It’s clear that the Kingsley Survey is an incredibly important tool for owners and managers to assess tenant satisfaction. It’s the industry standard for tenant surveys and delivers a nice view of the prior year and sense of tenant perceptions of the property, service and management.
We also know that location, price, building attributes and property management service are the top criteria for commercial tenants choosing to renew their leases. Ironically, the ONLY thing that property management can control from that list is service. Yet, most organizations only survey tenant health annually – even though it’s so closely tied to renewal rates. A recent study by JLL, The Cost of Losing a Tenant, found that tenant satisfaction survey ratings of “good” or “excellent” resulted in renewal rates of over 70 percent, and that losing a tenant could mean one month lost rent, two years to recover revenue, three months of construction time, and nine months of leasing downtime.
The Kingsley Survey is a terrific tool for assessing the overall satisfaction of your tenants annually, perceptions of property features, and intentions to renew, etc. But when so much is relying on the tenant’s day-to-day perception of the management team, shouldn’t tracking tenant satisfaction encompass a more comprehensive approach?
Ask yourself the following questions:
- How do we know right now if we are hitting our service delivery targets?
- How do our people know how to prioritize tasks each day?
- Which tenants are being under or over serviced?
- Which buildings are performing better than others? And why?
- How satisfied was our tenant with the last work order we completed for them?
You should be able to answer these questions in the moment (or at least know where to go to pull the data). If not, you are operating somewhat blindly. However, you can supplement your annual Kingsley Survey with real-time data from a Performance Management Program and daily tracking of tenant satisfaction with service.
3 REASONS YOU NEED MORE THAN JUST AN ANNUAL SURVEY
There are a few reasons that you should add more data to your arsenal beyond the annual Kingsley Survey.
- The survey typically goes to a single person in a tenant organization – often the office manager or point person for daily communications with the management team. Their survey answers may or may not reflect the experiences of others in the organization, including decision makers when it’s time to renew. You could easily be missing lingering issues that need to be resolved, or even praise that could be a great selling point for your organization!
- Although the results are meant to be reflective of an entire year’s experience, they are often reflective of the way the person is feeling most recently to when the survey is received. It’s human nature.
- While valuable, the survey is a look backward at history. If there are problems that have festered throughout the year, you can only go into repair mode. With data aggregated from throughout the year, you can actually be more proactive and in addition to having a better chance at positively impacting the annual survey results, you can also use the real-time data as a check and balance on the annual results.
ESTABLISHING A PERFORMANCE MANAGEMENT PROGRAM
They are four basic steps to establishing an operations performance management program in your building(s).
- Create Service Standards. This could be as simple as prioritizing your issue types and setting response times for each priority level. i.e. For Priority 1 Issues, we will respond within 15 minutes.
- Measure Actual Performance vs. Those Standards. This gets a little trickier. You will need to establish a way to track actual acknowledgment, arrival and completion times. It helps if your team is already using mobile devices to track and complete work.
- Measure Quality of Service. Provide an easy way for tenants to provide feedback on the service provided (ideally, at any point along the work order life cycle).
- Take Action! Set up notifications and alerts, so you can take action! Not only on missed service delivery goals, but immediately upon receiving negative feedback from a tenant.
THE COST OF WAITING UNTIL IT’S TOO LATE
In the same JLL study mentioned above, they calculate the cost of losing a tenant. In their scenario, a property in the Central Business District in Chicago that loses a tenant would suffer a financial loss of $1.5M. Almost $1M more than the cost of renewing a tenant.
To put this all into perspective, let’s look at a snapshot of a property that uses Performance Management tools with real-time Tenant Satisfaction Tracking, and how that data is used to supplement the Kingsley Survey.
- This property had 700 different tenants give real time feedback! Proof that tenant’s really do want to be heard!
- 94% of the ratings were positive! What a great story to tell prospective tenants and to back up data from the annual Kingsley Report. This year-long data was used to paint a broader, more accurate picture to owners and investors, and to proactively reach out to tenants and “seed” their thought process prior to the Kingsley Survey.
- 3% of the ratings were negative. The property management team at this building was alerted to the 20 negative feedback items in real-time, allowing them to address and resolve the issues immediately – instead of months later. Imagine the cost if just 1 of those 20 tenants with negative feedback didn’t renew? A potential loss of hundreds of thousands in top line revenue!
Bottom line is that with real-time insight, you have a much better chance of delivering stellar service and influencing the Kingsley Survey results over the course of the year, rather than going into pre-survey “hyper service” mode.