When presented with a challenging situation, how did Angus MacGyver – the “how did he think of that?!” hero who graced the television sets of millions of Americans in the 1980s – get out of it? With duct tape, a Swiss Army knife, and a piece of bubble gum, of course.
But the real star of “MacGyver” wasn’t actor Richard Dean Anderson: it was the secret agent’s unparalleled resourcefulness. The guy could fix any situation using practical, everyday items.
Whether you’re dealing with a known, complex issue in your community or just want feedback from tenants so that you can stay ahead of the curve, may we submit for your consideration another practical, sometimes overlooked option: the humble survey. Surveys may not be a fancy, new technology, but they can be surprisingly effective if they’re administered well.
So, what are some things to consider if you want to become the MacGyver of mind-blowing tenant surveys?
One important consideration is what ground your survey will cover. If there’s a particular issue facing the community that you want feedback on, this part will be pretty direct. Otherwise, you might consider asking about issues including maintenance and property concerns, relationships and interaction with management, and rental rules and procedures. Make sure that you keep it succinct, though – if it’s too drawn out and looks too time-consuming, tenants may ignore it.
You have a couple of different options when it comes to administering the survey, and it may depend on the personalities and preferences of your community members. Online surveys can be a quick and easy way to communicate (check out SurveyMonkey as one option), though it’s not necessary. A printed hard copy can work just as well, provided that tenants have an easy way to return them to you. Note: Some think that anonymous surveys are the best way to get responses, though having the option of including a name can be beneficial for constructive, continued dialogue with tenants.
Tenants must be able to trust that their input will be considered, otherwise they have no motivation to participate in surveys. This ball is in your court: make sure that you take action and start dialogues with tenants when you get feedback. Show them that it matters!