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How to Use Resident Satisfaction Surveys to Improve Facilities

Updated on September 29, 2016
tamarawilhite profile image

Tamara Wilhite is a technical writer, engineer, mother of 2, and a published sci-fi and horror author.


Facility managers, residential property managers and multi-family management companies are torn between offering the latest and greatest amenities and spending as little as possible to maximize profits. Giving residents satisfaction surveys yields general scoring to let you know how happy the respondents are but little insight into why they are unhappy or what could be done better.

How can you use resident satisfaction surveys to truly improve facilities and inspire delight among your residents?

Getting feedback on what you are doing right can be as challenging as collecting useful information about what your facility is doing wrong.
Getting feedback on what you are doing right can be as challenging as collecting useful information about what your facility is doing wrong. | Source

How to Get Usable Results from Resident Surveys

Send surveys to residents asking for their top concerns. Include a free form text field in emails or blank section for surveys so that residents can discuss their concerns, worries and needs.

Are there areas in the complex where they do not feel safe? Are there places in the building that your cleaning crew is missing? Asking the questions on a yes/no or 1 to 5 scale is not sufficient if you want a survey to give actionable advice so you can achieve higher scores later.

If there is a limited budget for improvements such as new exercise equipment or recreational equipment, let residents vote for their choices through resident surveys.

Let residents decide whether they would prefer fewer amenities or higher service charges when the budget gets tight.

Use surveys to garner suggestions from residents ways the complex can save money. You may be delighted by their ideas while residents help keep their rates down.

Ask those renewing their lease why they are choosing to stay and how you can improve the facility.

You may not realize the umet needs or desires of residents until you ask.
You may not realize the umet needs or desires of residents until you ask. | Source

Using Surveys to Solve Major Problems

Let residents use printed surveys to request private meetings about major problems or to detail matters that they do not want to discuss in public. Respond to serious concerns with an in person visit by the apartment manager.

If this is not possible, respond with a personalized letter. Describe the concern that the customer gave in their satisfaction survey to demonstrate that you both received and understood the matter. Is someone's dog barking too much? Has a neighbor started smoking or burning incense in the apartment? Are neighborhood children crowding the pool? Take the time to discover whether the reported problem is an extension of a personality conflict, someone else breaking the rules or problems that need to be resolved.

Send surveys to those who have chosen to move out of your complex. Why did they go? Review their responses to determine what could keep your remaining residents happy. Have local schools or streets become unacceptable? Did management policies drive them to go? Now that they are gone, they may be willing to tell you what you need to know to retain remaining renters.

Ask those who are touring your residences to fill out a survey. If there are many potential renters who choose not to sign up, surveys offer the easiest and cheapest way to find out why. What amenities are you lacking or failing to advertise? What did they need that you failed to provide?

Additional Advice

When closing down an area for renovation or repair, place a sign there that says you are doing this in accordance with resident requests. Those who encounter the sign will be less frustrated by the closure of a pool or recreation room if they know that the work is done at someone's behest.
In general, it is best to provide at least two possible solutions to any problem that someone brings up.

When there is a serious, ongoing concern about which residents may be split, let residents vote on the matter anonymously via surveys. Do you hire a security guard or add locked gates to improve security?

If there are concerns about the quality of the maintenance crew, which local firms would residents prefer to be hired instead? If children waiting for the school bus have been unruly or failing to get on the bus, do parents want to organize supervision for the bus stop or do they want a security guard to watch the kids until they are on the bus?


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  • tamarawilhite profile image

    Tamara Wilhite 5 years ago from Fort Worth, Texas

    It's not just a matter of sending out surveys, but sending surveys out in a matter that helps your business and using surveys to actually improve customer satisfaction, not just measure happy versus unhappy responses.

  • Simone Smith profile image

    Simone Haruko Smith 5 years ago from San Francisco

    Wow, if only EVERYONE made a habit of sending out surveys! I've only lived in one place that went so far as to demonstrate that kind of care... though I can't say that our responses led to much change. Great tips.