Survey Advantage will exhibit during the annual NAA Convention being held June 28th and 29th in Boston, MA. TenantPulse(TM) for apartment managers will be demonstrated in booth 886. Solutions are available for Yardi, TenantPro and other property management software solutions. TenantPulse helps property managers keep the pulse after the initial move in, after maintenance requests are completed, and as renewals are coming due. The goal of TenantPulse is to help retain tenants, increase NOI, and drive positive reviews to maintain a positive reputation on apartment review and rating sites.
Islander says surveying customers can help companies flourish
BY KEN SHANE
Michael Casey started doing electronic customer surveys for American Power Conversion in 1993, long before the practice was commonplace. But it wasn’t until 2006 that changes in the marketplace led him to shift the emphasis of his own company from leadership and customer service training to surveying work.
Casey was raised in Narragansett, and after graduating from Narragansett High School he got his bachelor’s degree in resource development. From there he went on to the executive MBA program at University of Rhode Island’s Alton Jones Campus.
After leaving American Power Conversion in 2000, Casey started his own company, which was originally called Progressive Leadership. In the next few years he found himself doing more and more customer survey work on behalf of clients and changed the name of his Jamestown company to Survey Advantage to reflect the shift in emphasis.
Survey Advantage is located on Douglas Street in Jamestown. It provides surveying services to clients in a variety of industries including property management, printing, marine services and hospitality. The main focus of the company is on a program called Customer Pulse. This ongoing program surveys customers (or tenants in the case of property management clients) periodically with short surveys after the client company has provided a service or product. The data is then trended over time so that the client can stay on top of it.
“If they have multiple properties or multiple branches, we’ll benchmark each one against the entire entity, and in some cases against the industry,” Casey said. “So they get a very objective view of how they’re performing.”
As an example, Casey cited a new relationship with a company with 135 locations that does sign making. Casey’s company will contact the company’s customers for feedback each time a sign goes out. “We’ll be able to give them a bird’s-eye view of how they’re doing at a corporate level, but then also down in the trenches with their local owner of a small business.”
While Survey Advantage does seek feedback on a single job, more often the surveys are batch processed wherein a client will provide files on a regular basis that contain the information for all the sales during a certain period of time. Casey’s company will then enter that information into the system and send out surveys to all of the customers at one time.
An important aspect of Casey’s work is managing the frequency of each communication. It is important that each customer is not bombarded with surveys. A time span of 90 to 120 days between survey communications is in place for repeat buyers. The concern is that too many contacts will cause the customers to stop responding. This type of frequency management plan is unique to Casey’s company.
“That’s a problem with the whole online surveying industry,” Casey said. “We’re still trying to figure out how much can we ask someone without ticking them off.”
While surveys are still conducted using paper cards, or through an Internet link provided to customers, the biggest and fastest response by far is to the email surveys. Approximately 30 percent of customers respond, which is well ahead of the other methods.
“The key to it [is that] they’re short, and for the person taking it it’s fast,” Casey said. “With paper there’s an extra step or two, and that hurts your response rate, and the time to get it back.”
Market Pulse is the name of a program employed by Survey Advantage on a project basis, rather than the ongoing work involved in Customer Pulse. Right now the company is conducting an annual survey for customers of the Fortune 500 company, Unilever. The results of these surveys are used by the client company or trade organization as a strategic planning tool.
Casey expects his company to focus more on the Customer Pulse aspect of his company in the future. “It’s an ongoing model,” he said. “It’s low cost, so we can help small business owners, which I love doing. I think anybody should be surveying their customers. You don’t have to be a Fortune 500 company.”
Casey said that it’s “very transactional,” so if there is a problem with a customer, the company can react within minutes of getting the survey.
The expanded focus on the ongoing Customer Pulse effort is due to the fact that the Market Pulse projects tend to be large, and can be overly time consuming for a two-person office like Casey’s. Casey expects to continue to ramp up the company’s efforts in the property management sector because keeping tenants happy in the present environment is more important than ever.
“There’s a huge opportunity in tenant retention,” Casey said. “If someone moves out of an apartment, it costs that property manager $3,000 to $4,000. You lose a month’s rent, and you have to paint the apartment, do maintenance on it, and market it. Sometimes you have to give a concession to get someone in there. When you add all that up, it’s expensive and it hits their bottom line.” (Link)
On May 21st, 2012, President Michael Casey will start off the EPMS User Conference to be held in New Orleans, LA. The presentation will focus on how EPMS software users can now set up a continuous customer feedback process to preserve recurring job revenues, retain more customers, build loyalty, and generate leads. EPMS and Survey Advantage co-developed a process enabling users to automate the customer feedback process to be timely and convenient for print buyers. The conference runs May 21-23. Click here to view all details.
ProBoat Radio Host B.J. Walsh interviews Survey Advantage President on Best Practice Customer Feedback Processes
Listen to the MP3 or read the summary. Today more than ever boatyards, marinas, marine manufacturers, and service businesses need to stay connected with their customers. Leveraging today’s technology and setting up a continuous process makes it easy and inexpensive to do. Mike Casey shares best practice techniques with the boating community during this recorded 30 minute interview on ProBoat Radio host B.J. Walsh. To read the summary and key points click here
To listen to the recorded conversation or download the .mp3 file click here
Mining data to clients’ advantage
By Patrick Anderson
PBN Staff Writer
The inspiration behind Survey Advantage, a growing survey and market-research company in Jamestown, was born out of crisis – thousands of surge protectors catching on fire 18 years ago.
At the time, Survey Advantage President and founder Michael Casey was running the help call center at American Power Conversion in South Kingstown when some of the electrical manufacturer’s surge protectors began to fail, triggering a major recall.
“We were selling product left and right, but woke up one morning with a quality problem and then a stock problem,” Casey said. “I was managing the call center at the time and we did not have a good system. Hundreds of people were making calls and management didn’t know what to do. We became believers in developing a better real-time system.”
After the experience, APC developed an electronic survey system to monitor product quality and began sorting and tracking call data so that, when future problems arose, the company would know about them before they reached the crisis point.
“We got to where we could track things before they got out of control,” Casey said.
Long after Casey left APC to start his own company, the lessons learned during those anxious days of the 1993 recall are at the heart of what Survey Advantage provides to clients.
Founded in 2000, Survey Advantage provides tailored feedback, market research and data for businesses ranging from marinas, to manufacturers, printers and property managers.
In the case of property management, the sector Casey sees the greatest growth potential in now, Survey Advantage plugs directly into clients’ computer systems. Whenever a tenant moves out or makes a service call they are surveyed about their experience.
The surveys, which take about a minute to complete, are usually done by e-mail and never by telephone, which Casey said those being surveyed find “annoying.”
If there is a serious complaint or a negative review, a notice goes out to the property manager immediately. The rest of the data is used to provide a detailed analytical picture of where the property manager stands in relation to his tenants.
“Right now in property management, there’s a lot of winging it going on with many getting little to no feedback,” Casey said. “When you look at statistics that show for each tenant that does not renew, it costs an average of $4,000 for the landlord in lost revenue, that’s a lot of money if you found out that it was something that, if you had known, you could have fixed.”
Survey Advantage also uses the data to create industry benchmarks for customer or tenant loyalty, so a client using the system can see exactly where they stand compared to their competitors.
For example, in printing, during the third quarter of this year, Survey Advantage reported that, on average, 81 percent of customers surveyed for all companies said they were very likely to recommend the printer to someone else. The highest-scoring printer reached 99 percent.
While Casey declined to discuss specific sales figures, he said Survey Advantage has been growing between 30 and 40 percent on average over the last four years.
Now Casey said Survey Advantage is systematically looking for new industries where the company’s computer systems and survey models could be efficiently scaled up.
“Our strategy is to start working with local companies to achieve a critical mass and then we get introduced to a national company and go from there,” Casey said.
Current clients include Fielding Manufacturing of Cranston, Mustang Survival of Canada and Liberty Sport in New Jersey.
In property management, Survey Advantage’s clients include Picerne Real Estate Group and MPM Property Management in Providence, which credits Survey Advantage with helping maintain a 90 percent occupancy rate in its buildings.
“We chose to partner with Survey Advantage to help develop a feedback process with a high response rate to capture constructive input on where and how we could improve,” said MPM CEO John Macliver in a statement.
Even as his company grows, Casey said he does not want to expand too fast or move too quickly into new industries.To stay focused on its core strengths, Survey Advantage outsources most of its marketing, human resources, sales and other functions.
As for the future, Casey said he sees a business with strong local ties, but an international reach.
“We want to export out of Rhode Island,” Casey said. “We are doing our best to start local and move beyond.” •
From the Nov 21, 2011 edition of Providence Business News
Do you know how loyal each customer is? Do you have an early warning system to know when a boating customer is looking for a new marina or service provider? Do you just have a gut feel that you are doing great? This is a dangerous assumption. Things change fast and don’t wake up and find you lost a customer.
Five things you may want to consider when setting up an effective boater feedback process:
1) Make it painless for both you and the customer. Short, timely, to the point, easy to take surveys. Boaters want five or six questions. No more. Nowadays people want convenience. Online surveys take 30 seconds if designed right. Go online.
2) Leverage your reservation or service management software. Contact and invoice information is all there. Use it for timely feedback real time. It should take less than a minute to get the boater’s emails.
3) Make it a process, not an event. Survey close to when boatyard service is complete or the transient stay, but don’t over survey. New and sporadic buying customers within 30 days of order, repeat customers no more than every 90 days. Too much of a good thing kills response rates and relationships. You can ask one marketing question, but no more. Ask what they buy elsewhere. They will tell you and then you can expand client share.
4) Shoot for a 25 to 30% response rate. If done right you will hit that. Monitor response rates, product and service quality, and loyalty. Review the info in team meetings.
5) Do something with the data. The boater gave you a gift by sharing. Cherish it and thank them by following up on leads and correcting problems. The best run marine service providers have a process for this.
Good luck in retaining customers by trolling for continuous feedback, staying paranoid, and doing something with the information gathered.
Survey Advantage released their Print Buyer Satisfaction Benchmarks for the third quarter ending September 30th, 2011. Top performing printers (top third) achieved over 86% loyalty, average performers 76% to 85%, and poor performers under 76%. The industry average remained the same at 81%. Results were calculated from over 9,400 print buyers evaluating recent performance of the printers who serve them. Congratulations to “The Print Shop for achieving the best overall loyalty rating. 99% of their customers stated they were “Very Likely” to recommend them to colleagues and friends based on their third quarter performance. Warren Miller’s team has always been in the top 25%, but finally took top honors.
Independent Commercial Category: The Print Shop– Wisconsin Rapids, WI– Warren Miller
Allegra Network Category: Allegra P&I– Glendale Heights, IL– Gary Blaski
Franchise Services:– Sir Speedy– Haverton, PA– Michael Brown
AlphaGraphics:– AlphaGraphics– Franklin, TN– Lisa & Mark Welsh
CPrint:– BayPrint– St. Petersburg, FL– Al Karnavicius
Each quarter thousands of print buyer opinions are gathered to measure their satisfaction with recent performance of printers who serve them. The benchmark is a compilation of all feedback gathered for printers participating in CustomerPulse™. The feedback is published to help participating printers benchmark performance and react quickly to customer feedback. Results are segmented by brand, size, and other classifications. The PBSI™ is the most comprehensive measure of print buyer loyalty and printer performance available in the printing industry.
The process is designed to help any size printer with prices starting at $49/month. The vision of the PBSI™ is to improve industry performance through reliable real-time buyer satisfaction benchmarking. Visit www.surveyadvantage.com/printers for case studies and program details.
Survey Advantage announced today that it has joined IREM,Greater Rhode Island Chapter 88, as a “Friend” of the organization. IREM, which serves the professional needs of real estate management professionals and property managers, allows vendors with unique, valuable offerings to join as Friends to give them direct exposure to IREM members.
Survey Advantage recently expanded its property management offerings with the release of its latest product, TenantPulse™. A tenant feedback and benchmark service, TenantPulse™ is a fully-automated, continuous process designed to gauge tenant satisfaction and provide property owners and managers with detailed reporting on opportunities for improvement.
“We’re thrilled to partner with Chapter 88 and offer property owners and managers in today’s economy an easy, cost-effective way to improve their occupancy and retention rates,” said Mike Casey, President of Survey Advantage. “It costs an average of $4,000 to get a property ready for another tenant. We can help owners and managers avoid that expense by understanding tenant needs and how the property can best address them. Often, there are simple issues the owner is unaware of because busy tenants don’t bring the problems to their attention. Our TenantPulse™ solution is a convenient and anonymous way for tenants to share their input so management can make needed improvements.”
Greater Rhode Island Chapter 88 has over 170 members who take part in regular networking and educational opportunities. Many participants have attempted to solicit tenant feedback previously utilizing do-it-yourself solutions or paper surveys. Survey Advantage’s automated process leverages property management software like Yardi and Tenant Pro to eliminate the administrative burden, enable benchmarking of performance and identify goals for improvement.
“We’ve been offering feedback process solutions since 2001 for a variety of industries. But after recognizing the need among property managers to drive their occupancy and retention rates, we knew our proven process could add value to this market. It’s a win-win for both Chapter 88 members and Survey Advantage.”
“We’re happy to have Survey Advantage as part of the IREM family,” said Richard Hitt, President of IREM Chapter 88 . “They bring a unique perspective and approach to solving occupancy issues in today’s economy. We’re always looking for creative solutions to help our membership and TenantPulse™ is something we’re all eager to learn more about.”
Survey Advantage announced today that Providence-based MPM Properties has retained the company for a customized tenant feedback process. Since 1988, MPM has been providing property, construction and parking facilities management to over 2.5 million square feet of property across southern New England, including One Citizen’s Plaza in Providence, Rhode Island. To maintain high occupancy rates, Survey Advantage designed a semi-annual email-based survey to solicit anonymous feedback from current tenants on issues such as the appearance and condition of the buildings, amenities and services, the performance of the property management team and maintenance.
Forty-two percent of tenants and owners responded to the first survey, who helped MPM identify its top strengths, weaknesses, threats and opportunities. MPM shared the results with property owners and then met with certain tenants where applicable to review their suggestions.
“Over the past decade, we’ve experienced increasing competition from large firms with national, multi-property operations, and knew we had to be proactive in meeting tenant expectations to ensure their continued occupancy” said CEO John Macliver. “We chose to partner with Survey Advantage to help us develop a feedback process with a high response rate to capture constructive input on where and how we could improve. The results have been instrumental in helping us maintain more than 90 percent occupancy at our properties.”
“We’re proud to help MPM maintain their position in the market,” said Mike Casey, President of Survey Advantage. “With double-digit commercial vacancy rates today, tenant retention is critical. MPM wanted to ensure its services and facilities were in line with tenant expectations, and the only way to find out is to ask. With our ongoing feedback process, owners know where and how to invest to make sure leases get renewed every year.”
Visit www.surveyadvantage.com/iremri for details.
Survey Advantage will speak on November 4th, 2011 in Schaumburg, IL to educate production managers on the importance of gathering and using customer feedback as a roadmap to product and service quality. Topics will include How to capture timely customer feedback after jobs are delivered, How to leverage invoice and shipping information in Printer’s Plan, Printsmith, PrintLEADER, and others to streamline the surveying process, and How to bring customer feedback to their production team to help set more customer centered improvement goals. This 45 minute session will cover everything needed to setup and manage an ongoing customer feedback process by leveraging technology and customer data within the organization.
The CPrint Summit will be on November 3, 4, and 5th. Please contact CPrint International for Details.