Use a Resident Exit Survey to Improve Tenant Loyalty

How much are you communicating with your exiting residents? A resident exit survey and interview can be a wealth of information. Residents who are moving out can provide you with honest feedback about their experiences living in your property. That feedback can give you insight into why tenants are leaving, what they liked about your multifamily property, and how you can improve on the experience for your remaining tenants.   

This isn’t about checking your customer service rating among residents. The goal of the exit survey is to increase resident loyalty in your current and future residents as well. Building loyalty creates a stronger multifamily community for your tenants and a more stable investment portfolio for you.

Why resident loyalty matters

 

There are benefits to resident loyalty, for both you and the residents themselves. The most obvious benefit of having loyal, long-term tenants is that you aren’t incurring costs for unit turns or spending money marketing your property to new tenants. That can decrease your marketing budget and increase your spending on community improvements. 

Loyal tenants care more about the property they are living in, too. That helps decrease operational and maintenance costs. Tenants who enjoy living there are more likely to pay at the high end of the fair market value for the property, too.

Loyalty isn’t only good for your bottom line, though. Long-term tenants are happier ones. Loyal tenants can help create a thriving community within your property. They get to know their neighbors and recommend the property to their friends. They are more likely to watch out for each other and for your property.

How a resident exit survey helps build loyalty

 

So how does an exit survey help you create that kind of loyalty? With feedback that provides you with actionable data.

The goal of the resident exit survey is to get honest feedback from exiting residents. The feedback should include information on what your community is doing well and areas where it can improve. Then you can turn that feedback into a strategy for improving your community and increasing your resident loyalty. 

The more feedback you have, the better you’ll understand what residents really think about your community and why they choose to leave it. Let’s look at a few examples: 

  • Residents say they are leaving because they are moving closer to work. You’ve now learned that your property might not appeal to young professionals who need to be closer to the city center. But you might be the perfect place for families seeking a quiet neighborhood. Now you can create a smarter marketing strategy to bring in more long-term residents.
  • Residents are moving out because they say the monthly rent is too high. You might need to lower your rental rates to something that’s more competitive on the market. Or offer creative move-in specials to attract new residents. Or you might want to add some extra amenities that justify the rental rates and help residents feel they are getting good value for their money.
  • Residents note that your maintenance service is top-notch and something they appreciated a lot. Sometimes knowing what to keep is as important as knowing what needs to go.

What questions to include in your survey

 

What you ask and how you ask it are equally vital to the exit survey process. You’ll want to keep the survey short and easy to answer to encourage participation. The more feedback you get, the more useful the survey becomes to you. You’ll want to cover a variety of topics, focusing your questions on five key areas:

Leasing

  • How did the exiting tenant find the leasing process?
  • Did they feel the lease was clearly explained to them during the signing process?

Property

  • Was the tenant satisfied with their property?
  • Was it clean when they moved in? 
  • Did they feel the property was a good value for their money?

Amenities

  • Was it easy to find parking for their property?
  • What amenities did they use the most?
  • What amenities did they wish the property had?

Staff

  • Were property staff attentive to resident needs?
  • Did they find it easy to contact staff?
  • Were issues dealt with in a timely manner?

Maintenance

  • Was it easy to contact the maintenance staff when needed?
  • Were maintenance issues dealt with quickly? 

Resources to help create your survey

 

It’s easy to build a simple survey online. An online survey is often easier for residents to fill out (and there are no pieces of paper to misplace!). Survey Monkey is a great service that allows you to build a customized survey and send it out through an emailed link. Check out this tenant satisfaction survey example to give you an idea about how you can format your own survey.   

If you want to take your surveys to the next level, consider partnering with a professional surveying company such as Ellis. They provide touch point surveys to apartment communities. They gather the data, analyze the results to provide you with comprehensive feedback. This can help you improve your move-in and move-out process, identify issues with maintenance requests, and much more.

Looking for more info on resident exit surveys?

 

Looking for more information about how to write a great exit survey? Or want to learn more about how to take feedback and turn it into actionable data? Get in touch with the Theresa Bradley-Banta team today. We can provide you with a free consultation on our multifamily investment consultation services. Discover how we can help your investments grow and thrive today.

Learn more:

 

Turn Your Residents into Brand Ambassadors

Great Ideas for Resident Retention: Easy Customer Service Makeover

TipsMultifamily Tenant Retention Strategies

 

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Theresa Bradley-Banta writes about investing in real estate while avoiding the pitfalls that plague many new investors. She is a 2017 PropTech Top 100 Influencer and winner of 14 American and International real estate awards for her website and real estate investing programs. As featured on: The Equifax Finance Blog, AOL’s Daily Finance, Scotsman Guide, The Best Real Estate Investing Advice Ever Show, Stevie Awards Blog, Rental Housing Journal, and Investors Beat among others.

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