Anyone for Tennis? – How the UKAA can set the standard for measuring resident satisfaction

By Howard Morgan

Managing Director
RealService

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Can you imagine the chaos before the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club wrote the rules for playing and scoring the game of tennis in 1877?
The UK Apartments Association (UKAA) has the ambitious aim ‘to improve the standards of service that customers (tenants) receive’ in the private rented sector.

For this aim to mean more than words, our industry is going to need to be able to provide credible evidence of progress and to do this we’re going to need to keep accurate score of our service standards.

Ready to serve?

The parallels for our industry with the early days of the game of tennis are strong – we have lots of enthusiastic players but at present each have a different approach to keeping score.

It takes vision for an industry to recognise that a set of rules needs to be drawn up and I believe that the UKAA is perfectly placed to take the lead when it comes to setting the way we score resident satisfaction.

If we want to be taken SECTOR seriously, now is the time to do write those rules.

New balls please!

In many conversations with industry players I have identified a growing recognition that the time is right for our industry to agree an objective set of rules to measure, report and compare the level of resident satisfaction among UK providers.

There’s a great opportunity here for the UKAA to demonstrate leadership and drive through a potentially ground-breaking initiative for our industry.

I envisage a 3 stage approach:

Stage 1 – Consult with UKAA members and engage support for this programme.

Stage 2 – Define a set of objective rules for the measurement of resident satisfaction.

The new UKAA standard would include such matters as:

• Definition of “who is the customer?”
• Questionnaire format and standard question wording
• Key feedback points in customer journey e.g. move in, mid-term, renewal, exit
• Measurement scale
• Interview methodology and frequency
• Independent measurement and verification
• Sharing results with residents

Stage 3 – Agree ground rules for increasing transparency and potentially for the launch of a new UKAA Resident Experience Index.

What’s the Prize money?

There are many positive benefits to such an approach.

For renters

• Renters will be able to make a more informed choice about who they rent with based on trusted evidence

For property providers and managers

• Landlords and property managers will be able to better differentiate their brands and enhance their company reputations

For UKAA

• UKAA will be better able to demonstrate the professionalism and quality of property management service provided by members
• Increased transparency will encourage further investment in the build to rent sector
• Provide positive evidence to defend the reputation of the industry against media criticism and external regulation

Let play commence!

I believe that the UKAA is perfectly placed to take a lesson from the Wimbledon playbook and champion the development of a new set of rules for scoring customer service performance in our industry.

If we do, and we can measure customer service effectively, we can all be like Andy Murray – WINNERS!

About the Author

Howard Morgan is founder and managing director of RealService, a customer experience consultancy and UKAA member, working with some of the UK’s leading build to rent providers.

www.real-service.com