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Wish on a starby Doug Miller, SatisFacts

What residents want and don’t want is often the answer to why they renew their lease or choose to move. It seems so simple, yet resident turnover rates can often be a challenge. So what is the magic ingredient? The answer could surprise you.

Doug Miller, founder and president of SatisFacts, the industry’s resident satisfaction research authority, shares some powerful data and insight. Having worked with over one million units nationally, Doug has extensive experience and stats. Many of Doug’s clients include NMHC top 50 firms.

Our research with residents from over one million apartments nationwide shows the majority of turnover is controllable and that office staff performance in delivering service plays the primary role in renewal decisions. Focusing on what really matters to residents drives satisfaction, retention and NOI. With move-outs costing $3,000-$6,000, controllable turnover cannot be overlooked. A 300 unit property reducing turnover 10% will grow NOI by $90,000-$180,000!

SatisFacts conducted an analysis to evaluate what has the strongest impact on renewal likelihood.

What do residents want?

Nothing impacts the renewal likelihood more than how service requests are handled. And the work order process begins and ends with the office, not maintenance, staff. How work orders are handled by the office and their communications with residents regarding such have a strong, and the strongest, relationship with retention.

The four items with the greatest impact on renewal likelihood, and seven of the top eight, relate to the office staff. Notable is that the top five items all rated as having up to a strong relationship with renewal likelihood; items 9-15 all related to bricks and mortar issues and all had a “moderate” relationship with likelihood. The implications are clear.

The top eight items, in rank order, are: promptly responding to calls, emails; office follow up on completed requests; office staff responsive, dependable; office staff courteous, professional; apartment condition, appearance; community safety; quality of maintenance work; speed of handling the request.

Residents might not notice a “job well done,” but they certainly remember negative experiences. Thus, the goal must be to minimize dissatisfactionand when a bad experience occurs, to rise to the occasion and deliver a “remarkable recovery.”

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