents’ feedback can help you generate more leases, elevate your apartment reputation, assess your team’s performance, and improve resident retention.
Read on for some helpful tips on knowing when and how to use resident surveys, what to ask, and what to do with the feedback you receive.
When should you survey your residents?
An annual survey is a good start, but 2020 has shown us that things can change rapidly in a short period of time, so your aim should be to survey your residents at least twice per year. The first one could be toward the beginning of the year with a second one about six months later.
The first survey should be an overall assessment that can serve as a baseline. Ideally, you would address any issues that emerge from the resident survey, then use the second survey to follow up on how residents feel about the changes you put in place and gather additional feedback.
Don’t limit yourself to two annual pulse checks, though. You could do smaller, more targeted resident surveys after certain touchpoints, like after a maintenance request has been completed. You could also get valuable feedback by surveying new residents about their leasing process and departing residents about their overall living experience.
How should you survey your residents?
Comment cards filled out with a pen have been replaced by online survey platforms that can gather, analyze and track your survey data. There are several ways to ask residents for feedback:
- Using customer experience and feedback management software
- Creating a survey on an online questionnaire platform
- Setting up a custom survey platform on your community’s website or resident portal
Offering an incentive to your residents in exchange for their participation, like a gift card for coffee or a sandwich from a local takeout place, is a great way to get them on board.
What should you survey your residents about?
The primary sources of concern for property managers tend to fall into three general categories: property conditions, maintenance, and customer service. Rather than asking yes or no questions, craft your queries to be open-ended.
Asking residents about communal spaces in your community, like the pool, the parking situation, fitness center and the upkeep of the grounds is an excellent way to learn what apartment community features are most important to them.
It takes just one negative experience for a renter to start thinking about finding a new place to live, so your maintenance service should be as efficient as possible. Including maintenance on your resident survey can help you identify any weak points in your service.
Asking your residents for feedback about your staff is a great way to figure out what needs to be improved or understand what’s going right so you can continue to keep your residents satisfied.
What should you do with the resident feedback you receive?
First, keep an open mind. The results of your resident survey may reveal issues you were not aware of, or you may learn that your residents’ view of your community isn’t quite what you expected.
Rather than dwelling on the negative news you may receive, try to view your feedback as an opportunity to improve. Come up with plans for how to address the issues that your residents brought to your attention, and give updates on your progress.
If residents complained about snow removal in your parking lot, for example, or broken gym equipment, make sure to follow up about how you’ve resolved these concerns. You can include these updates in an email newsletter (if your property has one), on your resident portal, or your preferred method for communicating to your renters.
On the other hand, your resident survey results could give you reasons to celebrate. Discovering what your residents love about your community could be just as valuable as learning what they don’t like. You can leverage those residents and make them advocates for your community, helping you boost your online apartment reviews and overall star ratings.
The important message you want to send is that you’re listening, you care about their living experience, you take their feedback seriously, and you’re eager to take action to improve your apartment community.
The point of conducting a resident satisfaction survey is to assess your residents’ overall sentiment about life in your community. You should be prepared to address whatever issues your residents bring up, and do so visibly so they can see that you’re listening. Respage has designed a resident Surveys & Ratings Platform that helps you get valuable feedback, discover and leverage your happiest residents, build relationships with your community, and improve your apartment reputation. And it’s all automated. Contact Respage to learn more!