January 12, 2022

How to Make the Most of Apartment Resident Surveys and Reviews

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If you’ve noticed that people only leave reviews of your apartment community when they have something negative to say, you aren’t alone. Review sites like Google and Yelp are filled with scathing commentary, and recovering from a series of bad reviews can be a major challenge.

Resident satisfaction is the cornerstone of a thriving, successful apartment community. When a resident or prospect uses a review site to complain, it could be because they don’t feel seen or heard, so they resort to leaving a bad review.

So, the key to increasing resident satisfaction and boosting your online reputation is to ask for and embrace feedback from your residents. Listening to and acting on your residents’ feedback can help you generate more leases, elevate your apartment community’s reputation, assess your team’s performance, and improve resident retention.

Sending out surveys as well as requesting reviews after positive customer service interactions will help you gauge how happy your residents really are and serve as a roadmap for how to improve.

In this post, we’ll share some tips on knowing when and how to use resident surveys and review requests, what to ask, and what to do with the feedback you receive.

Aim for two surveys per year and smaller, targeted ones after certain touchpoints

An annual survey is a good start, but the COVID-19 pandemic has shown us that things can change quickly. So, sending a survey twice per year—six months apart—should be the goal.

The first survey could be an overall evaluation of your community, then you would use that feedback to take action. 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.

Make your surveys easy and incentivize

Online survey platforms that can gather, analyze and track your survey data have replaced comment cards filled out with a pen. More importantly, people are more likely to fill out an online survey than a written one. There are several ways to ask residents for feedback:

  • Using customer experience and feedback management software
  • Creating a survey on an online questionnaire platform, like Survey Monkey
  • Setting up a custom survey platform on your community’s website or resident portal

The people you plan to survey can also guide the survey format. For example, you could reach current residents through the community’s online portal, and prospects via email.

Offering an incentive to your residents in exchange for their honest feedback, like a gift card for a sandwich from a local takeout place, is a great way to get them on board. However, you should make it clear that you’re not offering prizes in exchange for good reviews.

Ask open-ended, yet targeted questions

The primary sources of concern for property managers tend to fall into three general categories: customer service, property conditions and maintenance. To get the most helpful answers from your residents, craft your queries to be open-ended rather than asking yes or no questions.

  1. Customer 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.

  2. Property conditions. Asking residents about communal spaces in your community, like the pool, the parking situation and the upkeep of the grounds is an excellent way to learn what apartment community features are most important to them.

  3. Maintenance. 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.

Now that you have the resident feedback, hold yourself accountable

You might find out about issues you weren’t aware of before sending your survey, or you could learn that our residents’ opinion of your community isn’t what you expected. So, keep an open mind and try to avoid taking anything personally.

Try to view your feedback as an opportunity to improve rather than dwelling on any negative news you may receive. Hold yourself accountable by coming up with plans for how to address the issues that your residents brought to your attention, and give updates on your progress.

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 turn those residents into advocates for your community, helping you boost your online apartment reviews and overall star ratings.

Speaking of apartment reviews, how can you get more positive ones?

Like we said at the beginning, negative apartment reviews come easier than positive ones. Think about it: When you’ve had an unpleasant experience with a company, venting through a bad review is often the easiest recourse. It takes more for someone to leave a positive review after a positive experience.

A way to remedy this is to give residents reasons to write a great apartment review, then approach them at the right time to ask for it. This will get you better results than asking for reviews at random times. A few ideas:

Provide excellent service.

Residents notice when you do things like respond quickly to emergency maintenance requests and hand-deliver packages to residents who are unable to lift heavy boxes. If your residents are consistently treated well, they’ll be more likely to share their positive thoughts online.

Host fun events.

While the pandemic has put a damper on in-person gatherings, you can still get together with your apartment community virtually for book club meetings, yoga or other events. This can help build a sense of community and make residents feel more connected, which could result in positive apartment reviews.

Address patterns.

Even the very best properties will get bad apartment reviews. Take note of patterns that pop up in your reviews. If you keep receiving negative reviews about a rude employee, or a broken front gate, it’s time to take action. When residents see that you’re making things right, they’ll be more inclined to revise or update a negative apartment review.

Apartment Surveys & Reviews Conclusion

When it comes to resident satisfaction surveys and online reviews, it’s important to show that you’re listening, you take your residents’ feedback seriously, and you’re eager to take action to improve your apartment community. Respage has designed a resident Surveys & Star 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!

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