As an asset manager, you can strengthen and protect your properties by regularly gauging tenant sentiment. Tenant feedback allows you to be a fly on the wall, revealing issues your property management team may not be aware of—or are not telling you. But how do you make surveys effective? Read on to find out!
If managed well, surveys can help you build trust with tenants, enable you to better coach your property management teams, and give you much-needed data on where you can make smart investments.
Surveys should always be a part of your overall tenant retention strategy. Good, frequent surveys can often highlight the biggest risks to your bottom line before they happen. Unfortunately, too many asset managers neglect to run surveys, or only run them once a year, due to cost.
Make tenants buy into your surveys
Running surveys in a purposeful way builds trust with your tenants, which in turn reduces churn.
Listening to your tenants helps them feel valued, and if you take steps to address their concerns, they will be eager to give you feedback in future.
Consistently running surveys and addressing issues will:
Allow you to maintain your property at a high standard that people want to live in and recommend
Help reduce the number of bad reviews your property gets on social media and online review sites
Informs you where small issues may be brewing so you can proactively mitigate risks
Additionally, you can repurpose tenant surveys into a marketing effort for greater value.
Communicate the results of tenant surveys to residents and explain your plans to address concerns. Through your surveys, their feedback can be used as an engagement and reputation building tool.
Facilitate honest feedback
You can only learn so much in your weekly team meetings with your regional managers or leasing teams. They do not have tenant perspectives, and there are things they fail to recognize or potential issues they flat out are not telling you.
Tenant surveys help you gauge what you may be missing. And to help ensure residents are sharing honest feedback, facilitate a way for them to provide it anonymously.
Even if you are incentivizing participation, you can still allow anonymous feedback by providing a code to the prize, gift card, etc. you are offering for those who complete a survey.
Unit and on-site inspections reveal obvious maintenance and aesthetic issues, but what do the people living at your property really value? When you decide where to invest, prioritizing tenant expectations to help keep them happy can be hard to know if you do not ask them.
Things like better internet access are not apparent during inspections and cause tenants to vacate or complain about your property online.
Varia US Properties, a company that invests exclusively in the US multifamily market, typically invests $6-7,000 per unit on the specific desires tenants indicate they want. Their 2017 annual report noted:
"Tenant surveys consistently show that air conditioning, community amenities, reliable internet access, and modernized unit interiors at an affordable cost are the top factors influencing leasing decisions."
Varia includes tenant sentiment in their overall property valuations to entice prospects, reduce churn, and maintain valuable assets.
Run short, specific, frequent surveys
Although tenant surveys offer critical insights, they are not issued due to associated costs and the time investment it takes to reach a significant number of residents and identify useful trends in all the data.
Good surveys are short, specific, and they're served to residents when it makes sense. But most survey tools act directly against this idea. They're slow, clunky, expensive, and force you to send long surveys with low completion rates once a year. Survey tools shouldn't cost an arm and a leg to buy and run.
Through ResiDesk Survey Insights, we offer asset managers a way to quickly generate surveys and make sense of the data with comprehensive analytical reporting.
We enhance PMS capabilities by creating a stronger communications link between asset managers and tenants through quick and easy tenant surveys—and we provide the analytical depth required to act on tenant feedback.
Request a demo to learn how you can access more robust tools to manage your portfolio.