Management and operations

How to write a tenant satisfaction survey in 7 steps

Learn how to create a comprehensive tenant satisfaction survey in just seven simple steps. Our guide covers everything you need to know, from crafting effective questions to analyzing the results. Improve your property management skills and boost tenant satisfaction today!

“I can’t get no satisfaction,” Mick Jagger once said.

When it comes to your tenant experience however, that’s simply not true. Tenants can get a lot of satisfaction from your properties.

Tenant satisfaction is determined by the kind of experience you provide them. But how are you supposed to know what your tenants think, and how best to meet their needs, if you don’t ask them?

That’s why we have tenant satisfaction surveys. They can provide valuable insights into what your tenants like and dislike about your properties, and can help you identify areas for improvement.

In this post, we’ll explore how to write a tenant satisfaction survey that helps you deliver the kind of tenant experience that keeps your tenants around.

1. Determine your goals

Before you start writing your survey, it's important to determine what you want to learn from your tenants. 

You might want to gauge the general mood on your properties. Are tenants happy, how do they feel about their neighbours?

You could also use a tenant satisfaction survey to identify blindspots in customer service. There could be something affecting tenant satisfaction that you’re not aware of, like how property managers handle maintenance requests or deal with tenant complaints.

Tenant surveys are also a good way to figure out what’s missing from the tenants' experience. Are tenants making use of the amenities you currently provide? What amenities could you introduce to drive up retention?

Knowing your goals beforehand will help you design the survey and come up with questions. 

2. Design your survey

Next up, design the survey. It needn’t be a finished product, but it should give you an idea of what kind of survey it will be and how your tenants will interact with it.

There are many survey platforms out there, like SurveyMonkey, Google Forms and TypeForm. But if you’re using a tenant experience app, you can run surveys in a fast and easy way on the platform you’re already using for tenant communication.

With Chainels, for example, you can create a survey using the app’s messaging feature. You can choose what kind of questions to ask, whether they’re multiple choice, open questions, file upload requests or simply a star rating. This way, you can draw a broad variety of information from tenants.

You can also select which tenants to send the survey to. This is a great feature if you’re managing mixed use assets.
For example, you can gauge the satisfaction of your office tenants separately from that of your retail tenants, since the experience may vary slightly and require different questions.

Start sending tenant surveys with Chainels
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3. Keep it concise

According to SurveyMonkey, the average response rate for online customer satisfaction surveys is around 33%. But that can vary, and you can bet on a lower response rate if your tenant satisfaction survey takes up too much of the respondent's time.

After all, they’re taking time out of their day to provide valuable feedback, so make sure that you’re not taking liberties!

Tenant satisfaction surveys should be concise and to the point. Aim for around 10-15 questions, and avoid asking questions that are too complex or too personal. Keep in mind that the shorter the survey, the more likely tenants will be to complete it.

4. Use multiple choice questions

Multiple choice questions provide standardised response options that all respondents must choose from, making it easier to collect and analyse data that’s more consistent and objective.

Moreover, they allow for ease of response. They’re typically quick and easy to answer, requiring less cognitive effort from respondents compared to open-ended questions that require them to formulate their own answers.

Because the response options are predetermined, multiple choice questions can help reduce ambiguity and provide more precise data.

They’re generally perceived as less intimidating and time-consuming than their open-ended counterparts, leading to higher response rates and reduced survey abandonment.

But that’s not to say that multiple choice questions don’t come with certain limitations.

They may not provide enough flexibility for respondents to fully express their thoughts or feelings, and they may not capture the nuances or complexities of certain topics. Therefore, a combination of multiple choice and open-ended questions may be necessary to gather a complete picture of respondents' attitudes, behaviours, and experiences.

5. Include open-ended questions

Open-ended questions allow tenants to provide specific feedback and give you a better understanding of their opinions. Consider including a few open-ended questions, such as "What do you like most about living in your current unit?" or "What could we improve on?"

Questions like this provide rich data by allowing respondents to answer in their own words. This can provide more detailed and nuanced information than closed-ended questions that limit responses to predetermined options.

Open ended questions also allow you to better understand responses by providing additional context. Moreover, they can reveal insights you might not have anticipated.

Part of providing a great tenant experience involves giving tenants a voice. Open-ended questions give respondents the opportunity to express themselves in their own words and provide feedback that they may not have been able to share through closed-ended questions.

6. Provide anonymity

When it comes to client feedback, honesty is truly the best policy. That’s why anonymity is great for surveys—it takes away the burden of accountability and can elicit more honest feedback.

One reason for this is a phenomenon called social desirability bias. That is, respondents may answer in a way that they believe is socially acceptable and reflects well on them, rather than how they really feel. Anonymity reduces this, since most respondents feel more comfortable expressing their true opinions without fear of judgement or backlash.

With their identity hidden, tenants are more likely to vent their true feelings, for better or worse (usually for worse). And that’s not a bad thing. How are you ever going to improve the tenant experience if you don’t know where you’re going wrong? Bad feedback is an opportunity to learn and improve.

6. Send the survey

After you’ve written your survey, send it to your tenants. You can send it via email, mail, a survey platform or through a tenant experience app. Consider offering incentives to encourage participation, such as a chance to win a prize.

7. Analyze and act on the results

After you've collected the survey results, it's important to analyze the data and identify any trends or patterns. Use the insights to make improvements to your properties and to enhance the overall tenant experience.

Go forth and survey

By following these steps, you can write a comprehensive and effective tenant satisfaction survey. With the information you gather, you can make informed decisions to improve your properties and enhance the tenant experience.

Remember to keep the survey concise, use multiple choice and open-ended questions, provide anonymity, and act on the results to show your tenants that you value their opinions.

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