How to Satisfy Customers – Qualified Remodeler Magazine July 2017

BEST PRACTICE: Our team of consultants, production managers, carpenters and office staff pride themselves on proactive and responsive communication that reveals more than just the low hanging fruit of information. “Procedural listening” allows us to perform two very important tasks: First, it prompts us to ask very specific questions, not only answering “what” people would like to accomplish with their project but, maybe even more importantly, the “why.” Secondly, our clients want and deserve to be “in the know.” Our level of regular communication and availability make us a24/7 home adviser and information funnel for our clients.

Reputation Building Blocks

The third annual Qualified Remodeler / GuildQuality customer satisfaction report offers new insights on cornerstone tactics for happy clients aguildnd highlights 60 remodeling firms leading the way.
The following report was edited and written by Kacey Larsen, Kyle Clapham and Patrick O’Toole with the data and graphics
collaboration of Alex Overall, Justin Ruckman, Bailey D’Alessio and Robyn Hazelton at GuildQuality and was featured in the Qualified Remodeler Magazine JUL 2017 Issue.

The building blocks of any successful remodeling or home improvement business are many. There must be a firm handle on overhead, job costs, estimating, pricing and production, just to name a few. Further down that list but of equal importance is customer satisfaction strategy and measurement.

Remodelers usually come into the industry with a clear sense of what it takes to make customers happy. New remodelers often come with years of experience in carpentry and project management. The thinking is that happy customers are the natural byproduct of quality workmanship, fair prices and a friendly demeanor. But as GuildQuality and thousands of remodelers around the country learn, there’s a lot more to it. Customer satisfaction is a discipline unto itself and is a foundational building block of any profitable and long-term survivor in remodeling.

Twelve years ago, Qualified Remodeler offered the first of five annual surveys on customer satisfaction, running from 2005 to 2010. By surveying clients who had recently completed remodeling work, the research netted new insights into the client-relationship traits that correlated most closely with high rates of those clients who expressed a willingness to refer their remodeler. The results of those early surveys showed that timeliness, jobsite cleanliness and communication were critically important to the remodeler-client relationship. They consistently ranked higher than fair prices and quality of workmanship—the very attributes most remodelers rely on for client happiness when they come to this industry.

Of all the building blocks to a solid remodeling business, client satisfaction seemed to be getting the least attention. That was and remains today a big disconnect. Remodelers feel they are doing everything possible to make their clients happy while, in fact, seemingly small behaviors have permanently sidetracked client relationships. Customer by customer, this translates to lower levels of repeats and referrals. Both are the lifeblood of most sustainable remodeling enterprises. Perhaps most telling was and is the frustration of many remodelers who simply did not have the right information to recognize their client satisfaction shortcomings, or to pursue new behaviors to put future client relationships on the right track. Lastly, they lacked the objective customer feedback, collected by a third party, that would help them get started.

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