There are a few key times throughout the year when you should touch base with residents and find out where you can improve, but did you know that one of those is before they even move in? At Catalyst, we recommend surveying your residents at least three times throughout the year to really gain the most information.
Before Move-In Day
Leading up to move-in, start making your residents already feel like part of the community by surveying them on what they would like to get out of the upcoming school year. In addition to helping plan residence life events and activities all year long, this survey shows residents that you care. By asking for resident input before they’ve even stepped foot through the door, you’re putting out the message that their opinion and experience matter.
This survey can also go to parents and guarantors to set their expectations for the type of customer service they can expect while their student lives at your community. Since these are the people that are, the majority of the time, paying rent for their student, it helps to set the tone that your community is prepared to receive their student and provide them the best living environment possible.
After Move-In Day
Although it may seem counterintuitive to survey residents only a few weeks apart, an after-move-in survey is essential. Move-in day can be stressful, and as much as you’ve prepared for things to go off without a hitch, there are inevitably hiccups that can quickly seem like you’re losing control. When you survey residents after move-in, it again shows that you care about their experience, and it can help your operations team immensely. This also allows you to catch any of the little things before they become big things. If a student moves in and notices the sink isn’t draining or a light bulb is burned out, you can take care of it right away as an example of your customer service promise to these new residents. Take all of that feedback and look at the move-in process you have set up at your property — are there improvements you can make that would avoid extra hassles or keep residents from complaining?
Another great reason to survey residents right after they move in is that it can help your reputation. Worst-case scenario: Move-in doesn’t go very smoothly, and you end up with several upset residents. By getting in front of them quickly and asking for their feedback and how you can improve, you may help to repair their first impression of you, and hopefully keep them from ranting on Yelp that you don’t care about them at all.
Right Before Summer
Typically, residents move in around mid-August, and leases run through July. Thinking about it that way, it seems like a really long time to go from August until May before sending out another survey, but this one is just as important as the first two. Residents have now lived at your community for roughly 10 months, and they’ve gotten a full picture of how things run and where they stand in your eyes as a customer. There are a few months left on their lease where you can make improvements and show them that you took their advice to heart, but a lot of residents are around a lot less over the summer. Again, this survey can be a huge help to your operations team to do additional training, if necessary, during these slower months or is a good time to celebrate wins from positive feedback.
How do you use resident feedback to improve your community? Contact Catalyst today to get started on gaining this valuable feedback before it’s too late.