If you are experiencing a dip in resident satisfaction at your apartment community, you’re not alone. Overall, apartment residents are 13 percent less satisfied now than they were in 2019, according to an April 2022 survey by J Turner Research.
The survey, which garnered 6,164 respondents representing 471 properties across the country, asked apartment residents about how happy they were with their rentals and what aspects of apartment life were most important to them.
While the decline in satisfaction isn’t directly linked to the COVID-19 pandemic, it can be connected to some of the lingering effects of it, including prolonged amenity closures as well as inadequate cleanliness and security practices.
Apartment residents have higher expectations than ever before, so it’s crucial to collect data and listen to their feedback. In this post, we’ll examine how to effectively implement a resident satisfaction survey to yield the best results for both your rental office and your residents.
What information are you seeking?
Before creating the survey, it’s helpful to think through what you want to learn and why. Some possible reasons for surveying your residents include:
- Gaining insight into specific touchpoints, like the move-in experience or a maintenance visit
- Setting long-term goals for the community
- Assessing residents’ overall satisfaction and loyalty
- Getting feedback on amenities, events and community features
What are your objectives for your apartment resident satisfaction survey?
To get the most out of your survey, you should be clear on why you’re conducting it. Ask yourself:
- Why are you surveying your residents? Are you conducting a periodic pulse check or are you trying to understand a pattern, such as why one area of your community has the highest turnover?
- How will you use the results of your survey? Will you share it with prospective residents to help market the property? With decision-makers to fund improvements to the property? Or with your team to help improve customer service?
- What will you do differently based on your survey results? Once you have a firm understanding of how your residents feel about living in your community, what steps will you take to address residents’ concerns?
Who should you survey?
Once you’ve decided why you want to conduct a survey, the next step is figuring out who you’ll target.
- Current residents. If your goal is to get an overall assessment of your community, you’ll want to survey all of your current residents.
- New residents. If you want feedback on your move-in or leasing process, targeting residents who moved in recently will give you insight.
- Specific groups of residents. If you’re looking for feedback on your pet policies, for example, conduct a survey of pet owners.
- Departing residents. Similar to your survey of current residents, this one could be a broader view of your departing residents’ experience.
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What should you survey your residents about?
The main sources of concern for property managers tend to fall into three buckets: customer service, maintenance, and property conditions. Rather than asking yes or no questions, write your queries to be open-ended.
- Customer service. It’s nearly impossible to have a successful apartment community without providing excellent customer service. Ask about communication between residents and management, how management solves problems, and whether staff members are friendly and helpful.
- Maintenance. Your maintenance service should be as efficient as possible because it just takes one negative maintenance experience for a renter to start looking for a new place to live. Surveying residents about their experience can help you identify any weak points in your maintenance service.
- Property conditions. Gathering feedback on the communal spaces in your community, like the pool, parking areas, the fitness center, and the upkeep of the grounds is an excellent way to learn what apartment community features matter most to your residents.
How should you conduct your resident satisfaction survey?
Online survey platforms can gather, analyze and track your survey data. There are several ways to ask residents for feedback:
- Creating a survey on an online questionnaire platform
- Setting up a custom survey platform on your community’s website or resident portal
- Using customer experience and feedback management software
Offering an incentive to your residents in exchange for their honest feedback, like a gift card for coffee, is a great way to get them on board. However, you should make it clear that you’re not offering gifts in exchange for positive reviews.
How often should you conduct an apartment resident satisfaction survey?
An annual survey is a good start, but the pandemic has shown that things can change quickly. So, sending a survey twice per year—six months apart—should be the goal.
- The first survey. This could be an overall evaluation of your community, where you ask all of your residents the same questions.
- The second survey. This could be a follow-up to the first first survey where you ask how residents feel about the changes you put in place and gather additional feedback.
Don’t limit yourself to two annual surveys, though. You could do smaller, more targeted resident surveys after certain touchpoints, like after a maintenance request has been completed.
What should you do with the resident feedback you receive?
The results of your apartment resident survey may reveal issues you were not aware of, so try to keep an open mind.
- 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.
- Follow up with your residents. If residents complained about broken gym equipment, for example, make sure to give updates about how you’ve resolved these concerns. You can include these in an email newsletter (if your property has one), on your resident portal, or your preferred method for communicating to your residents.
- Celebrate your wins. 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.
Feedback is important to maintaining a happy community
Conducting apartment resident satisfaction surveys will help you pinpoint what you’re doing right as well as what needs improvement. It’s important to show your residents that you’re listening, you take their feedback seriously, and you’ll take action to improve your apartment community.
Respage has designed a fully automated resident Surveys & Ratings Platform that helps you gather feedback, discover and leverage your happiest residents, build relationships with your community, and improve your apartment reputation. Contact Respage to learn more!