Annual condo surveys

Date Published : Feb-02-2022

Written By : Kim Brown

Effective leaders understand the importance of making data-driven decisions. Instead of guessing how to proceed with a plan or how to make something better, they use numbers and feedback to make fact-based choices. Some condo corporations and associations are taking this approach to improve operations and resident satisfaction. Annual condo surveys are an integral part of that strategy.   

    

Download our free condo survey template

    

The thought of processing feedback from hundreds or thousands of residents can be a bit daunting. Thankfully, there are user-friendly programs that will do all the hard work for you. Read on to learn more about annual condo surveys and how to create surveys that will provide value to your corporation.   

    

Condo surveys give residents an opportunity to share good and bad experiences

Surveys allow residents to address things that they probably wouldn’t bring up at a board meeting. For example, if there is a section about condo staff, they may explain how thankful they are to have such a helpful concierge team. On the other hand, they may have a very good reason why the building should seriously consider introducing online payments.

It’s important to note that surveys are not the same as voting. Just because a resident brings something up doesn’t mean it will be addressed. However, it does give people a place to express their thoughts and feelings,  thus making it easier for boards and management to identify issues of concern. 

    

Types of surveys

There are multiple types of surveys; the format you select will influence the type of information you receive. As such, boards and management are encouraged to discuss what kind of data they want from the annual surveys first. Are you looking strictly for numbers, or are attitudes also important? Once the goals are clear, you can begin to work on the questions.  

    

Multiple choice questions

Multiple choice questions allow respondents to select one or more options from a list of answers. They are intuitive and easy for residents to complete. They can submit these types of surveys from a phone or computer. Because of the select number of fixed answers available, it’s easier to analyze and use the responses.

    

Rating scales

In rating scale surveys, the questions display a scale of answer options from any range. The respondent selects the number or sentiment that most accurately represents their response to the question.

Net Promoter Score (NPS) questions are a good example of rating scale questions. They use a scale to gauge how likely clients are to recommend a company’s products or services.

In this case, an NPS survey could be distributed to see how likely residents are to recommend the condominium to their family members or friends. “1” would mean the respondent would not recommend the condo, while “10”  means they would definitely recommend the condo. If very few people indicate that they would recommend the corporation, that’s a big warning that changes need to be made. 

It’s important to give participants context when releasing a rating scale survey. Ensure to include values for numbers on your scales.

    

Likert scales

Likert scale surveys contain “do you agree or disagree” questions. They are used to gauge respondents’ opinions and feelings. Likert scale questions give participants a range of options – they work well if you’re looking for specific feedback.

    

Open-ended questions

Open-ended survey questions require respondents to write out their answers. They do not provide answer options, but do allow participants to share virtually anything with the person or group reviewing the survey. Responses are then viewed either manually or by text analysis tools.

When it comes to harnessing data, open-ended questions aren’t the best way to go. It’s not easy to quantify written answers. However, allowing residents to offer feedback in their own words can help the board uncover things that it would have otherwise overlooked.

It is possible to pair closed-ended questions with open-ended questions so that you get qualitative and quantitative information.

    

How to distribute and process surveys

One of the trickiest things about surveys is getting people to complete them. Many residents will not take the time to fill out a questionnaire, even if it’s short. To encourage participation, keep surveys as short as possible, and give residents the option to complete a physical or digital survey. It also helps if residents know that their answers will remain anonymous.

    

 Mail-in surveys

Mail-in surveys are left in residents’ mailboxes or dropped off at their doors. While many people would prefer to fill out a digital survey, that’s not true for all communities. And, since these surveys are going to a specific name and address, they may feel more personalized. This personalization can prompt a resident to complete the survey. 

Mail-in surveys are also good when there are a lot of questions to answer. Residents can complete them at their leisure instead of feeling obligated to finish everything all in one sitting.

    

Digital surveys

Technology has become quite significant when it comes to surveys. There are platforms like Survey Monkey and Google Forms that have made it their top priority to help clients collect data with ease and simplicity.

Some condos are also turning to survey technology available through their condo management software. Condo Control, for example, has a survey feature that allows the board or management to create custom surveys. Since residents are already registered on the system, sending these surveys out is drastically easier. Best of all, it organizes results for you so that you can spend more time applying the data instead of trying to make sense of it. In fact, we’ve found that management saves an average of 4 hours per survey using Condo Control

    

Using survey results


Many of the decisions boards make are subjective to personal observations and experiences. So, gathering insights and suggestions from residents gives corporations additional insights into what the community values, likes and wants to see improved.

Engaging residents and asking them questions may end up creating stronger support for the board and its decisions. If results aren’t overwhelmingly positive, don’t be discouraged! Use the feedback to create a strategy that will address shortcomings.

On a final note, it’s important to measure progress, which means asking the same questions and tracking how results change year-over-year. This consistency will help the board determine whether their actions are having a positive, neutral or negative impact on the community.

    

Surveys aren’t perfect, but they can point corporations in the right direction

Surveys do have their shortcomings. They can be biased or may lead participants depending on the questions asked versus the questions that are left out of the survey.

How the questions are asked can also influence the answers provided. The respondents will also impact the information boards and managers receive. Those that are very happy, or very unhappy, are more likely to return surveys than those who have had an average experience.

Below are some tips to help you create neutral surveys and collect more data from eligible respondents.

    

Tips for collecting useful feedback

  • Spend time creating thoughtful questions and have fellow board members vet them before sending them to residents
  • Avoid leading or confusing questions
  • Annual surveys should have the same questions each year to ensure the results are comparable
  • Consider whether it’s worth it to get independent support to help make and process surveys. An independent, third-party company can underscore trust and address concerns from residents or stakeholders
  • Ask mobile-friendly questions. Keep survey formatting simple and avoid using progress bars or images (they take up valuable space on small screens)

    

Conclusion

Even imperfect methods that engage residents achieve better outcomes than using just the opinions of the board. Consider distributing an annual survey to your residents.

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