Insights from Einstein: Some Categories Matter More to Your ORA Scores than Others

May 14, 2024 by Turner Batdorf
Turner Batdorf

Now that we have established a strong understanding of the frequencies in which our renters talk about the 22 different categories that Einstein measures, I want to zoom out and talk about how the various categories affect some of your biggest KPI’s. Specifically, we are going to focus on which categories matter the most to your star ratings (the quality of your reviews)- ultimately, the driver of how you are perceived online (and those ORA Scores).

The process of coming to the conclusions outlined in this article is simple: I aggregated all of the reviews where each category is mentioned positively and negatively, respectively, and determined the average star rating. For example, when someone is complaining about Customer Service at any point within their review, what does the average star rating look like? Contrarily, what does the average star rating look like when they compliment your Customer Service?

The reason we are doing this is because there are varying degrees of dispersion in star rating from category to category. AKA, some categories are more make or break than others in driving your online reputation because the average star rating for a positive mention is much higher than a negative mention. So… even if a category is not being mentioned as frequently, you could potentially conclude that it is an online reputation killer because underperformance in that area almost always results in a 1- or 2-star review.

For the purposes of keeping the information practical and relevant, I have isolated the data to a sample of 70,000+ reviews over the last 12 months from a wide variety of companies. Here are the four biggest takeaways:

1. Customer Service is the Most Make-or-Break

It is a boring result, but like many of our blogs, we come to a similar conclusion: even in 2024 you can’t escape the importance of Customer Service. Not only is it the most frequently mentioned category, but it also matters the most to your online reputation. If someone is dissatisfied with how helpful your staff is, the attitude of the onsite teams, or the relationship your teams have with the residents, you almost always get dinged with a low star rating. Vice versa, if they are satisfied, you almost always get a 5-star, regardless of anything else that may be an issue with their experience.

Customer Service has the biggest dispersion in star rating between negative mentions and positive mentions (2.86), making it the most make-or-break. Moreover, it has the lowest star rating average for complaints (1.84) and highest star rating for compliments (4.70).


2. Noise and Amenity Performance Hurt You the Least

While we never want to underperform in any aspect of the resident experience, there are some areas that are given grace. Simply put, of the 22 categories, there are a few that can get complained about, but still result in a decent star rating. Said a different way, there are categories that do not completely derail the satisfaction level of the residents. The two categories that reign supreme in this regard are Noise and Condition/Availability of Common Areas/Amenities. In both cases, the average star rating of a negative mention (complaint) is 2.90. This means that there are many cases where residents who are dissatisfied with performance in these two areas are not leaving a 1-star and are maybe even leaving a 3, 4, or 5-star review.


3. Back to the Pillars of Multifamily…

If you want to get positive feedback, you need to perform well on the things that matter most to the residents: their interactions with your staff and the performance of the maintenance team. Residents are not likely to give you a 5-star review just because you have really strong internet. But, deliver at the most personal levels of their home experience and you are cooking with oil! No matter which way you dice it, these are the things that move the needle.


4. However, One Wow Moment Matters

Even though it is very clear that driving an elite online reputation and having great resident satisfaction is predicated on doing the basics well, being exceptional at any one thing still matters! If someone is typing anything positive within a review for you, the star rating is probably pretty decent. I was ragging on the category of Internet, but reviews with a compliment about Internet quality still net a 4.19 star rating average. That’s pretty good! The point is that being superior at anything does add up. We should always be looking to deliver wow moments and I believe they are around every corner; we just also need to ensure that they do not come at the expense of the most crucial touchpoints in the resident experience.

In Conclusion…

Many of you care about your star ratings and your ORA Scores and this data is the key to unlocking what you need to be doing operationally. Like we saw in so many of our blogs before, success boils down to performing well in creating a personal connection with the residents and in maintenance. As we saw in the data, trying to solve all your problems by upgrading the pool is not a great idea. If you are not delivering on the basics, you will struggle with your reviews. If you are performing well with the basics, you can get by with struggles in amenities, noise, and parking. This is a relief! Noise, parking, and amenities are frequently difficult solves that come with capital expenses, while the basics mostly revolve around strong training and having the right staff with the right attitude in place- things many of you have been focused on since the beginning of time.

Thanks again for reading! Next month we will do our first deep dive into a specific category: Maintenance Timeliness.


The insights in this blog came from utilizing J Turner Research’s text categorization tool, Einstein Thought Analysis. Einstein Thought Analysis is a proprietary AI software that will objectively show you your operational strengths and weaknesses based on anything anyone has ever said about you online in reviews. What is being said is incredibly valuable because it is essentially the "why" behind your scores. Reviews are unprompted descriptions of why a resident is satisfied (left a high star rating) or dissatisfied (left a low star rating). This means that what is being complimented and complained about can be seen by owners and operators as drivers of satisfaction/dissatisfaction. For more information, please visit here.

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