Occupant Complaints: Horror Stories And Practical Responses

A few months ago, our senior editor, Naomi Millán, showed me a draft of a survey on occupant complaints for the cover story of the January issue. The last few questions were open-ended, asking readers to share their tips, pet peeves, and horror stories.

The usual rule with surveys is that open-ended questions dampen response. Three open-ended questions seemed like a lot to me, but since they were at the end of the survey, I figured it was probably OK. Maybe we’d get a few tidbits we could use.

A few? Hardly. The volume of comments showed that the survey had struck a nerve. Many responses were practical. A handful were cynical. More than a few were hilarious. We saw frustration, resignation, and plenty of determination.

A few numbers from the survey suggest the impact that complaints have on the workdays of the facility managers who responded. Twenty-eight percent say that complaints or requests devour a quarter or more of their time every month. A significant number of complaints are frivolous or at the very least subjective: On an average day, 39 percent of respondents spend from 15 minutes to an hour on complaints or requests that fall into those two categories. Half say they get a significant number of complaints about issues not related to facility management.

Many respondents shared their pet peeves or horror stories about occupant complaints. The stories were, to put it mildly, entertaining. But there was space in the cover story for only a few of those accounts. So we are going to share many other stories over the next few weeks at MyFacilitiesnet.com/complaints. You’ll be able to vote on your favorites. And if you have a good story or tip to share, this will be your chance.

Check it out. You may smile or cringe, but you’ll definitely see that you’re not alone.