hereSAY’s Build to Rent Mystery Shopping Report

hereSAY’s Build to Rent Mystery Shopping Benchmark Report reveals the highs and lows experienced by the shoppers.

hereSay's Build to Rent Mystery Shopping Benchmark Report 2022/23 | BTR News

hereSAY’s have released their Build to Rent Mystery Shopping Benchmark Report, revealing a drop in customer service, although Build to Rent developments still present high-quality amenities, apartments and communal areas. The fall in customer service was highlighted during the enquiry and viewing stage.

The report covers eight categories including pre-viewing experience, building and apartment presentation, development, final thoughts, viewing experience, brand and marketing, post-viewing experience, incentives and value for money.

Contacting and visiting 50 Build to Rent developments between October 2022 and February 2023, 68% of the professional mystery shopping team rated their experience of contacting the scheme and attempting to book a viewing as ‘poor’ and ‘very poor’. 28% received no response to their enquiry.

However, the presentation of apartments, amenities, and communal areas were the highest rated part of the experience, agreed amongst 88% of the mystery shoppers – an 11% increase on 2021.

The report also reveals that there are schemes that consistently deliver a highest standard in customer service. Across the top ten developments, they achieved a 100% score on quality, cleanliness and tidiness.

For the mystery shoppers that secured a viewing, 53% were addressed by their name during the viewing – 19% down on the 2021 benchmark report. Overall, Build to Rent schemes received the lowest ​score for incentives and value for money – 51% of viewers were not informed that WiFi is included in the rent, 44% were not told about onsite events, and 34% were unaware that maintenance is included. 

“Although Build to Rent remains an extremely attractive proposition, the industry must not rest on its laurels and go back to getting the customer service fundamentals during the lead to lease process on point. If the sector wants to continue to grow at the rate and popularity it has to date, it cannot be seen to shun prospects simply because so many people need somewhere to live.”

“Five years ago, the Build to Rent market had to work hard for its residents, as such the customer service and attention to detail was exemplary. With the ‘race to rent’ demand far exceeding supply, people have less ability to shop around, so the Build to Rent sector hasn’t had to work as hard and unfortunately, we have seen a significant dip in customer service at the enquiry stage.  

Debra Yudolph, Partner at hereSAY           

During viewings, mystery shoppers were also asked if they received any information regarding environmentally friendly, sustainable features or initiatives of the development, such as energy and carbon monitoring, green rent rebates and eco-friendly features. 78% of shoppers were not made aware of these, and 90% were not informed about its role in the building meeting its sustainable objectives.

hereSAY highlights that given the amount of investment put into greener, smarter buildings, these these eco-friendly credentials are not being shared with staff and renters.

“Young people especially are conscious of the environment, and the sector is rightly playing its part using tech and innovation to reduce their carbon footprint. Yet, despite this, it isn’t being communicated to the end user.”

Debra Yudolph, Partner at hereSAY