On a recent outing with friends, we made the questionable decision to spend some time in a karaoke bar. Being fairly self-aware, we were content to remain silent observers as the acts paraded on and off the stage. While a number of participants were not half bad, many of the less melodic acts seemed the most confident. I marveled at their willingness to stand in front of friends and strangers and be critiqued by all. But, the more I thought about it, weekend karaoke singers aren't the real heroes. No, that goes to the people who are willing not just to put themselves out there, but also to be publicly reviewed by experts. American Idol or The Voice style. To hear the good, bad and ugly truth. The best among them take what they hear and make the necessary adjustments in order to keep improving. They understand that reviews are a major part of what will make them better.
In the multifamily industry we know all about being reviewed. But sadly, we often miss the greatest opportunities waiting to be discovered in the mix. In a recent blog post, Scott Asher suggested that reviews might just be a brilliant way to do market research. He makes a great case. Asher contends, "Communities that actively solicit reviews are ahead of the curve."
We've seen this in our work on properties. Our CARES Teams conduct face to face visits with residents at strategic points in their leasing period in order to gather this type of information. More than a multiple choice survey, the team is able to ask follow up questions that demonstrate the openness of the team to any kind of feedback. But if you're going to pursue that very promising path, you can't count solely on the erratic feedback of the karaoke bar audience. You'll need to put yourself out there and ask for specific feedback.