2018 GuildQuality Customer Service Leaders, Part 2

Degnan Design-Build-Remodel

Madison, Wis.
degnandesignbuildremodel.com
GQ All-time Recommend Rate: 97.37%
GQ 2017 Recommend Rate: 100%
Number of Jobs in 2017: 16
Type of Firm: Design/Build

  • Approach to problem resolution: As a design/build company, it is critical for us to document our clients’ wishes and expectations during design and estimating, in the scope of work.When there is a problem, we turn to our company philosophy for guidance:
    Do it right. It’s the only acceptable outcome. Do it right the first time and when, occasionally, that does not work, then go back and do it again. Do it right doesn’t necessarily mean expensive or extravagant. Do it right means getting the fundamentals right, and it can also be creative, fun and unique! Do it right means that it’s just right for you: “Designed for Your Life.”
    In light of our company philosophy, our team is empowered to make sure that things are right, and that leads to customer satisfaction.
  • Challenging job type: The longer that a project takes, the more likely that we are to have a difficult time with customer satisfaction. It is imperative to complete projects on time and on budget. A project that is not on time will rarely be on budget, because problems will arise or the cost of management and labor will drag on and cause budget overruns. When it’s on budget, we are happy, and if being on time leads to on budget, then typically both we and our clients are satisfied indeed!
  • Using recommend rate: Our five-star reviews appear throughout our website. Our website links back to GuildQuality. GuildQuality has high SEO leading prospective clients to find us.

DiFabion Remodeling, Inc.

Indian Trail, N.C.
difabionremodeling.com
GQ All-time Recommend Rate: 99.27%
GQ 2017 Recommend Rate: 100%
Number of Jobs in 2017: 28
Type of Firm: Design/Build

  • Approach to problem resolution: Always be looking two-to-three steps ahead and try to anticipate problems. We have our field staff and designers document the progress of a job by entering job log notes and taking pictures at every step. When we have a walk-through with the client, we document what was discussed and send a summary to the client for approval. If a problem does arise, we review our documentation and request a meeting with the client as soon as possible to address the situation and resolve it expeditiously and amicably. We also train employees to listen to the homeowner and put them at ease while we come up with a solution to a particular problem.
  • Challenging job type: Bathroom remodels tend to be the toughest projects to earn high satisfaction from clients. Bathrooms are usually the most complex rooms in the house with many design decisions required of the homeowner. There is also a higher level of detail expected in a bathroom, so meeting a client’s expectations can be challenging. Budgets can also be a concern as homeowners think that such a small space would be less than a larger project, when in reality, all of the aforementioned challenges of a bathroom remodel require a significant amount of time and money to meet.
  • Using recommend rate: We promote our GuildQuality reviews by sharing them on social media and proudly displaying our awards on our website and in the office for future clients to see.

Doing It Right Roofing Siding Remodeling LLC

Russellton, Pa.
roofingcontractorpittsburgh.com
GQ All-time Recommend Rate: 96.55%
GQ 2017 Recommend Rate: 94.67%
Number of Jobs in 2017: 388
Type of Firm: Home Improvement/Replacement

  • Approach to problem resolution: We believe that our problem-resolving steps our second to none in the industry, based on three key aspects [of] our company policy. First, we have an 18-page detailed contract specification, explaining the installation in step-by-step detail. Second, we send out a detailed pre-installation email, describing what to expect before, during and after the job process. Third, we perform on-site inspections before, during and after, and do not accept payment until a final inspection is completed and all issues, if any, have been addressed.
  • Challenging job type: I have been in business for over 35 years and in the roofing industry for 25 of those years, exclusively. Prior to that, I focused on interior remodeling and additions. I can say without a shadow of a doubt that any interior remodeling installation is more challenging than any exterior remodeling project. The best thing that should be taken into account with interior remodeling is that you need to be sensitive to the customers’ living conditions more than you would than work outside. The best thing to do is be honest and tell them the truth. This is going to inconvenience them for a period of time, but the inconvenience will be worth the trouble. Every interior project is an issue for a homeowner, regardless [of] how cooperative they are.
  • Using recommend rate: In our market, there are few contractors that are using the GuildQuality rating system. Most are afraid to use it in fear of losing business and not being able to keep up to the expectations that a homeowner wants. As we have recently won the Guildmaster award for two years in a row, we use that as a marketing tool, letting homeowners know that we are not afraid to stick our necks out and, most of all, if we have problems, the ratings show that we resolve them. We find most homeowners respect that and deal with us because we are upfront, honest and our ratings speak for themselves.

DreamMaker Bath & Kitchen of Orland Park

Orland Park, Ill.
dreambkop.com
GQ All-time Recommend Rate: 97.96%
GQ 2017 Recommend Rate: 100%
Number of Jobs in 2017: 10
Type of Firm: Design/Build

  • Approach to problem resolution: We set our clients’ expectations, starting with our very first communication with them and carry that through not just into the entire design process but during the construction phase as well. This heads off a lot of potential problems before they manifest. We’ve also trained our employees to be exceptionally good listeners and to understand that everyone feels they are correct from their perspective. Don’t quickly get defensive—genuinely try to have a thorough understanding of what the client is dissatisfied with by asking clarifying questions. Most importantly, they are taught to ask the client how they feel an issue should be resolved.
  • Challenging job type: Kitchen remodels can present the greatest challenge for us simply because it’s the room which has become the heart of the home and, therefore, the most disruptive to be without for a client. We start during the design process by educating the clients on just how their lives will be affected having to live without the services and activities that usually take place in the kitchen. We help them create a plan for how they’re going to temporarily adjust. By making them aware of what to expect and how to properly prepare, it makes it much easier for them to cope. Human nature is to fear the unknown, so we communicate with them on a constant basis as construction begins so they always know what to expect and can be prepared for it. Having to live without services and conveniences that they’re accustomed to (i.e. electricity and running water) isn’t fun, but [by] knowing what to expect next they can be prepared and not be unpleasantly surprised.
  • Using recommend rate: During our first communication with a potential client, we ask if they will also be contacting other remodeling companies. If they answer yes, we ask them what criterion they will use for making a decision as to who they will hire. We mention GuildQuality, explain the services they provide, and ask if they have already visited our website and clicked on the GuildQuality link. If they have not, then we email them the direct link to our account, and explain to them that all remodeling companies are not created equal [and] they owe it to themselves to be diligent consumers and do their homework. If they indicate they are not interested in doing that, it’s a strong indicator to us they are in all likelihood not a good fit for our company.

Encore Construction Company, Inc.

Dennisport, Mass.
encoreco.com
GQ All-time Recommend Rate: 93.98%
GQ 2017 Recommend Rate: 88.89%
Number of Jobs in 2017: 13
Type of Firm: Design/Build

  • Approach to problem resolution: We feel that communication is the key part of problem solving. We have weekly meetings to discuss challenges on jobs and as a team come up with solutions that work for us as well as the client. As soon as a challenge occurs, the entire team decides on the proper resolution, and then either sales or the project manager will discuss with the client and explain how it will be resolved. Having the experience to see challenges before they become disasters is what our clients expect.
  • Challenging job type: A whole-house remodel is the toughest, especially if the client is trying to live there during the construction. We do our best to section off where we are working, but when the client returns at the end of the day they take down all the barriers and we have to start over again the next day. We just have to be diligent about the daily clean up.
  • Using recommend rate: We use all the comments for our marketing purposes. Clients almost always say they will write a letter of recommendation, but how often do you really get them? At least with the comments, we can use those with before-and-after pictures.

Erdmann Exteriors & Construction

Arlington Heights, Ill.
erdmannexteriors.com
GQ All-time Recommend Rate: 94.68%
GQ 2017 Recommend Rate: 96.3%
Number of Jobs in 2017: 115
Type of Firm: Design/Build + Full-service Remodeler

  • Approach to problem resolution: The most important thing we can do to ensure customer satisfaction is to set realistic expectations from the very beginning. The salesmen need to ensure their quotes are accurate and will allow for “worst-case scenario” situations. Contracts need to be detailed and explicit. The salesmen and project managers as well as the customers sit down together for a preconstruction walk-through to discuss timeline, possible obstacles and ensure all parties are on the same page in regards to deliverables. The minute a problem arises, we analyze the ways in which we can proceed and include the customer in this conversation. We also lean on our general manager who serves as a liaison between the salesmen, project managers, customers and company management. We apologize when necessary and own responsibility for mistakes when they are ours—that is always the first best step in problem resolution.
  • Challenging job type: The hardest part of decking projects is meeting timeline expectations. We are located in Chicagoland, and the weather can be temperamental. When the snow starts to melt and spring flowers bloom, customers begin thinking about enjoying the summer months on a new deck. Unfortunately when they start to engage in conversations with salesmen, our production schedule for windows and siding as well as other remodeling projects puts us out 6 to 10 weeks. Although we ensure that our customers receive an accurate estimate on production time frame, they become frustrated they will spend a majority of the summer in queue. In addition, the warranty requirements of some decking materials require that we sometimes place screws in a visible position that slightly diminishes their aesthetics approval.
  • Using recommend rate: We frequently mention to customers that GuildQuality scores aren’t simply compiled based on the quantity of installations but the quality of our products and installation processes as evaluated by our customers. The positive feedback we have consistently received from customers as measured by a third party (GuildQuality) serves as additional evidence to those customers reaching out because they have seen our work and heard great things about the company.

Exovations

Cumming, Ga.
exovations.com
GQ All-time Recommend Rate: 91.21%
GQ 2017 Recommend Rate: 91.25%
Number of Jobs in 2017: 818
Type of Firm: Design/Build + Home Improvement/Replacement

  • Approach to problem resolution: In construction, problems will happen, but our process is carefully designed and implemented across all phases of the customer experience to ensure we minimize problems and quickly address them when they arise. It all starts with our educational and consultative sales style. We find that the more our customers learn about their options, the better informed their decisions are. Then, we provide a detailed, written contract so that prospects know exactly what is being done and how much it will cost. At Exovations, the quote becomes the contract, which assures you that the scope of the project and the price will be exactly what was agreed to. Once the contract is signed, we then provide each customer with an assigned project manager. He walks through the contract with the customer before any work starts to ensure everything is 100 percent accurate. At the preconstruction meeting, we provide a written project schedule outlining when we’re coming and what work will be performed on those days. We also provide a finish date and a final walk-through appointment. Throughout the project, our customers may login to our customer portal on our website for 24/7 project status. Constant communication is critical. Our project managers call each day of the project to confirm the day’s events and any changes if necessary. At the final walk-through, project managers show our customers every detail of the work performed. Finally, we provide our customers with total protection. We are state licensed, bonded and fully insured for workers’ compensation and general liability. We also offer our own limited lifetime workmanship warranty, so we’ll come back to repair our work should our customer ever have any problems down the road.
  • Challenging job type: Honestly, we do not see a pattern of “tough reviews” by product/service type. We run fairly consistently across all products/services. In fact when we do receive a “tough review,” it’s almost always related to our customer feeling that we did not meet one of our three brand promise components versus a specific product/service complaint. We respond to all “tough reviews” in the same style: 1) own our “side of the fence;” 2) always reach out for a meeting to discuss how we can make them happy (within reason); and 3) report back on the final resolution, even if we could not make them happy.
  • Using recommend rate: The Exovations brand promise is this: Our home improvement process gives homeowners an on-time, on-budget remodeling project with a surprisingly easy, stress-free renovation experience from start to finish. In order to make that claim, we better be measuring it. With GuildQuality, we do exactly that [and] ask three specific yes/no questions: 1) Was your project delivered on time? 2) Was your project delivered on budget? 3) Did Exovations provide you a stress-free remodeling experience? Our reviews are used as proof points for our brand promise on our website, [during] in-home presentations, on social media and as ad extensions in our paid search advertisements.

Extended Home Living Services & To The Top Home Elevators

Arlington Heights, Ill.
ehls.com
GQ All-time Recommend Rate: 97.97%
GQ 2017 Recommend Rate: 100%
Number of Jobs in 2017: 794
Type of Firm: Home Mobility & Accessibility Solutions

  • Approach to problem resolution: Customer service is one of our biggest strengths. We do an excellent job taking care of our customers, and everyone is trained to always be kind and patient with customers.
  • Challenging job type: Residential elevator installations seem to be the toughest. There is so much that goes into the installation of an elevator: construction for the hoistway, installing the elevator itself and inspecting to ensure it is ready for use. Those who are involved have to communicate properly to make sure everything goes smoothly.
  • Using recommend rate: We have a very high satisfaction score/recommendation rate and are very happy to get such positive feedback on a consistent basis. I have optimized our page so that future customers can find it when they are looking to see how reputable EHLS is as a company. For example, our rating page is optimized to show up at the top of organic search results for the following keyword phrases: “Extended Home Living Services reviews” and “EHLS Reviews.” We also analyze the feedback and comments to see what we are doing well and what we need to improve on. Overall, GuildQuality has been very helpful for us!

Exterior Source

Richmond & Tidewater, Va.
exteriorsourceva.com
GQ All-time Recommend Rate: 97.5%
GQ 2017 Recommend Rate: 97.65%
Number of Jobs in 2017: 1,869
Type of Firm: Home Improvement/Replacement

  • Approach to problem resolution: We believe in a system of checks and balances. We’ve implemented a process where people from each key department review all the paperwork from each sale. This allows us to address any issues, and it makes the process as smooth as possible for our customers. If a customer has a concern, we’re quick to get a manager involved. We think that makes our customers feel like their concern is being heard and addressed.
  • Challenging job type: Projects that take longer are usually the toughest to earn the highest satisfaction on. We’ve found that setting a level of expectation during the sales process is crucial. People forget that replacing siding or a roof is a very invasive process that can take anywhere from a few days to a couple of weeks. Giving the customer accurate start dates and completion dates puts them at ease and gives us time to do the job right.
  • Using recommend rate: We train our sales reps to do a great job of “selling our company.” To do that, we need to back up what we are saying, so our potential customers know we are telling the truth. Showing our high customer satisfaction scores helps us to do just that.

Finished Basements Plus

Wixom, Mich.
finishedbasementsplus.com
GQ All-time Recommend Rate: 93%
GQ 2017 Recommend Rate: 93.33%
Number of Jobs in 2017: 147
Type of Firm: Design/Build

  • Approach to problem resolution: We do not release a job to begin work until it has gone through our multiple processes to ensure every detail is worked on. Even if the calendar has an opening, we do not start a project until it is completely ready to begin. We train our employees to own their work—if there is a mistake, fix it.
  • Challenging job type: The toughest jobs for us are the smaller ones. Homeowners tend to have the skill and knowledge to complete this size project on their own but would prefer to have a specialized company do the work instead due to timing. We do our best to ensure the schedule is outlined, and we have educated the homeowners on our processes and timing for their specific project.
  • Using recommend rate: We love displaying and sharing our [satisfaction] scores. Our sales team uses them whenever possible to point out that we are different from competitors, who do not provide a level of customer service that we do. This industry is full of complaints from homeowners and bad contractors, [so] we love to stand out as the company who cares and will do the work right, the first time.

Forest Glen Construction Co., Inc.

Highland Park, Ill.
forestglenconstruction.com
GQ All-time Recommend Rate: 98.75%
GQ 2017 Recommend Rate: 100%
Number of Jobs in 2017: 23
Type of Firm: Design/Build + Full-service Remodeler

  • Approach to problem resolution: We work hard to keep open dialogue with our clients. Communication is the key to customer satisfaction. Keeping [clients] informed about progress or delays prevents construction anxiety.
  • Challenging job type: We don’t approach any particular project any differently [but] the client’s expectations have to be managed from the start. The best way to ensure client satisfaction is not to sell projects to people with unrealistic expectations. With almost every difficult client, it can be determined that we failed to manage their expectations properly from the start. After all, our designers are the same, our project managers are the same, the subcontractors are the same, and the products we use are typical. The only uncommon denominator is the client.
  • Using recommend rate: We recommend to prospective clients that they visit the GuildQuality website and view for themselves how we rank with our former clients.

Foster Remodeling Solutions

Lorton, Va.
fosterremodeling.com
GQ All-time Recommend Rate: 99.06%
GQ 2017 Recommend Rate: 100%
Number of Jobs in 2017: 60
Type of Firm: Design/Build + Full-service Remodeler + Home Improvement/Replacement

  • Approach to problem resolution: We focus on our processes and procedures. We use our proven process for every job. We set the expectations with the customer upfront so they know what to expect throughout the process. If we run into anything unexpected, it is communicated to the customer right away. Keeping the customer informed is the key to happy customers.
  • Challenging job type: We haven’t experienced one project type being more difficult than another. We use our proven process specifically developed for each project type to explain the project to the client.
  • Using recommend rate: We have printed copies of our scores that we give to clients at our first presentation. We encourage clients to go online to review all of our scores. We have links on our website and in our emails to our online reviews, and encourage people to review us.

G.F. Sprague & Company, Inc.

Needham, Mass.
gfsprague.com
GQ All-time Recommend Rate: 96.01%
GQ 2017 Recommend Rate: 95.83%
Number of Jobs in 2017: 317
Type of Firm: Home Improvement/Replacement

  • Approach to problem resolution: We focus on communication—even overcommunication to a degree. We give customers multiple outlets to voice their concerns, through preconstruction meetings, final walk-through meetings, post-job interview calls, and a customer retention program which keeps us in contact and gives customers an easy avenue to voice any concerns. How we’ve trained our staff is to use these outlets to address any concerns before they become problems. When an issue does arise we listen to everything the customer has to say, then try to set up an appointment to meet with them and fully address the issue. We try to run towards the problem, rather than from it.
  • Challenging job type: The type of project would be one where we’re repairing part of a roof, chimney or gutter, [and] the end result can leave the part we didn’t work on looking less appealing by comparison. For example, if we rebuild 40 percent of a chimney, the 60 percent we didn’t work on will look worse simply due to not being new. The way we handle this is by being upfront with customers about this issue and giving them options, such as replacing the entire roof or chimney to keep a uniform look while fixing the actual damaged area. This communication works very well for us and keeps the customer aware of what may happen.
  • Using recommend rate: We print out the sheet of recent surveys and ratings for our reps to bring on each appointment to introduce people to GuildQuality. We explain how GuildQuality is a third-party survey company and how people are more willing to give them feedback than anyone else. We also emphasize how important referrals are to our company, which is reflected in the likely to recommend figure.

Home Exterior Systems, LLC

Tomball, Texas
homeexteriorsystems.com
GQ All-time Recommend Rate: 95.5%
GQ 2017 Recommend Rate: 100%
Number of Jobs in 2017: 350
Type of Firm: Home Improvement/Replacement

  • Approach to problem resolution: We schedule a preconstruction meeting to confirm all job details. We tend to set realistic expectations to the customer, [which] is how we achieve high scores.
  • Challenging job type: We tend to set realistic expectations to the customer and that is how we achieve the high scores
  • Using recommend rate: We use GuildQuality in the sales presentation

Homefix Custom Remodeling

Baltimore, Md.
homefixcustomremodeling.com
GQ All-time Recommend Rate: 86.24%
GQ 2017 Recommend Rate: 92%
Number of Jobs in 2017: 6,500
Type of Firm: Home Improvement/Replacement

  • Approach to problem resolution: At HCR, we try to provide open and transparent communications at all times. We publish the direct dial and cell phone numbers of our executive and management team members so our customers always feel like they have access to the very top of organization. HCR offers an unparalleled Triple Platinum Lifetime Warranty for all our products. This protects our customers by providing full coverages for labor and materials for the lifetime of the product.
  • Challenging job type: Our biggest challenge is staying nimble with rapid growth. We try to look at our systems through a discerning lens of the customer experience and work toward simplifying the purchase, warranty and repair process for them. We recently implemented an online-request submission platform that allows customers to upload photos of areas of concern. This has rapidly increased our solution implementation time.
  • Using recommend rate: We openly encourage our potential customers to read about us on various platforms to learn about the experiences of others. Our customer satisfaction rating is proudly displayed in our offices, to our team, and on our website. This encouragement and reinforcement reminds all involved that [we] value the tenets of customer service and our 100 percent satisfaction guarantee.

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