TYS revised their customer satisfaction survey in early 2021. The survey system was based on the fact that, just as before, each tenant takes the survey once per calendar year. The new approach consisted of monthly surveys and 1/12 TYS tenants took each survey so that all housing locations were represented. This way, we figured that we would get information regarding all locations and for the entire year. The new system also enabled tone analysis for free-form feedback.
Customer service and office hours
In the course of the year, about one third of the tenants – 2,185 persons – took the survey. A whopping 97.25 % of them were ready to recommend TYS based on their tenancy experience. The tenants’ willingness to recommend was exceptionally high, and the percentage remained fairly constant throughout the year.
For the entire year, customer service was rated 4.05 on a scale of 1 (poor) – 5 (excellent). Speed seems to be one of TYS strengths, as speed and service speed collected the highest amount of positive feedback in addition to service attitude and service level. The 2021 rating for customer service office hours was 3.68.
Due to the corona pandemic, customer service was provided “through half-closed doors” for almost the whole year. Based on customer feedback, we brainstormed for means of expanding the service provisioning times and enabling personalised services. In late 2021, we implemented an online booking system that lets tenants book a visit at the office in advance. In early 2022 we started using an automated key machine from which tenants and partners can pick up keys regardless of the day and time.
Respondents rated TYS communications as 3.84. Communications took a key role in March last year when Student Village experienced a corona transmission cluster and TYS – together with universities and the City of Turku – tried to make life easier for those exposed and infected during the quarantine.
What tenants really liked about the communications in social media were the housing-related tips and, for example, competitions in Instagram. The TYS tenant bloggers also received positive feedback from the respondents.
Some respondents felt that the apartment application system was slow and cumbersome to use. Unfortunately, the TYS apartment application is not our own implementation and editing applications is possible only within the service provider’s framework. We have started discussions with the service provider to streamline this, but the improvements will take some time.
Apartment condition was rated on average as 3.98. We reviewed the feedback from different locations each month and processed the feedback from tenants in TYS’s property maintenance and tenant service teams. What annoyed the tenants the most was various breakdowns and issues related to apartment temperatures. Again, people were happiest with service speed related to handling of faults and TYS apartments were seen as mostly comfortable in general.
Condition and maintenance of outdoor areas, waste management, and cleaning of shared spaces
Last year, outdoor areas received a rating of 3.66. The happiest tenants lived in Yo-talot, Ispuri, and Kuunsilta. Waste management was rated 4.01. The survey replies provided valuable information about, for instance, waste collection bins filling up too quickly at some locations, and the feedback resulted in emptying the bins more often or ramping up the collection schedules at these locations. We reviewed all feedback together with property maintenance and our cleaning partners and they were informed of the faults the tenants had noticed.
Rent level was the king in these surveys. The average was 4.2 on a scale of 1 (expensive) – 5 (affordable). Tenants appreciated the price-quality ratio of TYS apartments and the fact that many services – such as the internet and sauna – are included in the rent. Once again, the happiest tenants lived in Ispuri and Yo-talot.
Development ideas for TYS
TYS received a wealth of development ideas from tenants. We compiled these and presented them to customer service, property maintenance, and financial services teams for further development.
One recurring theme in the feedback is the free-of-charge use of laundry services. However, the current system is quite functional. For a small fee, tenants can reserve their own slot in the laundry room. We predict that if using the laundry services was completely free, it might quickly lead to people making a lot more bookings, failing to use some of them, and making the use of the room more complicated for everyone. This would ultimately result in there not being enough slots for every tenant. The laundry fee also corresponds well to the principle of ‘those who use it, pay for it’ as some tenants do not use the laundry services at all.
Another common wish is seeing your place in the queue in the apartment application system. TYS has not seem this as feasible, as it would undoubtedly raise even more questions for which there are no answers. People’s placement in the queue is affected by the queue situation of other applicants and any changes applicants make to the form. For example, if a tenant has been queueing up for an internal transfer for a long time, and then adds new targets that are more readily available to their application, they will move up in the queue to a higher place than newer applicants. Also, families with children have priority in the queue compared to those with no children, and in early spring the applicant’s hometown also plays a part. So, if for instance an applicant saw that they have been dropped further down in the queue, TYS would be unable to provide any information that is related to another applicant’s situation which we cannot comment on.
We also managed to make some of the tenants’ wishes come true. One of these involved Student Village having their own gym. In early 2022, we made this happen with the CampusSport gym. Since Three Beers closed, tenants in the Student Village have been hankering for a local restaurant. Now there is one, operating in Tyyssija.
We have changed the tenant survey at the beginning of this year so that one or several locations receive the survey in their turn. This way we can better notify all tenants of the surveys and remind them how important it is to reply. After the survey, the tenants get a summary that provides survey results and the consequent actions taken by TYS.
We have raffled movie tickets or Wolt gift vouchers among all respondents and contacted the winners personally. A warm thanks to all who replied and donated their time to developing TYS!
I wish a sunny and warm summer to all TYS tenants!
Director Customer Relations and Communications
Turku Student Village Foundation