Back in September we ran a workshop on how to get the best out of resident feedback surveys. The day was started with an inspiring case study from Apt Quest – a team of Rooftop residents specially trained to perform Rooftop’s surveys by phone. Rooftop found that by using their own trained residents to do these surveys they experienced a number of benefits including: increased customer satisfaction, financial savings, clearer identification and resolution of tenant issues and promotion of their social value credentials.
This session was followed by a discussion presented by Theresa Hughes on how to improve tenant satisfaction. The discussion was started with analysis of why there was such a big difference in the satisfaction scores reported in the recent widely published Big Tenant Survey (2014) and the STAR Benchmarking Report (2014). This sparked debate and insight into: what specific satisfaction categories can tell us, the importance of getting a representative sample to match your tenant database, what key areas are linked to the biggest increases in satisfaction scores and how customer segmentation can be used to target communication and service delivery.
This led nicely into the next session chaired by ourselves, covering what you should be looking for when performing and analysing tenant surveys. Issues such as: representativeness of samples, statistical reliability, net promoter scores, priming, timing, which statistics are important, looking for correlations and asking the right questions, were all outlined.
The last session of the day looked at where the sector had come from and where it was likely to go in the future with regards to tenant surveys and tenant insight. Obviously we have moved away from the use of STATUS surveys to the more flexible STAR approach. Organisations are increasingly using alternative methodologies to supplement or replace traditional postal surveys, with telephone and online becoming more popular. Rolling monthly or quarterly STAR surveys are also increasing in popularity, in contrast to large annual or bi-annual surveys.
Looking at the bigger picture, other trends also seem to be emerging. HouseMark are currently in the process of consulting with their members to see if transactional surveys performed within the sector can be benchmarked in a similar way to STAR surveys. They are also aware of the increasing range of methodologies being used to collate customer satisfaction insight; e.g. focus groups, mystery shoppers, SMS surveys and the monitoring of social media, etc.
To conclude, the key take away point was that whatever way satisfaction is measured and quantified, the reason why you as an organisation are gathering tenant feedback shouldn’t be lost. Feedback should primarily be sought to gain insight into how you can improve the service you deliver and provide value for money to your tenants and stakeholders. In this sense what you do with the data is more important than the ‘benchmark’ scores you receive.