Final 2011 Residential Property Owner Customer Survey

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1 TOP-LINE REPORT Final 2011 Residential Property Owner Customer Survey Prepared for: Prepared by: Malatest & Associates Ltd.

2 CONTENTS SECTION 1: INTRODUCTION Project Background Survey Objectives Survey Highlights Conclusions... 8 SECTION 2: METHODOLOGY Survey Design & Sample Development Questionnaire Design & Survey Implementation Data Analysis & Reporting Sample Characteristics SECTION 3: CUSTOMER SERVICE Access to Service Customer Satisfaction SECTION 4: COMMUNICATION Awareness of BC Assessment Assessment Notices Assessment Process & Property Taxation SECTION 5: BC ASSESSMENT WEB SERVICES Use of BC Assessment Website Final Comments & Suggestions APPENDIX A: STATISTICAL TABLES (separate cover) APPENDIX B: SURVEY INSTRUMENT (separate cover)

3 3 SECTION 1: INTRODUCTION 1.1 Project Background In 2011, BC Assessment commissioned R.A. Malatest & Associates Ltd. to conduct a survey of residential and non-residential property owners throughout British Columbia. The purpose of the research is to assess the level of customer satisfaction with services and products offered by BC Assessment. As a public agency, BC Assessment is responsible for surveying customer satisfaction on a regular basis. Residential and non-residential property owners, as well as internal staff, are surveyed annually, while other BC Assessment client groups are surveyed every 2 years. This report encompasses the 2011 results of the Residential Property Owner Survey, with comparisons to 2010 where applicable. The survey encompasses only those property owners who have had some form of contact with BC Assessment in the last year. This includes property owners who had their property inspected, those who appealed an assessment of their property, and those who contacted BC Assessment with a request for information or service. This sampling strategy is designed to enrich the data by acquiring the opinions and perspectives of those customers who had contact (or an experience) with BC Assessment in the past year. Results are analyzed according to three cohorts: 1. Inspected property owners who had their property inspected; 2. Appealed property owners who appealed their property assessment; 3. Inquired property owners who made an inquiry for information or service. Contact information for cohorts 1 and 2 was randomly drawn from BC Assessment s folio of residential properties, while BC Assessment s Client Workflow Viewer provided contact information on cohort 3. The survey instrument for 2011 underwent minor editorial changes from the previous year and one additional question was added regarding recall of advertisements and/or media coverage of BC Assessment; otherwise all questions are consistent. Prior to 2009, the Residential and Non-Residential Property Owner surveys were independent, focusing on satisfaction levels from among these two customer groups. In 2009, the two surveys were integrated and

4 4 SECTION 1: INTRODUCTION streamlined, resulting in a number of improvements to the questionnaire. Central to these changes was the incorporation of a composite score designed to capture overall customer satisfaction with the provision of services and information as provided by BC Assessment. Sample stratification at the Assessment Region level (10) and Area Office level (18) enables more detailed examination beyond the Combined Region (5) level used through Prior to 2009, surveys did not capture sufficient data to enable detailed analysis at the assessment region or area office level and were, therefore, examined at the combined region level only. For 2011, results are tabulated at all Assessment Region and Area Office levels (Appendix A), with comparisons reported at the assessment region level. 1.2 Survey Objectives The main goal of this research is to measure customer satisfaction with the provision of services and information as provided by BC Assessment. Residential property owners are one of BC Assessment s key customer groups, accounting for about 86% (1.6 million) of all registered property in British Columbia. The survey was conducted in order to provide a range of information that will aid in the planning and development of BC Assessment s customer services. The overall goal is to increase BC Assessment s awareness of customer needs and to determine the level of customer satisfaction. The specific objectives of the research were to: Determine customer familiarity with the role of BC Assessment; Gauge customer awareness and satisfaction with their Property Assessment Notices; Ascertain customer readership of, and satisfaction with, the Information Insert that accompanies their Property Assessment Notice; Determine customer satisfaction with the assessment process; Determine customer knowledge of property taxation processes; Measure customer satisfaction with the quality of service provided by BC Assessment; Measure customer use of, and satisfaction with, the BC Assessment website, including e-valuebc (previously Assessments and Sales by Address); Understand customer preferences of information delivery methods; Measure customer satisfaction with the appeal process; Measure customer satisfaction with the property inspection process; and Where applicable, compare the results to those obtained in the 2010 survey of residential property owners.

5 5 SECTION 1: INTRODUCTION 1.3 Survey Highlights The survey design consisted of telephone interviews with a sample of 1,245 residential property owners served by BC Assessment around the province. Sample weighting was applied to ensure that the overall sample results were representative of the actual distribution of all residential properties (folios) in BC. The margin of error for a sample size of 1,245 is at most ±2.3%, 19 times out of 20. It is important to note that the margin of error will increase as the number of respondents providing usable response declines. All percentages used in the report are based on calculations excluding Don t know/not applicable responses. Tabled below is a summary of the year-over-year change in combined agreement, either up ( ) or down ( ), for questions pertaining to customer service, communications and BC Assessment s website for each assessment region. What is notable in 2011 is the general decline in combined agreement for every single indicator. While many of the changes were small, there were notable declines in agreement with statements about the responsiveness of staff, the willingness of staff to go the extra mile, the level of customer service, and the overall satisfaction with the quality of customer service. Summary Results (2011) Year-Over-Year Change in Combined Agreement (Select) by Assessment Region Question Year Assessment Region Customer Service C VI V NF SF FV O K T/C N Q23. I was able to get service without difficulty 87% 89% Q24. I was dealt with in a timely manner 88% 90% Q25. The staff were knowledgeable 80% 81% Q26. The response provided the information I required 70% 73% Q27. Staff were responsive 84% 89% Q28. Staff treated me fairly and with respect 90% 92% Q29. I was pleased with the level of customer service 80% 84% Q30. Staff went the extra mile 64% 70% Q31. I was informed of everything I needed to know 79% 81% Q32A. Overall satisfaction with quality of customer service 79% 83% Composite Score

6 6 SECTION 1: INTRODUCTION While agreement varied considerably by region, there were consistent declines in most or all indicators in the Vancouver Sea-to-Sky, South Fraser, and Okanagan assessment regions. Conversely, there were improvements in most indicators in the Kootenays and North assessment regions. In addition to the declines in individual indicators, the composite score decreased by just over 3 percent to 80.15% in 2011 (vs % in 2010). Composite scores declined most notably in the Vancouver Sea-to-Sky and Okanagan regions, and were only partially offset by improvements in several other regions. In terms of the information and services that BC Assessment provides its customers, the general decline noted in 2010 appears to be continuing through 2011, particularly with respect to the assessment of property values. While the basic information found on the Property Assessment Notice and Information Insert is easy to understand, fewer respondents feel that it provides all the required information. Despite the overall decline, respondents in the North and Capital assessment regions showed improvements in most aspects of information and services. Respondents in the Okanagan region reported poorer scores for all attributes. Question Year Assessment Region Communications C VI V NF SF FV O K T/C N Q2. BC Assessment provides a valuable public service 73% 73% Q3. BC Assessment is a good resource for property information 74% 75% Q5. PAN (Property Assessment Notice) is easy to understand 90% 89% Q6. PAN clearly describes how to appeal or request a review 89% 91% Q7. PAN clearly states how to contact BC Assessment 95% 96% Q8. PAN provides all the information required 63% 64% Q12. II (Information Insert) is easy to understand 91% 93% Q13. II provides answers to assessment questions 59% 62% Q14. II provides all additional property information required 51% 54% Q15. BC Assessment does a good job assigning property values 30% 37% Q16. The assessed value of my property is fair 29% 35% Q17. The assessed value of my property is accurate 25% 30% Q18. The use of sale prices of similar properties to estimate property values is fair 68% 71% Q36. Overall satisfaction with access to property information 75% 78%

7 7 SECTION 1: INTRODUCTION Similar to other 2011 results, customer opinion of BC Assessment s website and the e- valuebc feature experienced a general decline in combined agreement in 2011, with the exception of the usefulness of e-valuebc, which improved slightly. Responses were quite consistent within each assessment region, with respondents in four regions providing decreased ratings for each indicator and those in two regions providing consistently improved ratings. The largest decline was again relative to the provision of all required information, which decreased from 67% in 2010 to 58% in Question Year Assessment Region BC Assessment Website C VI V NF SF FV O K T/C N Q39. It was easy to find information on the website 75% 78% Q40. The website had the information I needed 73% 77% Q42. e-valuebc is easy to use 83% 88% Q43. e-valuebc is useful to me 86% 85% Q44. e-valuebc provided all information required 59% 67% 1.4 Survey Conclusions Except for minor editing and the addition of a question regarding recall of advertisements and media coverage, the 2011 survey instrument and sampling strategy remained virtually unchanged from Survey completions are roughly the same as last year, with a similar response rate of 33.4%. Results are analyzed by the nature of contact (i.e., appealed, inspected, inquired) residential property owners had with BC Assessment in the past year and by assessment region (10). While the large majority of residential property owners are satisfied with the level of service provided by BC Assessment staff, there is a general trend of small declines in most indicators of customer service. The 2011 composite score measuring overall customer satisfaction declined by three points from 2010, most notably in the Okanagan and Vancouver Sea-to-Sky assessment regions. This contrasts with 2010 when improvements were noted in these regions. In 2011, improvements in the composite score were instead noted in the Kootenays, Thompson/Cariboo, North, and Capital assessment regions. The decrease in the number of residential property owners who felt that BC Assessment provides a valuable public service and is a good resource for property information noted in 2010 seems to have slowed as agreement with these statements leveled off in the mid-70% range. There were small declines in all indicators about the Property Information Notices, and

8 8 SECTION 1: INTRODUCTION slightly larger declines regarding the Information Insert. As in previous years, the lowest scoring indicators had to do with both of these products failing to provide all the information required by residential property owners. Less than two-thirds (63% vs. 64% in 2010) of property owners felt the Property Assessment Notice provided the information they required, while just over half (51% vs. 54% in 2010) felt the Information Insert provided sufficient information. The decline in opinion with respect to the property assessment process noted since 2009 continues in The proportion of residential property owners who felt that BC Assessment does a good job assigning value to their property fell to under one-third (30% vs. 37% in 2010). Similarly, the proportion of property owners who agreed that the assessed value was fair (29% vs. 35% in 2010) and accurate (25% vs. 30% in 2010) also fell substantially. There was an increase in the proportion of residential property owners who believe that their property taxes are determined by municipal governments (47% vs. 37% in 2010), although 32% (vs. 37% in 2010) continue to believe the responsibility is shared between municipal and provincial governments. Visits to the BC Assessment website increased in 2011 (68% vs. 54% in 2010), reversing the decrease noted in the past year. While the number of visitors increased, the proportion of respondents who agreed with most quality indicators for the website and the e-valuebc feature declined. The largest decline was in the percentage (59% vs. 67% in 2010) indicating that BC Assessment s e-valuebc service provided all the information they required.

9 9 SECTION 2: METHODOLOGY 2.1 Survey Design & Sample Development Approximately 1.6 million (86%) registered properties in British Columbia are residential, representing the largest customer group of BC Assessment. For 2011, BC Assessment supplied the Consultant with a sample of residential property owners who had either 1) filed an appeal, 2) had their property inspected or 3) had made a general inquiry for service or information by phone, or in-person. Names and addresses were provided for each of the three cohorts; telephone contact information was also available for those who had made an inquiry to BC Assessment. The Consultant engaged the services of Microzip to help source telephone numbers for cohorts 1) and 2). After providing for duplicate numbers and numbers not-in-service, the valid sample totaled 3,729 residential property owners. A census approach was adopted for those who had filed an appeal and those who had their properties inspected in the past year. A total of 1,245 surveys were completed, yielding an overall response of 33.4%, identical to that achieved in The margin of error (i.e., maximum variation) for a sample of this size is ±2.3%. In other words, these results are accurate within ±2.3% of the true value 19 times out of 20 (see Table 1). In 2010, the survey achieved a total of 1,262 telephone completions, including 131 who filed an appeal and 148 who indicated they had their property inspected. Population Table 1: Survey Sample & Response by Nature of Contact Sample (Valid) Maximum Variation* (Target) Completions Response Rate Maximum Variation* (Actual) Appeals 628 ±6.2% % ±7.0% Inspections 557 ±5.9% % ±7.8% Inquiries 2,544 ±3.2% % ±2.5% Total 3,729 ±2.6% 1,245 33% ±2.3% Source: BC Assessment Customer Inquiry Tracking System * Maximum variation with a 95% confidence level. 2.2 Questionnaire Design & Survey Implementation The objective of the survey is to build on baseline measures of customer satisfaction established in previous surveys. Telephone survey administration began following receipt of property assessment notices issued by BC Assessment in January 2011 and concluded in May Data were automatically entered into the Computer Assisted Telephone

10 10 SECTION 2: METHODOLOGY Interviewing (CATI) system as each interview progressed. At the end of the survey, all respondents were given BC Assessment s toll-free number for reference should they have any questions. Coding categories for open-ended questions were determined based upon all of the completed questionnaires, similar to previous surveys. All of those surveyed were asked if they would like someone from BC Assessment to followup with them about any specific customer service concerns they might have. A total of 162 (13%) said they would like to be contacted. Respondents were also asked whether they would they be willing to participate in a future focus group to discuss assessment issues among residential property owners. Of the 1,245 survey completers, 55% (n = 683) agreed to be contacted to participate in a future focus group, up slightly from Data Analysis & Reporting In reporting the survey findings, unless otherwise stated, all percentages used in this report are based on calculations excluding Don t know / Not applicable responses. As well, throughout the survey, respondents were asked to rate their level of agreement or satisfaction with a number of issues. In each instance, the rating system used was a four-point scale, with 4 representing the highest positive rating and 1 the lowest rating. Percentages that are used to summarize the ratings are the sum of the positive ratings (4 + 3). Calculations of percentages may not add to 100% due to rounding to the nearest whole percentage. Certain results contained in this report may also deviate (+1%) with appended results due to rounding. The report groups the 18 area offices into the 10 assessment regions as adopted by BC Assessment. Data results (Appendix A) are presented for each area office and summarized for each assessment region. Analysis by combined region has been discontinued, as the introduction of new sampling and survey methods since 2009 has helped to mitigate the risk of underrepresentation at the assessment region level. To the extent possible, the 2011 results are compared to those obtained in the 2010 survey of residential property owners. Report analyses is based on weighted results, except where otherwise indicated.

11 11 SECTION 2: METHODOLOGY Assessment Region Capital Capital Area Office(s) Vancouver Island Vancouver Sea-to-Sky North Fraser South Fraser Fraser Valley Central Vancouver Island Courtenay Vancouver North Fraser Richmond-Delta Surrey-White Rock Fraser Valley Penticton Okanagan Kelowna Vernon Kootenays Thompson/ Cariboo Nelson/Trail East Kootenay Kamloops Cariboo Northwest North Prince George Peace River 2.4 Sample Characteristics The 2011 survey plan targeted a maximum variation of ±2.6% and an overall response of at least 30%. Given their relatively small sample populations, a census approach was applied to those who had filed an appeal and those who had their properties inspected in the past year. Tables 2 and 3 provide the unweighted and weighted response distribution by geographic region and nature of contact (i.e., appealed, inspected, inquired) with BC Assessment.

12 12 SECTION 2: METHODOLOGY Region Folio Dist n* Table 2: Response Distribution before Weighting Appealed Inspected Inquired Total Area Office # % # % # % # % 1 7.9% Capital % % % % 10.8% Vancouver Island % % % % 2 6.9% Central VI % % % % 3.9% Courtenay % 4 3.3% % % % Vancouver Sea-to-Sky 7 4.6% % % % 4 9.4% North Fraser % % % % 13.9% South Fraser 6 4.0% 5 4.1% % % 5 5.7% Richmond-Delta 4 2.6% 0 0.0% % % 8.3% Surrey-White Rock 2 1.3% 5 4.1% % % 6 9.9% Fraser Valley % % % % 11.3% Okanagan % % % % 7 3.3% Penticton 6 4.0% 5 4.1% % % 4.3% Kelowna 5 3.3% 0 0.0% % % 3.7% Vernon % 6 4.9% % % 6.2% Kootenays % % % % 8 3.3% Nelson/Trail 4 2.6% 4 3.3% % % 2.9% East Kootenay % % % % 5.8% Thompson/Cariboo % % % % 9 3.3% Kamloops % % % % 2.4% Cariboo 5 3.3% 6 4.9% % % 8.0% North % % % % % Northwest 3 2.0% 4 3.3% % % 4.1% Prince George % 6 4.9% % % 1.7% Peace River 4 2.6% 1 0.8% % % 100% Totals % % % % * Residential Folios - 1,636,291 (BC Assessment)

13 13 SECTION 2: METHODOLOGY Region Folio Dist n* Table 2: Response Distribution after Weighting Appealed Inspected Inquired Total Area Office # % # % # % # % 1 7.9% Capital % % % % 10.8% Vancouver Island % % % % 2 6.9% Central VI % % % % 3.9% Courtenay % 4 3.2% % % % Vancouver Sea-to-Sky 8 5.7% % % % 4 9.4% North Fraser % % % % 13.9% South Fraser 7 4.9% 6 5.1% % % 5 5.7% Richmond-Delta 5 3.2% 0 0.0% % % 8.3% Surrey-White Rock 2 1.6% 6 5.1% % % 6 9.9% Fraser Valley % % % % 11.3% Okanagan % % % % 7 3.3% Penticton 6 4.2% 5 4.4% % % 4.3% Kelowna 5 3.7% 0 0.0% % % 3.7% Vernon 9 6.3% 5 4.7% % % 6.2% Kootenays % % % % 8 3.3% Nelson/Trail 4 2.9% 4 3.7% % % 2.9% East Kootenay 8 5.3% 8 7.3% % % 5.8% Thompson % % % % 9 3.3% Kamloops 8 5.7% % % % 2.4% Cariboo 4 2.6% 4 3.9% % % 8.0% North % % % % 2.2% Northwest 2 1.6% 3 2.7% % % % Prince George 9 6.4% 5 4.4% % 1.7% Peace River 8 5.6% 2 1.8% % % 100% Totals % % % % * Residential Folios - 1,636,291 (BC Assessment)

14 14 SECTION 3: CUSTOMER SERVICE 3.1 Access to Service (Q21-Q31, 36) /online communication increased substantially as a means of contacting BC Assessment in 2011 As shown in Figure 1, while telephone contact remains the preferred method of communication between residential property owners and BC Assessment staff, /online contact increased substantially from 24% in 2010 to 34% in Figure 1: Method of Contact with BC Assessment Phone 90% 90% / Online 24% 34% In Person 10% 11% Regular Mail 4% 5% Totals do not add up to 100% due to multiple responses. Table 3 details the response distribution by method and nature of contact with BC Assessment. The use of /online as a method of contact increased among all types of contact. Roughly three-quarters of those who appealed their property assessment or had their properties inspected used the telephone to contact BC Assessment, compared with 93% of those who were making general inquiries. Method Table 3: Contact with BC Assessment by Method and Nature of Contact Total Appealed Inspected Inquired Telephone 90% 90% 73% 77% 73% 64% 93% 94% 34% 24% 56% 53% 38% 23% 31% 21% In Person 10% 11% 18% 18% 16% 33% 8% 9% Regular Mail 4% 5% 11% 15% 12% 9% 3% 3% Totals do not add up to 100% due to multiple responses.

15 15 SECTION 3: CUSTOMER SERVICE When asked why they had contacted BC Assessment, the vast majority of respondents (84%) including 89% of general inquirers indicated that they had a question about their property assessment. The biggest change in 2011 was in respondents seeking more information in order to file an appeal, which rose from 23% in 2010 to 34% in Responses were fairly consistent across all assessment regions. Figure 2: Reasons for contacting BC Assessment Question about property assessment 84% 87% More information to file an appeal 23% 34% 2011 They contacted me Change of address/ ownership details Other 2% 2% 1% 2% 1% 1% 2010 Totals do not add to 100% due to multiple responses Nine in 10 property owners indicated that BC Assessment staff treated them fairly and with respect Respondents were asked to indicate their level of agreement where 4 is strongly agree and 1 is strongly disagree with a number of statements pertaining to the quality of service they received during their most recent experience with BC Assessment. This series of questions encompasses all respondents who had some form of contact with BC Assessment in the past year. As detailed in Table 4, results in 2011 are lower than in 2010 for all statements and for almost all cohorts of respondent. While this general decline is an important trend to monitor, it should be noted that most of the declines were fairly small, and agreement was still at 80% or better for seven of the nine statements. The area with the greatest decline, and also the one receiving the least agreement (64% vs. 70% in 2010) was in staff going the extra mile.

16 16 SECTION 3: CUSTOMER SERVICE Table 4: Agreement* with Quality Indicators for BC Assessment by Nature of Contact Quality Indicator Total Appealed Inspected Inquired I was able to get though without difficulty 87% 89% 87% 93% 95% 91% 87% 88% I was dealt with in a timely manner 88% 90% 88% 94% 95% 95% 88% 90% Staff were knowledgeable 80% 81% 76% 79% 89% 95% 80% 80% I received the information that I required 70% 73% 70% 71% 82% 86% 70% 72% Staff were responsive 84% 89% 86% 89% 93% 94% 83% 88% Staff treated me fairly 90% 92% 89% 88% 93% 96% 90% 92% I was pleased with the level of service 80% 84% 76% 83% 90% 93% 80% 84% Staff went the extra mile 64% 70% 55% 65% 81% 85% 65% 69% I was informed of everything I had to do 79% 81% 81% 81% 84% 86% 79% 80% * Combined agreement (4 + 3), where 4= Strongly agree and 1= Strongly disagree Over three-quarters of property owners (76%) were satisfied with their level of access to property information In terms of access BC Assessment provides to property information, Figure 3 shows that over three-quarters (76% vs. 78% in 2010) were satisfied or very satisfied with their level of access. The satisfaction with level of access declined slightly in all categories of contact, particularly those who appealed their assessment or had their property inspected. In particular, those who had their properties inspected or filed an appeal of their assessment reported an overall increase in satisfaction from the previous year. Regionally, combined satisfaction ranged from a high of 86% in the Thompson/Cariboo assessment region to a low of 72% in the North Fraser.

17 17 SECTION 3: CUSTOMER SERVICE Figure 3: Satisfaction with Access to Property Information by Nature of Contact Total 2011 Total % 45% 27% 33% Appealed 2011 Appealed % 55% 21% 25% Inspected % 28% Inspected % 32% Inquired 2011 Inquired % 48% 27% 34% Satisfied Very Satisfied Combined agreement (4 + 3), where 4= Strongly agree and 1= Strongly disagree Respondents who contacted BC Assessment by telephone were asked to provide comments or suggestions about BC Assessment s telephone service. The following comments were offered from among those who responded (n = 331): - 11% (vs. 7% in 2010) said it was good, no problems - 5% (vs. 3% in 2010) said more timely response - 5% (vs. 3% in 2010) said provide better customer service - 4% (vs. 4% in 2010) said less automation / more human contact - 3% (vs. 2% in 2010) said have better knowledge / information Respondents who contacted BC Assessment by were asked to provide comments or suggestions about BC Assessment s service. The following comments were offered from among those who responded (n = 101): - 12% (vs. 8% in 2010) said it was good, no problems - 5% (vs. 3% in 2010) said more timely response - 2% (not noted in 2010) said have better knowledge/information - 1% (vs. 3% in 2010) said make website/interface easier to use

18 18 SECTION 3: CUSTOMER SERVICE Respondents who visited a BC Assessment office in-person were asked to provide comments or suggestions about BC Assessment s in-person service. The following comments were offered from among those who responded (n = 42): - 17% (vs. 8% in 2010) said it was good, no problems - 3% (vs. 5% in 2010) said have better knowledge/information - 2% (vs. 6% in 2010) said better customer service 3.2 Customer Satisfaction (32A & Composite Score) Nearly 8 in 10 residential property owners (79%) surveyed were satisfied with the quality of service provided by BC Assessment As shown in Figure 4, overall satisfaction with the quality of service provided by BC Assessment decreased to 79% in 2011 from 83% in This decrease was consistent across all cohorts. Figure 4: Overall Satisfaction with Quality of Service by Nature of Contact Total 2011 Total % 41% 38% 42% Appealed 2011 Appealed % 43% 34% 36% Inspected 2011 Inspected % 39% 46% 51% Inquired 2011 Inquired % 42% Satisfied 38% Very Satisfied 42% On a regional basis, satisfaction levels decreased in seven of the ten assessment regions and increased in the Kootenays, Thompson/Cariboo, and North regions (Figure 5). The most significant declines were seen in the North Fraser assessment region which dropped from 87% (second highest in 2010) to 76% in 2011.

19 19 SECTION 3: CUSTOMER SERVICE Figure 5: Overall Satisfaction with Quality of Service by Assessment Region Total 2011 Total % 41% 38% 42% Capital 2011 Capital % 46% 48% 39% Vancouver Island 2011 Vancouuver Island % 34% 39% 50% Vancouver Sea-to-Sky 2011 Vancouver Sea-to-Sky % 48% 29% 30% North Fraser 2011 North Fraser % 39% 38% 48% South Fraser 2011 South Fraser % 42% 31% 40% Fraser Valley 2011 Fraser Valley % 49% 42% 37% Okanagan 2011 Okanagan % 33% 40% 55% Kootenays 2011 Kootenays % 41% 42% 40% Thompson/Cariboo 2011 Thompson/Cariboo % 34% 50% 50% North North 43% 43% Satisfied Very Satisfied 42% 39% BC Assessment achieved a Composite Score of 80.15% in 2011, down from 83.23% in 2010 An important feature of the survey research has been the introduction of a composite score designed to measure total satisfaction with the quality of customer service among those who had contact with BC Assessment. The measure is an aggregated total of all positive responses (4 + 3) divided by the total number of responses (1...4) for questions 23 through 32A.

20 20 SECTION 3: CUSTOMER SERVICE In 2011, BC Assessment achieved an overall composite score of 80.15% for all of British Columbia, down from 83.23% in Scores were up in four of the 10 assessment regions and down the remaining six. The greatest decline in composite score was in the Okanagan assessment region, along with significant declines in all the Lower Mainland regions. Figure 6: Composite Measure of Satisfaction by Assessment Region Capital 86.26% 83.62% Vancouver Island 82.14% 85.18% Vancouver Sea-to-Sky 71.58% 78.30% North Fraser 81.08% 86.34% South Fraser 75.79% 81.23% Fraser Valley 83.05% 84.07% Okanagan 81.47% 88.62% Kootenays 84.87% 81.77% Thompson/Cariboo 86.67% 85.46% The North 85.61% 81.21% COMPOSITE SCORE 80.15% 83.23%

21 21 SECTION 3: CUSTOMER SERVICE As illustrated in Figure 7, when asked what would need to be changed or done differently to increase satisfaction, those respondents who indicated they were dissatisfied or very dissatisfied (n = 226) with BC Assessment service identified the need for better knowledge/information as the top priority (33%), followed by improved customer service (23%). While these two priorities were also identified in 2010, the proportion of respondents suggesting the need for better knowledge / information has increased substantially. This result is reflective of those found elsewhere in the survey in which the need for more information is identified for items such as the Property Assessment Notice and Information Insert. Figure 7: Suggested Changes to Increase Satisfaction Have better knowledge/ information 28% 33% Provide better customer service 23% 27% More timely response 11% 19% Did not agree with the assessment 9% 11% Should physically inspect the property 4% 9% Better comparisons with other properties 3% 9% Consistency 1% 2%

22 22 SECTION 4: COMMUNICATION 4.1 Awareness of BC Assessment (Q1 Q3) 88% of residential property owners surveyed said they were familiar or somewhat familiar with BC Assessment in 2011 As illustrated in Figure 8, a total of 88% (vs. 87% in 2010) of respondents indicated that they were at least somewhat familiar with the role of BC Assessment. This slight increase was consistent across all cohorts. Figure 8: Familiarity with the Role of BC Assessment by Nature of Contact Total 2011 Total % 44% 46% 43% Appealed 2011 Appealed % 44% 54% 42% Inspected 2011 Inspected % 46% 51% 41% Inquired 2011 Inquired % 44% 44% 43% Somewhat familiar Familiar Figure 9 shows the level of familiarity with the role of BC Assessment across all 10 assessment regions for 2010 and There are few clear trends in the level of familiarity across the various regions, although familiarity increased somewhat in the Capital and Vancouver Sea-to-Sky regions.

23 23 SECTION 4: COMMUNICATION Figure 9: Familiarity with the Role of BC Assessment by Assessment Region Total 2011 Total % 44% 46% 43% Capital 2011 Capital % 43% 52% 52% Vancouver Island 2011 Vancouuver Island % 47% 46% 43% Vancouver Sea-to-Sky 2011 Vancouver Sea-to-Sky % 37% 48% 55% North Fraser 2011 North Fraser % 45% 36% 36% South Fraser 2011 South Fraser % 43% 54% 44% Fraser Valley 2011 Fraser Valley % 54% 35% 36% Okanagan 2011 Okanagan % 47% 38% 50% Kootenays 2011 Kootenays % 46% 50% 37% Thompson/Cariboo 2011 Thompson/Cariboo % 50% 48% 34% North North 45% 52% 39% 34% Somewhat familiar Familiar

24 24 SECTION 4: COMMUNICATION Almost three-quarters (73%) of residential property owners surveyed agreed that BC Assessment provides a valuable service Among those who are familiar with the role of BC Assessment, almost three-quarters (73%, equal to 2010) agreed that BC Assessment provides a valuable public service. There was a notable decline (73% vs. 85% in 2010) in agreement among respondents who had property inspections; however, this was offset by the slight increase among the much larger inquiry cohort (Figure 10). Figure 10: Agreement that BC Assessment Provides a Valuable Public Service by Nature of Contact Total 2011 Total % 47% 23% 27% Appealed 2011 Appealed % 52% 25% 24% Inspected % 28% Inspected % 28% Inquired 2011 Inquired % 50% 27% 23% Agree Strongly Agree From a regional perspective, agreement was down slightly in seven of 10 assessment regions. These declines were balanced by improvements in the Capital (80% vs. 70% in 2010), Thompson/Cariboo (83% vs. 71% in 2010) and North (64% vs. 62% in 2010) regions. These increases are in contrast to the declines in the Capital and North regions noted in 2010.

25 25 SECTION 4: COMMUNICATION Figure 11: Agreement that BC Assessment Provides a Valuable Public Service by Assessment Region Total 2011 Total % 47% 23% 27% Capital 2011 Capital % 49% 20% 33% Vancouver Island 2011 Vancouuver Island % 45% 27% 33% Vancouver Sea-to-Sky 2011 Vancouver Sea-to-Sky % 47% 28% 29% North Fraser 2011 North Fraser % 52% 18% 24% South Fraser 2011 South Fraser % 47% 27% 17% Fraser Valley 2011 Fraser Valley % 50% 26% 28% Okanagan 2011 Okanagan % 51% 26% 30% Kootenays 2011 Kootenays % 55% 30% 16% Thompson/Cariboo 2011 Thompson/Cariboo % 58% 27% 25% North 2011 North % 50% 14% 11% Agree Strongly Agree

26 26 SECTION 4: COMMUNICATION Nearly three-quarters (74%) of residential property owners surveyed agreed that BC Assessment is a good resource for property information Those familiar with the role of BC Assessment were asked to indicate their level of agreement as to whether BC Assessment is a good resource for property information. Figure 12 shows that about three-quarters (74%) of respondents agreed with the statement, down very slightly from Figure 12: Agreement that BC Assessment is a Good Resource for Property Information by Nature of Contact Total 2011 Total % 47% 27% 28% Appealed 2011 Appealed % 50% 21% 21% Inspected % 31% Inspected % 29% Inquired 2011 Inquired % 46% 27% 29% Agree Strongly Agree Agreement levels ranged from a high of 84% in the Capital assessment region to a low of 67% in Vancouver Sea-to-Sky. The notable increases in agreement were in the North (70% vs. 62% in 2010) and Capital (84% vs. 79% in 2010) assessment regions, while there were declines in the Vancouver Sea-to-Sky (67% vs. 74% in 2010), Vancouver Island (73% vs. 78% in 2010), and North Fraser (70% vs. 74% in 2010) regions.

27 27 SECTION 4: COMMUNICATION 4.2 Assessment Notices (Q4 Q14B) Nearly all residential property owners surveyed (99%) recalled receiving their last Property Assessment Notice Figure 13 shows that the vast majority of respondents (99%, up from 98% in 2010) recalled receiving their Property Assessment Notice. At least 98% of property owners in each assessment region and 99% in each cohort recalled receiving their notice. Total Figure 13: Recalled Receiving Property Assessment Notice by Nature of Contact 99% 98% Appealed 95% 99% Inspected 96% 99% Inquired 99% 99% Those who recalled receiving their Property Assessment Notice were asked to provide their level of agreement with various quality indicators pertaining to the notice. While agreement with the indicator easy to understand increased slightly in 2011, agreement with the remaining three indicators decreased slightly. The largest declines in agreement were noted among respondents who had their property inspected. Overall, and within each cohort, the lowest scores were for the provides all the information required indicator. Quality Indicator Table 5: Agreement* with Attributes of the Property Assessment Notice by Nature of Contact Total Appealed Inspected Inquired Easy to understand 90% 89% 91% 83% 94% 97% 89% 89% Clearly describes how to appeal, file a complaint or request an independent review 89% 91% 93% 89% 90% 94% 88% 91% Clearly states how to contact BC Assessment 95% 96% 97% 95% 98% 100% 94% 96% Provides all the information required about an assessment 63% 64% 62% 63% 70% 77% 62% 63% * Combined agreement (4 + 3), where 4= Strongly agree and 1= Strongly disagree

28 28 SECTION 4: COMMUNICATION Those who recalled receiving their Property Assessment Notice were asked what other information they would like to see included with the notice. The most frequent suggestions among the 355 residential property owners who provided a response (up from 332 in 2010) are shown in Figure 14. Figure 14: Other Information Desired on Property Assessment Notice How the assessment was determined 38% 52% Property value comparisons Reason for increase/decrease 17% 20% 15% Description of property History of property's assessments Appeal process information Market value information General information about the assessment process Property tax calculations Contact information/ website address Timely assessments 6% 8% 5% 3% 2% 2% 2% 3% 2% 2% 1% 3% 1% 2% 1% 0% More residential property owners (78%) read the Information Insert in 2011 Included with the Property Assessment Notice is an Information Insert that provides additional information about the property assessment process. In 2011, almost eight in 10 property owners surveyed (78%, up from 72% in 2010) indicated that they recalled receiving the insert with their Property Assessment Notice. Residential property owners in the Capital assessment region were the mostly likely to recall receiving the insert.

29 29 SECTION 4: COMMUNICATION Among those who recalled receiving the insert (n = 1,171), more than three quarters (78%) reported having read the Information Insert in 2011, the same proportion as in As in 2010, the smallest proportion of those who read the Information Insert was among those who had their properties inspected; this proportion declined to 43% in 2011 (Figure 15). Residential property owners in the Okanagan assessment region were the most likely to read the Information Insert (85%), compared to 71% of owners in the North assessment region. Figure 15: Read Information Insert by Nature of Contact Total Appealed 78% 78% 81% 80% 2011 Inspected 43% 50% 2010 Inquired 82% 83% Among the 165 respondents (vs. 183 in 2010) who did not read the Information Insert in 2011 and who provided a particular reason, the responses given most often were: - I don t need more information (51% vs. 44% in 2010) - I am too busy (16% vs. 23% in 2010) - The information is the same as last year (18%, vs. 24% in 2010) Those who read the Information Insert were asked to provide their level of agreement with various quality indicators pertaining to the insert. Table 6 shows that more than 9 in 10 (91%) of those who read the Information Insert agreed that it is easy to understand, while a much smaller majority agreed that it provides answers to assessment questions (59%) and provides all additional information required (51%). The largest declines in all indicators were generally among those who filed an appeal and those who had their properties inspected, although there were also declines among those who made inquiries.

30 30 SECTION 4: COMMUNICATION Table 6: Agreement* with Attributes of the Information Insert by Nature of Contact Quality Indicator Total Appealed Inspected Inquired Easy to understand 91% 93% 88% 93% 97% 99% 91% 93% Provides answers to my assessment questions 59% 62% 57% 70% 70% 87% 58% 59% Provided all additional information I required 51% 54% 47% 52% 68% 77% 51% 53% * Combined agreement (4 + 3), where 4= Strongly agree and 1= Strongly disagree Combined agreement that the Information Insert was easy to understand ranged from 98% in the Capital assessment region to 83% in the North Fraser. Combined agreement that the Information Insert provided answers to questions ranged from 67% in the South Fraser and North assessment regions to 55% in the Okanagan. Interestingly, the Okanagan had the highest combined agreement in 2010 at 73%. Combined agreement that the Information Insert provided all required information ranged from 67% in the Thompson/Cariboo assessment region to 42% in the Vancouver Sea-to-Sky region. Respondents who read the Information Insert were asked what other information they would like included in it. Among the 203 (vs. 168 in 2010) who provided suggestions, the most frequent comments are shown in Figure 16 (more than one response was permitted):

31 31 SECTION 4: COMMUNICATION Figure 16: Other Information Desired on Information Insert How the assessment is determined 22% 23% Property comparisons and market situation 22% 33% A more detailed description/ breakdown of my assessment 18% Cause of increase/ decrease 13% 13% Appeal process Contact information 7% 5% 4% 5% Property factors included and why 1% 7% 4.3 Assessment Process & Property Taxation (Q15 Q20B, Q48A) 29% of residential property owners agreed that the assessed value of their property is fair, down from 35% in 2010 Table 7 shows that 29% of respondents agreed that the assessed value of their property is fair compared to similar properties in their neighbourhood, while 30% agreed that BC Assessment does a good job in assigning a value to their property. Additionally in 2011, 25% agreed that the assessed value of their property was accurate. These declines in agreement levels continue a downward trend that began prior to The only cohort where there was any improvement in agreement was among residential property owners who appealed their assessment, 25% of whom agreed that the assessed value of their property was fair (up from 21% in 2010).

32 32 SECTION 4: COMMUNICATION Table 7: Agreement* with Attributes of the Assessment Process by Nature of Contact Quality Indicator Total Appealed Inspected Inquired BC Assessment does a good job in assigning value to my property 30% 37% 18% 32% 50% 69% 29% 33% The assessed value of my property is fair 29% 35% 25% 21% 52% 70% 27% 32% The assessed value of property provided by BC Assessment is accurate 25% 31% 20% 26% 45% 56% 23% 28% * Combined agreement (4 + 3), where 4= Strongly agree and 1= Strongly disagree Combined agreement with the statement that BC Assessment does a good job assigning value to their property ranged from 38% in the Capital assessment region to 23% in the Kootenays region. Combined agreement with the statement that the assessed property value is fair ranged from 39% in the Capital assessment region to 25% in the Vancouver Sea-to- Sky region. Combined agreement with the statement that the assessed value of property provided by BC Assessment is accurate ranged from 31% in the Capital assessment region to 18% in the Kootenay region. Over two-thirds of respondents feel the method used by BC Assessment to estimate property values is fair Upon explaining to survey participants that BC Assessment uses sale prices of similar residential properties to estimate property values, respondents were asked whether they believe this method is fair, somewhat fair, or unfair. As highlighted in Figure 17, over twothirds of respondents (68% vs. 71% in 2010) said that the method was fair or somewhat fair. This year-over-year decline is seen across all cohorts, but is strongest among those who filed an appeal of their assessment in the past year.

33 33 SECTION 4: COMMUNICATION Figure 17: Perceived Fairness of the Sale Price Method for Valuing Property by Nature of Contact Total 2011 Total % 31% 40% 40% Appealed 2011 Appealed % 30% 28% 42% Inspected 2011 Inspected % 41% 39% 48% Inquired 2011 Inquired % 31% 42% 38% Fair Somewhat Fair Results varied substantially by assessment region, ranging from a low of 57% in the South Fraser region to a high of 82% in the Capital region. This range is much greater than noted in Almost half (47%) of residential property owners believe that the municipal government alone is responsible for determining property taxes, up from 37% in 2010 Table 8 shows that 47% of residential property owners (vs. 37% in 2010) believe that the municipal government alone is responsible for determining the amount of their property taxes, while another 32% (vs. 37% in 2009) believe that the municipal and provincial governments together are responsible. This increase was consistent across all cohorts of residential property owners. There was also a slight increase in those who believe the provincial government is solely responsible for determining property taxes (7% vs. 6% in 2010), accompanied by declines in those who believe it is a combination of municipal and provincial governments and those who believe it is the responsibility of BC Assessment.

34 34 SECTION 4: COMMUNICATION Table 8: Responsibility for Determining Property Taxes by Nature of Contact Quality Indicator Total Appealed Inspected Inquired Municipal Government 47% 37% 50% 31% 44% 33% 46% 39% Both Municipal and Provincial Governments 32% 37% 33% 38% 38% 46% 31% 36% BC Assessment 12% 14% 8% 14% 11% 17% 13% 13% Provincial Government 7% 6% 6% 7% 6% 4% 7% 6% Other 2% 6% 3% 11% 2% 1% 2% 6% * Combined agreement (4 + 3), where 4= Strongly agree and 1= Strongly disagree As seen in Table 9, a majority of residential property owners in the Capital assessment region (59%) are the most likely to believe that the municipal government alone is responsible for determining property taxes. This contrasts with property owners in the Kootenays region, 47% of whom believe the responsibility is shared between both municipal and provincial governments. The region with the highest proportion of respondents who believe BC Assessment is responsible for determining property taxes is the South Fraser (17%). Table 9: Responsibility for Determining Property Taxes by Assessment Region Organization C VI V NF SF FV O K T / C N Municipal Government 59% 49% 45% 53% 53% 51% 47% 29% 37% 34% Both Municipal & Provincial Governments 22% 36% 38% 26% 23% 32% 25% 47% 36% 40% BC Assessment 10% 12% 8% 9% 17% 13% 14% 11% 14% 13% Provincial Government 7% 3% 7% 9% 6% 2% 7% 10% 12% 10% Other 1% 0% 2% 3% 1% 2% 7% 3% 1% 3% * Combined agreement (4 + 3), where 4= Strongly agree and 1= Strongly disagree

35 35 SECTION 4: COMMUNICATION 59% of residential property owners believe that an increase in their property assessment automatically means an increase in their property taxes Figure 18 shows that 59% of residential property owners surveyed (vs. 57% in 2010) believed that an increase in their property assessment automatically means an increase in their property taxes. As in 2010, agreement with this statement increased sharply among those who had their properties inspected in the past year. On a regional basis, agreement ranged from 69% in the North Fraser assessment region to 51% in the Vancouver Island region. Figure 18: Perception that an Increased Assessment Results in Higher Property Taxes Total 59% 57% Appealed 49% 54% Inspected 53% 65% Inquired 60% 58% % of residential property owners believe that a decrease in their property assessment automatically means a decrease in their property taxes Figure 19 shows that 30% of residential property owners believe that a decrease in their assessment automatically means a decrease in their property taxes. Those who had their properties inspected in the past year experienced a notable increase in agreement compared to other cohorts. Agreement with this statement ranged from 42% in the South Fraser assessment region to less than 25% in the Vancouver Island, Vancouver Sea-to-Sky, and Kootenays regions.

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