Research Matters

Stop guessing about the reasons for lost prospects and unhappy residents.

An old adage claims that the customer is always right. This statement couldn’t be truer in the apartment industry. With sites like apartmentreviews.com, rentadvisor.com and rentvoice.com offering a mouthpiece for residents to vent, it is important that property management companies take steps to effectively address prospect and resident concerns before they reveal themselves as agitated ramblings on review sites.

Resident research companies offer a variety of services to generate data to help property managers stay informed of the concerns of their residents and prospects, and MHN has compiled a short list of companies that are helping the industry utilize objective data to monitor, review and address resident concerns in order to make the necessary adjustments to keep renters in their units and have prospects lining up to sign a lease.

Kingsley Associates: While Kingsley Associates provides a wide variety of real estate-related research, its services pertaining to renters’ satisfaction have made the company a leader in third-party resident retention-related research for the multifamily industry.

Kingsley Associates offers a variety of solution-driven services for property managers including annual satisfaction assessments, event-related surveys, both prospective resident and lost prospect surveys, as well as senior housing surveys that are all designed to provide statistical data which can be viewed in real-time, to help management companies objectively evaluate the effectiveness of leasing processes, staff service, operations, and marketing strategies.

Kingsley Associates data is derived from a multitude of sources including web-, phone- and mail-based surveys, focus groups or a combination of each, and is specifically tailored to the client’s needs whether for a handful of properties or a nation-wide portfolio (www.kingsleyassociates.com).

SatisFacts: Maryland-based SatisFacts, an Internet Brands company, prides itself on knowing what it’s like to wear the property manager’s shoes.
The company’s President, Doug Miller, says “our experience as actual property management executives means all of our programs and recommendations are based on the fact that we have sat in our clients’ seats.”

In addition to annual resident surveys and Insite, a 365 day/year touchpoint feedback program, SatisFacts offers packages that provide education and consulting services
for its clients, who in turn can use the feedback to make operational adjustments to improve resident experiences, which according to Miller “drives improved retention and online reputations.”

As an Internet Brands company, SatisFacts also has the ability to work directly with its sister brand, ApartmentRatings.com. Through the company’s Verified Resident Program, which displays that the resident has been verified on a review post, SatisFacts has helped clients that opt for the service improve their community scores on the site by an average of 40 percent (www.satisfacts.com).

J Turner Research: J Turner Research is a one-stop shop for multifamily research needs. The company collects research from a variety of surveys to help clients make informed decisions pertaining to marketing campaigns and operations. J Turner’s proprietary Turner Apartment Loyalty Index (TALi), which measures resident satisfaction via a short (about one minute) monthly survey, allows clients to monitor ongoing resident feedback and help identify causes for resident turnover. Additionally, varying levels of resident satisfaction information derived from TALi surveys can be compared, and used to measure a community’s results against established national benchmarks.

On the prospect side, J Turner’s PulseTracker Products gathers information from a short survey that is emailed to prospects after visiting the property. Survey results are available within 24 hours, and short- and long-term reports that feature ratings and rankings of the experiences can be viewed on the client’s online dashboard.

Online reputation management is a growing need in the multifamily industry, and J Turner has recognized the importance of providing a quality assessment of its clients’ online presence with its Online Reputation Assessment (ORA) and Facebook Application. Through the aggregation of online community reviews and data derived from J Turner team members acting as online shoppers, the company can put together an ORA report card that helps clients understand strengths and downfalls in their online presence. The Facebook Application bolsters reputation by pushing actual comments collected from surveys and posting them directly to a property’s Facebook page (www.jturnerresearch.com).

To comment on this story, e-mail Joshua Ayers at jayers@multi-housingnews.com