Best practices and timely tips to improve survey participation and inform your decision-making.
In the wise words of author Conan Doyle, while writing as Sherlock Holmes, “It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data.”
And therein lies the benefit and power of surveys. When you have the right survey tools to capture insightful data for informed decision-making, you move beyond assumptions and hypothesized conclusions. For
For those in the multifamily space, the value of resident surveys in gathering critical feedback can’t be overstated, as they can be used to assess satisfaction in a whole host of areas, including community amenities, services, and management.
However, getting residents to participate in surveys can be a challenge, and there is a fine line you walk to avoid survey fatigue. Thankfully, there are some best practices for improving survey response rates.
Best Practices for Improving Survey Response Rates
- Promote your survey early and often.
Simply put, the more residents who know about your survey, the more likely they will participate. Optimizing participation, though, requires expanding your communication efforts.
If you rely on one communication channel for survey promotion, you likely will be disappointed in your participation rates. Today, you must use a variety of channels to promote your survey program, including:
- Social media
- Resident newsletters
- Community bulletin boards
- In-person events
People utilize a plethora of mediums to stay informed and gather information. By tapping into various communication sources, you increase your chances that residents will be aware of your survey program and respond to your surveys when they see the invite.
- Make your survey easy to complete.
The shorter and simpler your survey is, the more likely residents are to complete it. At Grace Hill, we keep survey questions clear and concise and avoid asking for too much personal information.
Consider adding text/SMS surveys that allow residents to complete the survey on their mobile devices with a mobile-friendly interface.
People generally are happy to share their feedback, but if your survey is hard to navigate and time-consuming, you can be certain it will be quickly abandoned or deleted.
- Offer incentives for participation.
The average survey response rate is 10%-30%, depending on audience engagement.
Sometimes even the most well-timed and expertly crafted surveys don’t produce the desired participation response you need or want. That’s where offering participation incentives can deliver a win.
While it may seem insignificant, offering a small incentive — anything from a gift card to a chance to win a prize — can greatly encourage residents to participate in your survey.
- Follow up with non-respondents.
Life happens. People get busy. If a resident doesn’t respond to a survey, it’s likely that it just slipped from their “To Do” list, as opposed to consciously ignoring it.
Gentle reminders and follow-ups are often appreciated.
With a survey program like KingsleySurveys by Grace Hill, you can rest assured knowing your residents will automatically receive two reminders before the survey closes. With that in mind, if you still don’t receive a response from a resident, send them a more personalized follow-up email or letter. Remind them of the importance of their feedback and offer to answer any questions they may have.
- Share the results of your survey.
Once you’ve collected your survey results, share them with the community. It’s a simple step that helps build trust and show residents that their feedback is valued.
You can share the results in a variety of ways. The following are a few suggestions:
- Community meeting
- Blog post
- Social media post
By following these best practices, you increase the likelihood that residents will participate in your surveys, giving you valuable feedback to improve your community.
6 Tips To Improve Your Surveys
While improving your survey response rates hinges on a host of factors, there are things you can begin doing today that will encourage participation and engagement.
In addition to the above best practices, implement the tips below to help improve your survey response rates:
- Personalize your survey.
Address residents by name and use language that is relevant to their interests. Because people are bombarded by messaging, adding a personalized touch to your surveys helps them stand out in a crowded and noisy inbox.
- Make your survey timely.
Send your survey out when residents are likely to be thinking about the topics you are asking about. Surveys, such as move-in, move-out, maintenance, and more, need to be sent soon after the event while the information remains fresh on the resident’s mind.
Implementing a timely cadence for survey delivery provides more impactful responses, giving you more accurate insight into resident satisfaction (or dissatisfaction) and a better gauge of what is working and what needs improvement.
- Make your survey relevant.
Don’t get lost in the weeds. It can be tempting to have a “one and done” mindset, believing that people prefer a single survey to several.
But that’s not the path to success. It’s important only to ask questions that are important to residents, and most of the time, that includes a laser focus on the resident journey and the sum of their experiences.
- Make your survey easy to understand.
Creating confusing or unclear surveys is a common pitfall. Industry insiders often forget that the terminology and acronyms they use daily don’t always translate clearly to the general public. It’s important to use clear and concise language and avoid jargon, even if you think certain phrases hold universal understanding.
But crafting surveys that are easy to understand also depends on your ability to write well-constructed sentences with an eye on grammar and spelling. Writing survey language with clarity is both an art and a science and often compels multifamily leaders to partner with survey experts for help.
- Thank residents for their participation.
It should go without saying, but it’s too often an overlooked step. Resident feedback from surveys gives you reliable data to make impactful decisions about your property. It helps you improve both your property and performance.
So, by all means, say thank you, and let residents know that their feedback is appreciated. It’s a simple step that goes a long way. When people feel valued, it builds loyalty and trust, two critical markers for success.
By following these timely tips and industry best practices, you can increase the likelihood that residents will participate in your survey and give their honest feedback. After all, their feedback is critical to prioritizing your property improvement projects, amenities, and community activities!
KingsleySurveys offers comprehensive survey programs that have proven to increase property performance and NOI for multifamily and commercial real estate organizations. We take the hard part out of designing surveys off your team and provide the tools to monitor your survey results and compare them to trusted industry benchmarks.
Contact Grace Hill today to get started on your next resident survey!