In multifamily we often talk about customer service. We prompt our employees to do things like greet residents and say “I’m Sorry” but we often overlook the actual experience of being a resident in our multifamily communities. The multifamily industry spends much time and money collecting data but far too often the resident survey effectiveness stops there.
Property managers must remember that what we do with the resident survey feedback is one of the most influential parts of the customer satisfaction experience. Today we explore ways to utilize resident survey feedback to fuel the customer experience and increase satisfaction.
In this article from Multifamily Executive, J. Turner Research president Joseph Batdorf made a good point when he said “Everyone is talking about operations, and the smart operators are focusing on what their residents are thinking.” In line with this thinking we must find ways to not only make collection of data efficient but to USE the knowledge we gain from residents surveys to propel our properties into success.
Review Resident Survey Results with your Teams
First things first, you need to ensure that everyone across all of your teams know and understand the results of your surveys. Communicating the thoughts of your residents can help empower all teams to better tailor their work to your community. When presenting any resident survey results you should always celebrate positive comments and successes FIRST. Allow your teams to understand what a GREAT job they are doing before entering into the constructive criticism phase.
Secondly, discuss the negative results and accompanying comments. Allow the teams to brainstorm on how to alleviate the problems and ensure that residents return a positive result NEXT time the survey goes out. When relaying negative comments, make sure that you give your employees enough information and context to reassure them that these comments are not personal attacks but helpful suggestions. Giving both the positives and negatives will allow your team to see the bigger picture.
Use Resident Survey Data to Create a Plan.
After reviewing the comment information, brainstorm, with your team how to approach the identified issues. Especially if dealing with maintenance requests, allowing the maintenance team to have input on how to alleviate these will protect your team from becoming overworked. Having a concrete plan safeguard against a carnal sin: doing nothing with the survey results. It will also help you respond to issues in a timely manner. Both of these are very important to using feedback to encourage success.
Respond to Resident Survey Issues and Mitigate Problems.
Responses to any customer survey should happen in a timely fashion. Having a well-established structure or procedure for survey response will streamline this process. Leveraging the information should begin with mitigating the easily fixed tasks first. If there are larger issues at hand, or identified trends, then plan for an expected completion date and let your resident know. Keeping them informed of “happenings” will let them know that you are working toward a solution.
Prepare for Future Resident Surveys.
In general, the multifamily industry tends to look at customer satisfaction surveys as a point in time or a set of issues that need “fixing”. After mitigating and responding to the necessary complaints, continue your assessment of the surveys by looking at the responses over a course of a year or more. This will help you to identify any necessary trends. By reviewing the changes made, over time, you will begin to see the bigger picture of customer wants and needs. This is of utmost value to the overall planning of your community.
Much like everything you do as a property manager, the goal, in customer surveying, is to make your community better. Identifying trends and changing team behaviors are an important part of increasing resident satisfaction. Feedback from surveys can even extend beyond the community level. With your increased knowledge, you can help shape the policies and procedures of the company for the better. It is so true that knowledge is power and every management company needs knowledgeable and empowered property managers! So, all the more power to you!