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8-Step Plan for Taking Advantage of Survey Data

resident surveys

Digested from “Purposeful Surveys: Using Resident Response Data” in The Balance Sheet (11/16/16) by Rascón, Erica

You can mine useful data from resident surveys, but if you don’t use that data to inform operational improvements, you’ve missed the boat.

Here are eight steps to help you collect the best data and then use those insights to improve apartment community operations—and resident satisfaction.

1. Get staff members invested in the survey. Emphasize that the survey is about improving the apartment community moving forward. That’s the framework in which staff members need to view any negative feedback.

2. Promote the survey to residents. Use all social media channels and promote it at all community events. If legally permissible, consider offering an incentive for survey participation.

3. Focus on trends in the data. These are the big-ticket items that you need to focus on going forward. Don’t get mired in every little complaint.

4. Create a list of action items for staff. Before sharing the survey data with staff members, create a to-do list based on the survey data. Then ask staff members for their input on these action items so they feel invested in making the changes.

5. Provide staff training. Ensure that staff members are properly trained for any new roles or tasks that emerge from the survey.

6. Focus on a few changes at a time. You will be better off slowly and fully addressing action items rather than quickly but incompletely rushing through the list. Prioritize your list and start with the most important items.

7. Celebrate success. Surveys are great for highlighting needed changes, but they also spotlight what staff members are doing well. Be sure to celebrate those successes with your staff. Consider instituting an ongoing way to identify staff members who are doing a particularly great job.

8. Pursue testimonials. Reach out to residents who offered praise on their surveys to see if they are comfortable with these quotes being used on your website or in other marketing materials. Consider also doing this with people who left positive reviews on Yelp or Facebook.

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