Three Surveys Every Property Manager Should Be Conducting

There are a lot of renters in the United States. According to the 2010 US Census, 34.9% of all US homes are renter-occupied. The steady growth of renters makes starting or growing a property management company an appealing economic endeavor. However, relying on these numbers alone to sustain your business isn’t enough.

In order to maintain a good relationship with your tenants and property owners, you want to keep a close eye on some key performance indicators (KPIs) related to their satisfaction. Customer feedback surveys may be used to help you calculate some of these KPIs, specific numbers that will help you measure your potential for business growth.

Whether you are a landlord managing a property or two, a professional managing a small portfolio of real estate on behalf of others, or you’re an executive for a large property management company in charge of multiple community associations and thousands of doors, every type of business benefits from gathering feedback from their customers to determine if there are any gaps in your services and their expectations.

Here are three customer feedback surveys that every property management company should conduct:

#1. The Customer Satisfaction Survey (CSAT)

What it is: The Customer Satisfaction Survey is usually a variant on one question: How would you rate your overall satisfaction with the product/service you received?

The survey respondents are asked to choose from a scale of 1 to 5:

1. Very unsatisfied

2. Unsatisfied

3. Neutral

4. Satisfied

5. Very Satisfied

Those who choose “satisfied” or “very satisfied” are considered satisfied customers. In order to calculate your CSAT score, you take your number of satisfied customers, divide it by the total number of survey respondents, and then multiply by 100.

For example, if you have 100 survey responses and 85 of them responded as either “satisfied” or “very satisfied,” your CSAT score would be 85%.

Businesses use this KPI to measure whether their product or services are meeting customer expectations. For property managers, this survey will help you determine if there is any room for improvement. If tenants or clients are consistently rating your services with a 1 through 3, you should follow up to see how things can be improved.

All these surveys provide an opportunity to open a line of dialogue with your clients to hear from them. Whether it’s good or bad, communication is the best way to gain a better understanding of your client’s needs and expectations.

#2. The Net Promoter Survey (NPS)

The Net Promoter Survey helps companies gauge how many of their clients would recommend their services to another. This survey consists of two parts, a question asking for a rating and then a free response follow up:

Part 1: “How likely are you to recommend our company to a friend or colleague?” Customers are asked to respond with a rating from 0-10.

Part 2: “Tell us why you choose [#]”

The goal of the NPS question is to measure overall customer loyalty and brand sentiment, not feedback on specific customer experiences.

As a property management company, the Net Promoter Survey will be a valuable KPI for your business growth. The sentiment from both your direct clients and tenants will impact your management company’s reputation. The NPS is used in many industries to identify detractors or current customers are likely to switch to a competitor or give negative feedback on social media or Google.

Typically, customers are placed into three categories based on how they score your company:
  1. Detractors. A client who responds with a rating of 0-6 is considered a detractor. These are clients who will not only drop you soon but they are also likely to spread negative word-of-mouth.
  2. Passives. Those who respond with a rating of 7 or 8 are passive clients. They are content with your company, but they aren’t evangelists. They also aren’t loyal to your services and may leave your business for a competitor or converted into a promoter.
  3. Promoters. Those who respond with a 9 or 10 are considered promoters. These are clients who love your company and are likely to help grow your company through referrals.

The formula to calculate your Net Promoter Score is to subtract the percentage of detractors from the percentage of promoters. For example, if you have 100 survey results with 30 scored between 0-6, 10 scored between 7 and 8, and 60 scored between 90 and 10.

There are:

  • 30 Detractors
  • 10 Passives
  • 60 Promoters

60% Promoters – 30% Detractors = 30%. So, your Net Promoter Score is 30.

NPS scores can range from -100 to 100, any positive score is considered good. Anything above 50 is considered great, and if you have a score of 70 or more, you’re doing a stellar job of delivering world-class customer service.

When to ask: Timing is everything. You want to get regular feedback in order to make smart business decisions, but you also don’t want to fatigue your clients with too many surveys. Typically, you can send a survey to gauge NPS once a quarter or semi-annually to start. Although you may want to consider engaging with those you identify as Promoters more often to get more information on why they rank you as highly as they do and apply that qualitative data to improve your Detractors score. Those who enjoy your services and your company are more likely to be willing to give additional feedback and even write a glowing recommendation for your company on Google or Facebook.

#3. Post-Service Survey

What it is:The Post-Service Survey should be sent to a tenant or homeowner right after a work order is completed or a revenue report is sent to a client. Like the CSAT survey, this survey should ask for the client to choose between a range of strongly satisfied to strongly dissatisfied with the opportunity to provide additional feedback. Unlike the CSAT, this survey will consist of more than one question and focus on specifics.

Example of a Post-Service Survey:

1. How satisfied are you with the service you received?

  • Very Unsatisfied
  • Unsatisfied
  • Neutral
  • Satisfied
  • Very Satisfied

2. How satisfied are you with the ease of creating the work order?

  • Very Unsatisfied
  • Unsatisfied
  • Neutral
  • Satisfied
  • Very Satisfied

3. How satisfied are you with the response time to your request?

  • Very Unsatisfied
  • Unsatisfied
  • Neutral
  • Satisfied
  • Very Satisfied

4. How satisfied are you with our level of communication?

  • Very Unsatisfied
  • Unsatisfied
  • Neutral
  • Satisfied
  • Very Satisfied

5. How could we improve our service?

Why it’s important: Unlike the other two types of surveys that can be used to calculate a KPI, this survey helps a company gather valuable qualitative data from clients after specific services are provided. Overall, this survey should focus on questions that will help you better understand the responses to the other two surveys.

You may outsource a lot of work orders to various vendors or have a person in-house that takes care of work orders. Either way, it’s important for property management companies to measure the quality of the work. While the CSAT survey is only one question asking for a ranking, this survey should be a little more in depth.

This survey will help you evaluate your vendors or team members and better understand if there is an opportunity to improve how repairs are handled. If your NPS score is low, this survey may indicate which areas need more attention than others for improvement.

For revenue reporting, it’s important to gauge how your clients are responding to the “bottom line” and your level of service. This is a good way to make sure that their expectations for both are matching up. Offering a survey is a good opportunity to reach out to a client who may be less than satisfied with a phone call.

Asking for feedback at the right time will help you retain clients

All of these surveys are short and sweet and focus on one specific measurement. Tracking satisfaction throughout the customer experience will ultimately lead to improving one of the most important KPIs for your business: your customer retention rate

Monitoring your customers’ satisfaction at various moments during their interactions with your company means that you will be able to better predict your retention rates. You want to make sure that you are asking for feedback at important touchpoints like after the initial move-in or once a work order is completed.

Acquiring new clients is expensive, so implementing a consistent way to gather this feedback through either email, text, third-party surveying vendors like SurveyMonkey or on your website is vital to the prosperity of your business.

Amanda Farrell