Fourth Quarter 2022 Benchmark Results for Mystery Shops and Resident Surveys Executive Summary

Since 1984, Ellis, Partners in Management Solutions has specialized in helping our customers achieve their business goals. We are pleased to offer a turn-key integrated customer experience program, backed by our outstanding customer service, cutting-edge technology, and longstanding ethical business practices. Our apartment mystery shops, resident surveys, live training, and e-learning and policies and procedures partner (Edge2Learn) are resources that can be used together or independently to address specific needs or jointly for ongoing employee performance optimization. Our goal is to help you achieve yours.

2022 is officially in the books, and 2023 by all signs signifies a new ‘start’ – or restart – for many. Some offices are just now re-opening fully, others remain mostly a hybrid mix, but business is on the upswing across multifamily. As we focused through the year on building (and re-building) the best customer experience and how employee engagement plays a major part in this, there’s yet one additional component in the process: personalized sales. One thing we quickly discovered as we made our way through and past the Pandemic was that limited resources paved the way for changes in the customer’s experience. Whether it is implementation of AI, tour options limited to self-guided only, inadequate staff to cover property operating hours, the result was we had less touch with the customer. And that led remarkably fast to lack of personalization in the prospect and customer experience. Later in this letter we discuss the importance of personalization in conversions and retention of customers.


Mystery Shops

Ellis benchmarks apartment mystery shop performance on the 10 key Benchmark questions and the Customer Experience. Companies can qualify for platinum, gold, silver, or bronze level based on their company’s overall Benchmark score for the quarter.

In 2021, the overall average Ellis Traditional Multifamily Industry Benchmark score across Ellis’ entire database of eligible shops was 81%. Third Quarter 2022 dropped slightly to 80%, and the average climbed to 82% for Fourth Quarter 2022. In response to industry needs during the pandemic and customer demands, we introduced the Ellis Virtual Leasing Multifamily Industry Benchmark in Second Quarter 2020 based on nearly identical 10 key Benchmark questions. In 2021, the average Ellis Virtual Leasing Multifamily Industry Benchmark score was 64%. The average had markedly declined in Third Quarter 2022 to 58%. On a more positive note, the Ellis Virtual Leasing Multifamily Industry Benchmark for Fourth Quarter 2022 improved to 66%. The Ellis Customer Experience Benchmark was 3.7 for Fourth Quarter 2022, gaining a small margin over Third Quarter 2022 but mostly remaining steady over recent years.

As we compare similar questions on Ellis Traditional Multifamily Industry Benchmark to the Ellis Virtual Leasing Multifamily Industry Benchmark scores, we can see the areas which are more consistent in delivery and areas that can be improved.

Mystery Shops Overall Average Performance


Ellis wishes to congratulate the companies below for their Ellis Shopping Benchmark performance for Fourth Quarter 2022.

Tier 1 (70 or more completed shops)      

Ellis Customer Experience Benchmark – Gold Level Achievers

  • American Landmark
  • Wood {Partners

Tier 2 (30-69 completed shops)      

Ellis Traditional Benchmark – Platinum Level Achievers

  • IMT Residential

Ellis Customer Experience Benchmark – Gold Level Achievers

  • Abbey Residential
  • Flaherty & Collins
  • Continental Properties
  • IMT Residential
  • Quarterra
  • RangeWater
  • Richman Property Services, Inc.
  • TA Realty
  • Wood Partners

Companies are listed in alphabetical order

Resident Surveys

The Ellis Loyalty Benchmark identifies and recognizes the customer experience performance of companies subscribed to the Ellis Resident Surveys Program. It evaluates performance on 5 key touchpoints of the prospect and resident journey. The percentage of surveys responded to by the onsite team and the average number of days it took for the team to respond are also measured because these two factors impact the customer relationship and overall loyalty. Utilizing customer loyalty as a metric allows customer-centric companies the ability to forecast three specific customer behaviors: likelihood to convert/renew, willingness to pay more, and likelihood to recommend.

The overall average Ellis Loyalty Benchmark score in 2021 was 76%. Third Quarter 2022 rose slimly to 77% and improved again to 78% for Fourth Quarter 2022. In 2021, the onsite response rate averaged 88%, falling to 84% in Second and Third Quarters 2022, and remaining at 84% during Fourth Quarter 2022. The average response time in 2021 was 5.4 days, showing a slight improvement to 5.3 days in Third Quarter 2022 and declining again to 5.4 days in Fourth Quarter 2022.

Resident Surveys Overall Average Performance

Ellis’ customer loyalty score is based on a scale of 0%-100% (see chart below):


Ellis wishes to congratulate the companies below for their Ellis Surveys Benchmark performance for Fourth Quarter 2022.

Ellis Best in Class Achievers
Tier 1 (1,600 or more units)
Ellis Best in Class Achievers
Tier 2 (1,599 or fewer units)

·         Cathcart Property Management
·         F and F Realty
·         FPI Management
·         Friedman Realty Group
·         Guardian Management, LLC
·         Lincoln Property Company
·         Mack Property Management, LP
·         Manco Abbott
·         Olympus Property
·         Pinnacle (PRMC)
·         Quarterra
·         Russo Property Management
·         Simpson Property Group
·         Sparrow Partners
·         Steadfast Management
·         Woodmont Properties

·         Evolve Management Group, LLC
·         GDC Properties, Inc.
·         Ghertner & Company
·         Longboat Enterprises
·         O’Brien Realty Group
·         ResideBPG
·         Reybold Venture Group
·         Samuels & Associates
·         Southern Land Company
·         StarPoint Properties
·         TM Realty Services
·         United Financial Group, Inc.

Companies are listed in alphabetical order


Mystery Shops
How did we do?
The charts below reflect the average score of Ellis’ entire database for each of the 10 key benchmark questions and the Customer Experience by category, as well as the combined overall Benchmark scores for Fourth Quarter 2022. This data provides a roadmap to success, which in most cases means returning to the basics of sales and customer service.

Resident Surveys
How did we do?
The chart below reflects the average scores across all Ellis Resident Survey companies for each survey touch point for Fourth Quarter 2022, as well as the combined overall loyalty score and average accountability performance results.


There’s no doubt that personalization helps boost conversions. The “personalization effect” states that through tailoring to an individual personally or in a personal way the outcome is improved. The phrase was originally applied to learning cultures, but the same applies to sales and support equally. According to a Vervent article, “A personalized experience will often have a greater impact on sales than any product and even help customers feel open to paying higher prices.” Forbes reports that 40 percent of consumers say they spent more on something because of personalized service.

While working as a salesman at Xerox in the 1970s, Michael Bosworth coined the term “solution selling”. Bosworth has gone on to author several books, including Customer Centric Selling. Call it solution selling, needs-satisfaction selling, or customer centric selling – the concept is the same. HubSpot defines solution selling as “a sales methodology where a salesperson holistically considers a prospect’s needs, so they can recommend specific products or services that will best accommodate their individual problems and concerns”. This sales method works well in multifamily as we have access to varied touchpoints with prospects and customers to offer different and customized solutions.

So what steps can you take to provide a personalized experience?

  • Ask instead of assuming. One size definitely does not fit all. When you’re first interacting with the prospect, listen more than you talk. Why are they moving? What do they like about their current home? And what are they hoping to have that they currently do not? What do they do in their spare time, etc.? You don’t know until you ask. Keep in mind, your customer may have a problem they don’t even realize they have until you ask. This is why we must uncover what is essential to the customer early in the conversation so we can begin working our solution into the equation. Note: Be sure to avoid any questions that violate Fair Housing.
  • Formulate tweaks to your “script”. We all have a script running in our heads of the advantages we believe would be important to all prospects – what makes us the best. But if you’ve asked good questions and listened to the customer, you will know what you can skip over, and what will really make an impact on their decision. Offering personalized information not only leads to conversion but it builds rapport with the customer by demonstrating among other things active listening.
  • Use their name. Not the least important way to personalize an experience for the prospect is to use their name naturally as you talk with them – by phone and in person. When you greet a customer by name as they walk in your door, they know you value them and their time. Have some personalized promo materials ready – maybe you’ve handwritten their name on a brochure or quote. Notice I said handwrite! Your customer will notice, too.
  • Use Their Preferences in Follow up. Most times, the sale is not going to be won on the first try. This is why following up is vital. Your CRM may make it easy to push a button without thinking about the messaging. You will stand out when that follow-up contact is personalized to what the customer shared with you. And if they respond with more intel, make note of that for future contacts!
  • Maintain the service level after the lease. Once you’ve earned their business, personalized service doesn’t end there. There are many ways we can continue to build the relationship and increase retention as well as referrals and positive reviews. Offering a selection of channels for customers to reach out for service is a must.

Across Ellis’ database of shops in 2022, only 65% of prospects would have visited based on the phone interaction when their specific needs were not addressed in the descriptions provided. And even more devastatingly, only 29% would have leased an apartment when the presentation was not personalized to them and their needs.

If you want to boost conversions, build loyalty, and stand out among your competition, turn to ways you can improve and offer a personalized experience. This helps strengthen the customer relationships and drives renewals and referrals.

Ellis supports our customers through our vision and commitment to your growing and changing needs. We are here to help you as you work to refine processes and tools for understanding the customer experience from beginning to end. Your Ellis customer dashboard highlights not only Benchmark performance but other key performance indicators (KPIs) and customized reporting is available.

We thank you for your ongoing support, participation, and feedback, which help make this report informative, fresh, and a reliable resource. We hope you will find Ellis Partners in Management Solutions to be not only the finest source for apartment mystery shopping and resident surveys but also a training resource (including our e-learning and policies and procedures partners Edge2Learn) for your organization. Additional support and information can be found on our website. Also, Edge2Learn’s free multifamily training resource library includes several leasing training resources for you and your teams.

January 31, 2023

Prepared by Francis Chow, Chief Strategic Officer

Footnotes: 1 See Ellis website for Mystery Shop Benchmark and Resident Surveys Benchmark eligibility, tier level, and recognition requirements for apartment mystery shops and resident surveys.