2018 GuildQuality Customer Satisfaction Leaders, Part 4

by Kacey Larsen

Pathway Design & Construction

Seattle, Wash.
GQ All-time Recommend Rate: 98.94%
GQ 2017 Recommend Rate: 100%
Number of Jobs in 2017: 28
Type of Firm: Design/Build + Full-service Remodeler

  • Approach to problem resolution: Communication is our key element to customer satisfaction. Critical components that make up quality communication are listening, asking clarifying questions and paying close attention to detail. To avoid miscommunication, we have integrated an easy-to-use, online platform for all our communication needs with our clients. Our client-homeowners can access and assess their project from any computer, tablet, or smartphone. They can track photos of the construction progress, see the build schedule, view and approve change orders and selections, as well as access other important documents. Clients can easily communicate with our team 24/7. Employees are trained on using the platform and have office support should issues arise. Since integrating this solution company-wide, we have seen a remarkable increase in our ratings for communication.
  • Challenging job type: Every project is different and has its own challenges. With that being said, we’ve found that clients who have tight or fixed budgets  tend to be harder to satisfy. We value every client and want to produce high-quality work with minimal stress to the homeowner; however when a client is on a tight budget, compromises must be made. This can be frustrating and challenging for them, whether it’s a kitchen remodel, a bathroom addition or some other remodel project. We simply look for the best solutions and compromises as a partner to our clients. Sometimes the homeowner purchases their own supplies that may be of lower quality or a salvaged item that may end up needing additional parts to make it work and, in the end, may not save any money. However, tightening of the budget can create problems in other areas, such as working with a trade partner that has poor schedule management skills, or a trade partner rushing to complete tasks which results in not fully completing them or not to our satisfaction or standards. It can also lead to less than ideal products being installed resulting in homeowner frustration about faulty products. To avoid disappointment, we are transparent in what we can deliver from the beginning (e.g. the quality, budget, timeframe), and we ensure regular communication and updates throughout the project.
  • Using recommend rate: We are certainly proud of our ratings, and on reflection, we are not taking full advantage of this. Our current efforts include:
    directing customers to review our GuildQuality ratings from our website; including the link to our GuildQuality reviews in each of our email signatures; integration of the GuildQuality page and platform with social media channels; and posting updates and new positive reviews on Facebook and our website. We need to explore other ways we can utilize our satisfaction scores with potential clients, especially in person (e.g. visual content in the office, reference rating in flyers and posters, and at seasonal trade and home shows) as well.

Quality Cut Design Remodel

Red Wing, Minn.
GQ All-time Recommend Rate: 95.12%
GQ 2017 Recommend Rate: 95.12%
Number of Jobs in 2017: 25
Type of Firm: Design/Build + Full-service Remodeler + Home Improvement/Replacement

  • Approach to problem resolution: We practice open communication and try to keep the customer up-to-date at all times. When a problem does occur, they already have our trust. I tell our employees to be honest and friendly—it goes a long way.
  • Challenging job type: There is no one project that stands out differently. It is just managing expectations that is the key. It’s usually when they have different expectations that problems might occur.
  • Using recommend rate: We have the GuildQuality link on our website, so potential clients can look at our reviews and comments. I mention that they can look at a third-party survey company to look further into our past clients.

Rebath of the Triad/Triangle/Wilmington/Myrtle Beach

Greensboro, N.C.
GQ All-time Recommend Rate: 94.83%
GQ 2017 Recommend Rate: 93.47%
Number of Jobs in 2017: 987
Type of Firm: Bathroom Remodeling

  • Approach to problem resolution: We use training and customer feedback to keep our quality high. If a problem occurs, we communicate with the customer effectively and address the issue quickly.
  • Challenging job type: We only offer bathroom remodeling.
  • Using recommend rate: Our sales representatives use printed copies of our GuildQuality scores as a part of their sales presentation. We have links to our GuildQuality webpage on our website.

Reliable Remodeling

Birmingham, Ala.
GQ All-time Recommend Rate: 100%
GQ 2017 Recommend Rate: 100%
Number of Jobs in 2017: 13
Type of Firm: Design/Build + Full-service Remodeler + Home Improvement/Replacement

  • Approach to problem resolution: First off, a tight and detailed scope of work broken down by cost codes, including exclusions, is a must for a client’s thorough understanding of what is and isn’t included. Second, the same language from the scope of work is used to write the purchase orders for the labor, so this avoids miscommunications on the production end. Third, allowances and selections are thoroughly vetted and confirmed so that installations occur with the right material. Our instituting the use of Buildertrend three years ago helps us manage this unconnected world. We have learned that much of the information flowing between and inside the project triangle (contractor/trades/homeowner), while using Buildertrend, is organic now. This enormous amount of information about the flow of the project leads to build trust between and inside the triangle. When challenges occur, our clients really they see us more like a partner with shared goals of a beautifully crafted job with a process that leaves the owner happy to have done business with us.
  • Challenging job type: For interior renovations, the start date of a project is exciting for an owner. It is the culmination of the planning phase of the project, and they are finally getting to see the hammering and nailing begin. This is the first let-down that an owner experiences as they quickly find out the excitement and sizzle quickly fade away in the dust that is being generated. The disruption to daily life becomes monotonous and ongoing. This is where we should shine. The process from beginning to the end should always be about the owner being informed. Mistakes occur—it is a fact. If the owner knows we care, then it is much easier to resolve any questions and conflicts fade away. At Reliable Remodeling, we treat each job and client the same regardless of the size and valuation of the job.
  • Using recommend rate: We tout our credentials often. We use these scores and recommendation rate online, on our print media and social media.

Schulte Restorations

Hopewell, N.J.
GQ All-time Recommend Rate: 98.36%
GQ 2017 Recommend Rate: 100%
Number of Jobs in 2017: 10
Type of Firm: Full-service Remodeler

  • Approach to problem resolution: We work with homeowners who value high levels of service and are willing to pay for it. Remodeling is a very disruptive activity, so it’s very challenging at times to keep the process from intruding into the homeowner’s use of their home more than they are willing to accept. We try to address all of the possible issues before the project starts in our preconstruction meetings, and we try to err on the side of extra protection rather than minimal protection of their homes. We meet weekly with the homeowners and a standard question on the agenda is, “How can we reduce the impact on your lives?” Our employees are trained to drop everything and deal with any issues as soon as the homeowner raises them, but, more importantly, they are told to keep a vigilant eye out so these situations can be prevented before they occur.
  • Challenging job type: Bathrooms and kitchens are toughest because they have such an impact on the homeowners’ lives. They are intrusive—often located right in the heart of the home—and prevent [clients] from using a vital part of their homes. Kitchen and bathrooms follow very predictable schedules, and we try to keep the homeowners informed as much as possible. A good example is the lag between countertop templating and installation. We need to stress that work is happening off-site (the fabrication of the countertop), and until it’s back on-site, we really can’t do much because so many of the next steps are dependent on the countertop being in place. Communication is paramount.
  • Using recommend rate: We refer all our prospective customers to our GuildQuality results so they can see we have a proven track record. Some customers like to use Houzz because it features reviews of contractors, [but] we prefer to point them to the GuildQuality surveys because they are more in-depth.

Sideco/Windco Inc.

North Little Rock, Ark.
GQ All-time Recommend Rate: 99.07%
GQ 2017 Recommend Rate: 100%
Number of Jobs in 2017: 56
Type of Firm: Home Improvement/Replacement

  • Approach to problem resolution: We have very trained and experienced teams and project managers. We are an employee-based company so training and oversight is of the utmost importance. Our philosophy is to always do everything the best way possible, and when you do 1,000s of steps on each job the very best possible,  you will usually be in good shape and your customer will be very satisfied when you get to the end. By engaging your customer from the beginning, keeping them informed of the process and then following through will head off most problems that may arise.
  • Challenging job type: Any job that creates more of a mess, especially if the mess is in their domain, has the potential to cause problems. This is why cleanup [and] neatness are of the utmost importance. We at Sideco pride ourselves on how neat and clean we are. For example, on window and door replacements, we first secure the interior by installing a curtain zip wall. This confines the dust and makes cleanup much easier
  • Using recommend rate: Reviews, recommendations [and] civic memberships are all tops in today’s world, and we, of course, tout ours and encourage potential customers to engage our review sites as well as talk live to a previous customer or two.

Signature Home Services

Keller, Texas
GQ All-time Recommend Rate: 95.65%
GQ 2017 Recommend Rate: 88.24%
Number of Jobs in 2017: 12
Type of Firm: Design/Build + Home Improvement/Replacement

  • Approach to problem resolution: We invest a lot of time and effort at the very beginning of a job to help clients make their selections and to create the design of our client’s dreams. Because of the amount of time that is invested at the very beginning, our clients very quickly are accustomed to sharing their honest opinions and asking their questions. We address so much of the design and cost at the beginning that once we get started with construction it’s a smooth process. Our clients feel comfortable discussing questions or concerns if they arise because they have already seen how we respond to their questions—we establish trust from the start. Our team meets monthly to make sure we are all on the same page. We are continually discussing ways in which we can exceed expectations.
  • Challenging job type: Bathrooms and kitchens could be tougher if we didn’t go through our process, but since we spend hours in a client’s home discussing, planning, measuring, making selections and crafting a design before we begin this greatly improves the satisfaction from our clients. Through this process, we develop a relationship with our clients to understand what their needs and wants are, resulting in a space that is beautiful, they love to live in, and are proud to share with family and friends. By going through this process, we build their trust in us, [so] even when a change order comes up due to something we couldn’t have predicted, they are kept informed, given options and know exactly what is being done before we get started.
  • Using recommend rate: We direct our new leads to our website to read our reviews and feedback. Our GuildQuality reviews are also populating our Google and Houzz pages, and we all know how big reviews are now. Our customer satisfactions scores are a huge indicator for us internally as it allows us to know what we are doing right and what areas need improvement. We always share with potential clients that we use a third-party survey at the end of our jobs, and we’re proud to share our rates and reviews.

Slater Painting Inc.

Manchester, Mich.
GQ All-time Recommend Rate: 98.53%
GQ 2017 Recommend Rate: 100%
Number of Jobs in 2017: 9
Type of Firm: Home Improvement

  • Approach to problem resolution: I spend more time before [clients] actually sign the estimate and verify the scope and expectations of the final look. And I never oversell the project—under promise and over deliver. Sometimes after meeting with the clients, we realize that they may not be a good fit for what we provide.
  • Challenging job type: Our approach is always the same: high standards for our employees [and] materials. Always [be] transparent with all our actions, and customer first!
  • Using recommend rate: Yes, at initial estimate/contact.

Solarshield Home Improvement

Altoona, Pa.
GQ All-time Recommend Rate: 87.84%
GQ 2017 Recommend Rate: 89.83%
Number of Jobs in 2017: 304
Type of Firm: Home Improvement/Replacement

  • Approach to problem resolution: I think it starts with the culture of our company. We consider it an honor that our customers have placed their trust and the care of their homes with Solarshield Home Improvement. We have set up the infrastructure of the business so that trust is earned and the customer’s needs are most important. If a situation does develop in the field we listen to the customer. We avoid just saying “No” or “We don’t do that.” Instead, our policy is if we can do what the customer is asking and it doesn’t hurt us, we do it.
  • Challenging job type: The cleanliness of the jobsite is a major contributor to customer satisfaction. This is magnified for interior projects, such as bathroom and kitchen remodels, since the customer has to live among the remodel. With these interior projects we find it to be helpful to take every step to minimize the spread of dirt, dust and/or debris. Taking extra time to plastic off doorways and using techniques that minimize dirt and dust will be appreciated by the customer. We show the customer what steps we are taking to eliminate the spread of dirt and dust. Clearly defining the expectations and taking every step to minimize the spread of dirt and dust will lead to a better customer experience.
  • Using recommend rate: We think we do a very good job of educating the customer on how to buy unfinished goods. We explain to them upfront that they are not going to know if they made a good deal until the project is ordered, delivered and installed. We explain to the customer that every company they interview will say, “We are the best.” That is where we bring out the customer satisfaction ratings. When they see our overall “likely to recommend” rating over 90 percent, that makes a difference at that kitchen table.

Southwest Exteriors

San Antonio, Texas
GQ All-time Recommend Rate: 97.62%
GQ 2017 Recommend Rate: 97.1%
Number of Jobs in 2017: 862
Type of Firm: Home Improvement/Replacement

  • Approach to problem resolution: Our biggest step begins with our core values of “love” and “excellence.” We train every employee—from receptionist to installer—on those core values, and they are reflected in all of our interactions with our clients. We strongly believe that if we treat the client and their home the same way we would treat ours then we avoid a lot of potential issues. When those issues do arise, we empower our team to make the situation right. We make sure to address the issue immediately with the sole focus of making sure the customer feels loved and that we care about their home. If needed, we will get our owner or CEO on-site to make sure it is 100 percent resolved.
  • Challenging job type: We do not necessarily approach our jobs any differently. We make sure we have a high level of communication with the client and set the proper expectations on what is going to happen during each stage of their installation. In the last year, we created a position called our Customer Experience Champion. This person’s role is to make sure the client feels welcome from day one and is their central point of contact throughout the installation process. This significantly reduces the stress of the homeowner and assures them that their project is important to us. Since we have added this new position, we have nearly doubled our online reviews.
  • Using recommend rate: With the recent shifts in consumers using reviews prior to purchase, we really do not have to use them as a selling point. More and more, we have customers choosing us solely on what they read about us online. Having as many great reviews as we have does help significantly in the home and aids in closing deals though. It truly allows the homeowner to vet us prior to coming into their home.

Stebnitz Builders

Elkhorn, Wis.
GQ All-time Recommend Rate: 98.29%
GQ 2017 Recommend Rate: 100%
Number of Jobs in 2017: 63
Type of Firm: Design/Build + Full-service Remodeler

  • Approach to problem resolution: Our company culture is built on listening and communication. Our clients recognize the lengths we go to understand everything they want us to know, so expectations aren’t missed. Our clients want and deserve to be “in the know,” which helps avoid potential upsets and problems. But problems do still occur. The difference is we are out in front of those issues. When the inevitable one slips by, we own it, plan the correction, and communicate that with the client immediately. Our level of regular communication and availability also make us a 24/7 home advisor and information funnel for our clients. Phone, text, e-mail, GoToMeetings, messenger, and FaceTime—to name a few—make us accessible when it’s most important to our clients.
  • Challenging job type: The larger whole-house remodeling projects can sometimes be the toughest to earn the highest satisfaction. That’s simply the nature of the beast. With more moving parts and opportunities for things to go sideways, the need for communication is that much more critical to the success of a project and the client’s satisfaction. It’s been our experience that our clients are usually understanding when issues arise, especially when they either know it’s coming or we’ve been upfront about it right away.
  • Using recommend rate: Our scores form our GuildQuality surveys are impressive. We are extremely proud of the many wonderful things our clients have to say about us and their experience with Stebnitz Builders. We believe this is the No. 1 tool we can give potential clients to begin to create a relationship with us. Entering into a remodeling project can be a very unnerving experience for homeowners. Most only do it once in their lifetime and they’ve all heard the horror stories others have told. GuildQuality allows us to paint a very different picture of what a professional home remodeling experience looks like and what clients should expect from whatever contractor they work with, even if it’s not with us.

System Pavers

Santa Ana, Calif.
GQ All-time Recommend Rate: 92.58%
GQ 2017 Recommend Rate: 92.65%
Number of Jobs in 2017: 4,161
Type of Firm: Home Improvement/Replacement + Outdoor Specialist

  • Approach to problem resolution: Communication is key. We ensure the homeowner is kept well-informed every step of the way. Customers have access to an online portal, where they are able to access real-time progress of their project—from materials being ordered to payment due dates. They also have the names and contact information of every individual that is involved in their project—design consultant, construction coordinator, project manager, etc. If they have questions, they will know exactly who to call.
  • Challenging job type: We solely specialize in outdoor living projects, so there really isn’t much variation.
  • Using recommend rate: We have an extensively detailed website along with a very widespread online presence on a variety of online review/social sites. Monthly, we update our website with current quotes strictly from the “likely to recommend” question so potential customers are able to see the opinion from real, previous customers. We also meet with every customer for an in-home consultation for every project. The design consultants are sure to inform the customer of our achievements and current standings with satisfaction scores and recommendation rates for both the company and the individual consultant.

The Board Store Home Improvements, Inc.

La Crosse, Wis.
GQ All-time Recommend Rate: 97.39%
GQ 2017 Recommend Rate: 96.56%
Number of Jobs in 2017: 822
Type of Firm: Home Improvement/Replacement

  • Approach to problem resolution: When we set appointments with a potential customer, we either personally hand them our pre-appointment package or we mail it to them if that appointment is made over the phone or online. This package explains our processes; introduces our people; and informs them of our awards, licenses, financing and referral programs as well as shares testimonials from past customers. We leave a space for them to jot down any questions they might want answered, so they are also prepared before the salesperson arrives for the appointment. If we run into a problem, we ask our employees to put themselves into the shoes of the customer and see how they might feel. Smile through the process, and be understanding of the situation is the best advice we can offer to help smooth things over.
  • Challenging job type: Probably the most complicated jobs we perform are complete bath remodels. There are so many variables when doing a bath remodel. If a customer chooses a vanity they like but the plumbing does not line up correctly, then we need to make sure they are informed the plumbing will need to be moved to accommodate their choices. We have weekly sales meetings to bring problems and resolutions to light. We train our sales staff to be very thorough in their presentations and have a survey they need to answer, so we avoid issues in the installation as best as possible. Obviously, we cannot anticipate some of the strange, weird issues that arise once an installation begins, but we can lay the groundwork to make the customer as well-informed as possible.
  • Using recommend rate: Each of our sales staff has a link to our GuildQuality page on their iPads, and they use this page in their sales process in the home. We also direct link our reviews to our website, and we print every review and place them in binders available in our showrooms for walk-in customers to view. We proudly display our Customer Excellence awards on the wall in our main showroom entrance, and we have a “testimonial wall” where we show our GuildQuality scores.

Twin Cities Siding Professionals

St. Paul, Minn. 
GQ All-time Recommend Rate: 97.37%
GQ 2017 Recommend Rate: 94.83%
Number of Jobs in 2017: 160
Type of Firm: Home Improvement/Replacement

  • Approach to problem resolution: Clear and consistent communication is always the key. We want to make sure the scope of work and specifications of the job are clearly spelled out in the final work order, and the homeowner completely understands what is and is not included. When a customer chooses us, we have another meeting to go over the scope of work to prevent them mixing us up with other contractors who probably gave them verbal promises. We also hold a preconstruction meeting with the project manager, homeowner and salesperson to “hand off the baton.” This meeting is necessary to make sure the installation team fully understands what the salesperson and homeowner agreed to.
  • Challenging job type: The longer the project the greater chance there is for customer dissatisfaction—this is true regardless of project type. Sometimes homeowners just get tired of having their home or yard in disarray. We are very clear with our clients how long a project will take so their expectations are set. Also, if the installers are doing great work, are cordial and attentive to the homeowner’s needs, this should mitigate most, if not all, customer dissatisfaction.
  • Using recommend rate: We are very proud of our 10-year affiliation with GuildQuality! We publish our results on our website, and we present [them] to all our potential clients during sales presentations. No other company offers completely unbiased reviews that potential clients can trust with as much confidence as GuildQuality.

 Two Storey Building

Bolton, Mass.
GQ All-time Recommend Rate: 98.31%
GQ 2017 Recommend Rate: 100%
Number of Jobs in 2017: 23
Type of Firm: Design/Build + New Construction

  • Approach to problem resolution: Our goal is always 100 percent satisfaction. Our employees know this, support this and are enabled to take action to achieve this. They are trained to offer immediate solutions to small-scale issues that develop and know to contact the owner to work toward solution to larger issues. The know they can spend extra time to help a customer if requested. They also know our trade partners have also been encouraged to think creatively to solve issues that occur. We take a holistic team approach to solving problems by getting everyone involved that is necessary and helpful.
  • Challenging job type: Honestly, every type of project has its own challenges and potential for issues that must be resolved to satisfy the customer. We work very hard at focusing on open communication with the customer throughout the project, including asking them to review the work we’ve done to be sure it meets their satisfaction. We also show examples of previous work that is similar in scope, as a benchmark for the way we approach the work, and to demonstrate our craftsmanship in advance to be sure that is what this customer is looking for.
  • Using recommend rate: We share our customer testimonials, project pictures and GuildQuality ratings with every potential new customer. We want anyone considering us to look at the work we have done, talk to our satisfied customers, and see our ratings as proof of the sincerity of our commitment to customer satisfaction. This is very important toward building credibility for our company in the eyes of the potential customer.

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