The more and more I think about apartment communities and SaaS companies, the more I realize how alike they actually are. In essence, apartments and SaaS companies provide a subscription service to their residents or clients. We are also focused on defining and improving the Resident Experience (RX) or the Customer Experience. There is also a little event that happens every year that we are both (or should be) keenly aware of – renewal time! Everything we do should be focused on making residents’ experience so good that they don’t even have to think about signing another lease.
How do you effectively track and monitor how happy your residents are leading up to the renewal? One of the tools that SaaS companies are building and using is something called the Customer Happiness Index or CHI. The CHI is a data-driven tool that allows you to take an objective look at your customers and determine how happy they are with the service(s) that you are providing them. It is a tremendously helpful tool that provides you a snapshot into how healthy your relationship is with a client at that point in time. CHI is certainly a tool or principle that apartment communities can borrow and tweak to make their own… so how about a Resident Happiness Index (RHI)?
Now the tough part begins – deciding on what metrics and data you want to include in your RHI. If you’ve already defined your RX, then that’s the best place to start. If you have not yet defined your RX, now is the time to start. Get your team in a room and start talking about all of the important indicators that are going to have an impact on your residents. Two important things to remember when creating your RHI:
- Automate it: The metrics that you include in the RHI need to be data that is recorded automatically. The more complex or in-depth the process of gathering data, the less likely that you will be able to utilize the RHI.
- One size may not fit all: If you are looking to create a RHI for multiple properties, you may find that there are some useful metrics that span multiple properties. However, you need to be sure that you’re not ignoring an important metric because it only applies to a single property. All properties are different and, as a result, your RHI may have to be as well.
Here are some metrics that you may want to include in your RHI:
- Number of Maintenance Requests: The more requests that a resident submits, the more frustrated they may be with your community.
- Resident Tenure: The length of time that a resident has lived at your community can provide insights as to how happy they are with that community.
- Community Engagement: How engaged are your residents at your community? Are they using the amenities that the property offers?
- Referrals: If a resident continues to encourage their friends to live at your community, that must mean they love living there. Right?
- Property Transfer: If a resident ends up moving to another community that you manage or own, this could indicate that they are happy with corporate.
It is important to remember that the RHI is not going to be all-inclusive— it will not always provide you the clearest picture regarding how happy your residents are. There will always be some subjective items that will impact whether or not a resident signs a renewal at your property and you need to be conscious of those items as well. However, the RHI is a great place to start and is an effective tool that provides constant insights into the health of that resident relationship. Is your property or management company already using a RHI or something similar? If so, we would love to hear about it! What are some of the metrics that you are including in the RHI? How are you tracking them? How helpful and/or valuable has the RHI been to your business?