Typically, tenant satisfaction surveys are conducted to help property managers and landlords get feedback from their renters. This information can be then used to improve aspects of the property and its amenities, business processes, tenant satisfaction and retention.
Why It’s Important
For a property management firm to be competitive, property managers must have clear insight into where the company excels and where it needs to improve. The ability to accurately evaluate performance and determine what residents think about life on property is the first step towards creating better customer experiences and vastly boosting tenant loyalty.
That means one thing: Property management companies must actively welcome not only positive reviews, but also complaints. While it’s great to get those 10/10 responses, tenant grievances can serve as an early warning system. Less than perfect feedback can prevent customer service and operational failures by allowing property managers to fix small problems before they become big ones.
How to Ask Good Questions
One of the best ways to gauge the pulse of your building portfolio is to create tenant surveys. Of course, not every resident is keen to complete a survey. But there are a few things you can do to help ensure a high response rate.
When it comes to choosing the questions for your survey, there are a few rules of thumb to keep in mind.
1. Avoid “Yes or No” Questions
While answering “yes or no” questions is quick and easy for participants, the responses don’t offer enough insight into why tenants like or dislike any aspect of your property, and it doesn’t allow room for suggestions. Instead, use a rating scale (Very satisfied, satisfied, neither satisfied nor dissatisfied, dissatisfied, very dissatisfied) and create the option to add comments if participants have more to say.
2. Keep It Short, Minimize Open-Ended Questions
If the survey is too long, people are less likely to take the time to complete it. So, keep it simple and don’t try to cover every issue at once. Open-ended questions can yield the most detail, but they take longer to complete; many respondents won’t take the time to offer in-depth feedback. If there are a few important topics you need covered this way, go for it, but be selective in your topics and specific with your questions.
3. Ensure Anonymity
Some residents won’t want to offer up negative feedback if they feel like they have to sign their name to it. Make it easy for them to complete your survey anonymously.
4. Offer an Incentive
Sweeten the deal by providing participants with an incentive, like the chance to win a gift certificate for a local store or restaurant, a discount on rent or a small new appliance. (To maintain anonymity, provide survey participants with a code they can use to prove participation and be entered to win, without revealing their answers.)
5. Cover All Bases
To get a 360 view of your property and how residents feel about living there, make sure your survey covers all components of the tenant experience – from leasing to maintenance. This can include:
- The initial leasing process
- Rent price satisfaction
- Preferred rent payment options
- Maintenance satisfaction
- Amenities and communal facilities
- Property management response times
- Customer experience/interactions with staff
- Satisfaction with the rental unit
- Overall building rating
- How likely are they to recommend the property to friends and family
When to Survey Tenants
Surveys should be done on an annual basis, but also throughout your residents’ lifecycles. Send surveys to new and renewing tenants, as well as to those who recently had maintenance work completed.
By focusing on these key milestones, you can glean important information, like why renters choose to live in or leave your property, what they think of the leasing process, or how responsive and effective your maintenance staff is. Industry experts recommend sending surveys in the spring and fall.
Proactive outreach can keep tenants happy and help property managers and owners solve any issues before they become larger problems. With Property Vista’s tenant portal and communication tools, you’ll have access to a simple way to reach multiple tenants at once, inviting them to complete your survey. The more people you can get to participate, the better your property management firm can spot trends and increase your bottom line.
To learn more about how you can use your resident portal to improve retention rates, arrange a demo with us.