GuildQuality Customer Satisfaction Leaders, Part 1

by Kacey Larsen

We broke the sixty profiles into four parts featuring 15 companies in each. This is Part 1, featuring responses from Acclaim Renovation & Design; ADR Builders; All American Exteriors; American Home Design, Inc.; Architectural Building Arts; Bath Planet of Oklahoma; Beantown Home Improvements, Inc.; BH Design + Build; Brothers Services Company; Built Square, LLC; Beyers Enterprises; Callier & Thompson Kitchens, Baths, Appliances; Capitol Window and Door; Carolina Exteriors Plus, LLC; and Case Design/Remodeling of San Jose.

Each company was posed the same three questions, and we are featuring the full responses here online. [Some responses were edited for clarity and length].

  1. Problem resolution ranks highly as a driver of satisfaction. What steps do you take upfront to try to avoid having problems occur, and how do you train employees to handle such situations if/when they do arise?
  2. Quality of workmanship also ranks highly as a satisfaction driver. How do you ensure work is of the highest quality? And how do you convey workmanship to clients, especially when some of the work isn’t necessarily obvious and/or “pretty”?
  3. We know you are a customer satisfaction leader. Do your satisfied customers also help your ratings and reviews on sites like Google, Facebook, Yelp, HomeAdvisor, etc.? What is your company’s process for handling or managing such ratings/reviews?

Acclaim Renovations & Design
Mentor, Ohio

GQ All-time Recommend Rate: 96.98
GQ 2018 Recommend Rate: 100
Number of Jobs in 2018: 57
Type of Firm: Full-service Remodeler

CEO: Robert Gallese

  • Approach to problem resolution: All employees of ARD are trained to have daily discussions with the client to inform them of what’s to happen that day and the following day. We also use a client portal, CoConstruct, which tracks all information in real time including client questions and/or comments. My tradesmen have a job binder on-site which outlines every detail about the project. They are trained to either refer to the job information they’ve been given or call the office for a factual answer. The moment a client has any concerns one of my team members familiar with the specific project will answer the client. There are times, however, that the only answer we can answer is “Great question. I will do some research, then post my answer tomorrow.”
  • Delivering quality workmanship: I discuss the “emotional roller coaster” that most clients go through as a major remodel is going on. This helps in preparing the client for the days where it appears that nothing is being accomplished, although much was done in or behind walls.
  • Using and handling ratings and reviews: At the final walk-through our clients are handed a document outlining the many ways to offer opinions of my company—sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Angie’s List, Google and GuildQuality. Once a client posts their comments, we take those comments and post them to several different sites, such as Facebook and our own webpage.

ADR Builders
Baltimore, Md.

GQ All-time Recommend Rate: 100
GQ 2018 Recommend Rate: 100
Number of Jobs in 2018: 10
Type of Firm: Design/Build

CEO: Bret Stokes

  • Approach to problem resolution: Identify problems and find potential solutions prior to approaching clients with the issue.
  • Delivering quality workmanship: Legacy and experience of our carpenters and direct client referrals/testimonials.
  • Using and handling ratings and reviews: We send review requests to clients after jobs are complete through both GuildQuality and Houzz. Occasionally, clients review us on other platforms as well independently.

All American Exteriors
Locust Grove, Ga.

GQ All-time Recommend Rate: 96.29
GQ 2018 Recommend Rate: 98.21
Number of Jobs in 2018: 68
Type of Firm: Design/Build + Full-service Remodeler + Home Improvement/Replacement

CEO: Tiffany and Thomas Williams + Pete and Stephanie Williams

  • Approach to problem resolution: At All American Exteriors, customer satisfaction is paramount. It is always our company’s goal to ensure that we bring to life the visions of our customers as it relates to their home renovations. In order to do that, we establish a line of communication and customer service that is unparalleled from day one to make sure we execute every customer’s wishes.
  • Delivering quality workmanship: At All American Exteriors, we pride ourselves on our craftsmanship. Every project is based on high-quality materials and precision installation. We stand 100 percent behind our products and installations. That is why we hire the best, and we leave no stone unturned until our customers are fully satisfied.
  • Using and handling ratings and reviews: Many of our satisfied customers are able to submit a review or rating on all the sites (i.e. Facebook, Houzz, Angie’s List, etc.). Once a project is confirmed to be completed to a customer’s satisfaction, it is submitted to be surveyed. On other occasions, a customer may simply follow our company on any media platform to submit a review or rating.

American Home Design, Inc.
Goodlettsville, Tenn.

GQ All-time Recommend Rate: 94.3
GQ 2018 Recommend Rate: 94.32
Number of Jobs in 2018: 1,300
Type of Firm: Home Improvement/Replacement

CEO: Don Bruce

  • Approach to problem resolution: We try to communicate often throughout the process, from start to finish. We have a communication plan that, if executed properly, will help minimize problems before they start. Along with our customer service staff, we keep our sales representatives in this follow-up plan as another layer of customer support so that we can fully address any concerns as quickly as possible.
  • Delivering quality workmanship: We offer a lifetime workmanship warranty. We will go back and fix any problems that were caused by our workmanship at no cost to the customer. We’ve been backing this up for 40 years.
  • Using and handling ratings and reviews: Satisfied customers absolutely help our online ratings. We use a company called ReviewBuzz to survey our customers and make it easy to do online reviews for us.

Architectural Building Arts
Madison, Wis.

GQ All-time Recommend Rate: 98.9
GQ 2018 Recommend Rate: 100
Number of Jobs in 2018: 21
Type of Firm: Design/Build

CEO: Melinda Monroe and Aaron Monroe

  • Approach to problem resolution: Our process of design/build tries to solve as many problems during the design and pre-construction phases. By completing as many of the selections as we can, we avoid any changes in product and having to reselect or long lead times to stay on schedule. We continue to train our employees on the best practices of managing clients and staff. When problems arise, we manage them as a team and address the issue with integrity and acknowledge with clients.
  • Delivering quality workmanship: We have built a business in the community for 30 years based on quality construction and our reputation. Our process begins with problem solving and the materials selected to our employees and trade partners delivering quality craftsmanship at ABA to create the end result. We continue to train our employees to hold that line of quality. The majority of our clients come from referrals of past clients who are their best resource for conveying our quality of work. We make the discussion of our attention to quality part of our sales process, and it aligns with meeting their expectations.
  • Using and handling ratings and reviews: We ask clients for reviews on other sites, like Houzz and Google, and many of them enjoy following us on Facebook and Instagram. We use the reviews to help new prospects learn more about our company and answer any questions they may have from a third-party perspective.

Bath Planet of Oklahoma
Enid, Okla.

GQ All-time Recommend Rate: 99.57
GQ 2018 Recommend Rate: 100
Number of Jobs in 2018: 144
Type of Firm: Bath Specialist

CEO: Todd Berdit

  • Approach to problem resolution: We make sure the customer’s expectations are clearly understood by the design consultant, by the office staff and by the installation team. Each member of our team has been empowered to provide 100 percent customer satisfaction without hassle. We pay particular attention to the customer when they are voicing their needs and then follow up with verification of the work order before materials are produced and before the project begins.
  • Delivering quality workmanship: The best way to produce high-quality workmanship is providing comprehensive training and a thorough performance review before he or she begins working in the customer’s home. After that, you must simply be sure the installer is paid well and often! We convey our commitment to the customer by agreeing in advance to repair unforeseen damage for no extra cost. [An] example: Rotten subfloor beneath the tub or old shower pan must be replaced, but we never add money to the final bill; we just take care of the entire job without being asked and without being paid extra.
  • Using and handling ratings and reviews: We have lots of happy reviews on numerous websites. As company owner, I personally take time to respond to any comments or reviews posted, saying “thank you” to our customer and letting them know how much we love to hear from them about the overall experience they had with our company. It’s also important that any customer with a specific issue is contacted immediately to discuss solving their situation as soon as possible.

Beantown Home Improvements, Inc.
Halifax, Mass.

GQ All-time Recommend Rate: 99.38
GQ 2018 Recommend Rate: 98.28
Number of Jobs in 2018: 195
Type of Firm: Home Improvement/Replacement

CEO: James DelPrete

  • Approach to problem resolution: The biggest thing I teach all members of my crew is that if anything arises, such as breaking something or making a mistake, to inform the homeowner immediately. Almost everything can be resolved—no matter how bad it may be—if you are upfront and honest with everyone and willing to work to a common solution.
  • Delivering quality workmanship: Every job is overseen by the operations manager so that as things arise they can be rectified immediately. We are also constantly inspecting the work of our workers to make sure they are following proper install techniques.
  • Using and handling ratings and reviews: We have excellent reviews across all platforms and after every job, independent of GuildQuality, we send an email to the main point of contact requesting reviews of their experience with us.

BH Design + Build
Mohnton, Pa.

GQ All-time Recommend Rate: 100
GQ 2018 Recommend Rate: 100
Number of Jobs in 2018: 14
Type of Firm: Design/Build

CEO: Ben Horning and Brock Garber

  • Approach to problem resolution: A detailed scope of work and in-depth planning are key to a successful project. Team members are trained to set proper expectations from the beginning and, if necessary, communicate with clients during any unexpected bumps in the road.
  • Delivering quality workmanship: Our experienced project managers maintain a strong presence throughout the entire job, ensuring quality work is completed by our team as well as our trusted, long-term subcontractors. At the end of a project, our customers know we are always just a phone call away if anything does not meet their expectations.
  • Using and handling ratings and reviews: To be honest, referrals are the highest form of flattery in this business and account for about 80 percent of our work. However, we do send a survey request through GuildQuality for every single job. This helps us know what areas may need improvement and what areas our customers are most satisfied with.

Brothers Services Company
Hampstead, Md.

GQ All-time Recommend Rate: 93.3
GQ 2018 Recommend Rate: 94.68
Number of Jobs in 2018: 3,299
Type of Firm: Full-service Remodeler

CEO: John Martindale and Steve Zwagil

  • Approach to problem resolution: We try to avoid having problems in the first place by very carefully scoping every project and producing a formal scope of work that specifies all of our promises. That scope is handed off to our production team at a meeting including all three parties—the customer, sales consultant and the project management team. This ensures everyone starts on the same page. Next, every customer is assigned both a customer care manager who coordinates the logistical details of their project as well as a project manager who is responsible for the field personnel as well as the quality of their work. With that level of upfront communication, problems are relatively rare. When they do arise, each project manager has a direct line to a production team manager, who is empowered to find a fair and reasonable solution to just about any customer problem.
  • Delivering quality workmanship: Our project management (PM) team really functions as a field quality assurance team. Our goal is to find and proactively correct problems of workmanship before the customer even notices. The PM team also conducts routine site inspections, giving guidance to the production crews, and that constant supervision allows us to create a set of enforceable high standards. The crews know they will be required to rework if they don’t do it to our standards the first time.
  • Using and handling ratings and reviews: Frankly, this is a current weakness. Our review program has never really gotten off the ground simply because we have gotten a decent number of reviews organically, so implementing a formal program has been de-prioritized. That said, all reviews are reviewed in real-time by a member of our digital marketing team, and whenever we see an issue we have a resolution in the works literally within minutes. Usually negative reviews, at least in our case, are a cry for help. We have been very successful at responding to those reviews immediately and providing the service necessary to help the customer feel good enough to amend a negative review.

Built Square LLC
Seattle, Wash.

GQ All-time Recommend Rate: 98.53
GQ 2018 Recommend Rate: 100
Number of Jobs in 2018: 20
Type of Firm: Full-service Remodeler

CEO: Divven Browne and Nathan Werner

  • Approach to problem resolution: We feel that solid, effective communication is paramount to avoiding problems from occurring. We perform scheduled weekly meetings with all of our projects; host our production schedules online so that the customer can always track our progress; and ensure that customers sign off on all their finish items before we order them. Even with these steps—let’s be honest—in the remodeling business problems do arise; it’s how we handle those problems that makes the difference.
  • Delivering quality workmanship: We expect quality work from the top down. The owners of our company truly believe in a quality product, and that virtue is trickled down through our company—from project managers to lead carpenters to carpenters to laborers. Everyone knows that subpar will not be accepted.
  • Using and handling ratings and reviews: GuildQuality is our primary review site. We just implemented 50 percent surveys to make sure our customers are happy from start to finish on their project.

Byers Enterprises
Grass Valley, Calif.

GQ All-time Recommend Rate: 96.83
GQ 2018 Recommend Rate: 93.07
Number of Jobs in 2018: 1,652
Type of Firm: Home Improvement/Replacement

CEO: Ray Byers and Ray Byers Jr.

  • Approach to problem resolution: Making sure clients are happy at the end of the job starts with the ability of sales to properly set and ensure the client’s expectations. We make sure our sales staff can recognize potential issues before the sale [and] explain what the project entails, how the work will be done and what the end result will be. During the sales process, we have found that an “installation day” video can really help clients understand how a typical project is performed. It also explains the value of the job and eliminates surprises at the end. Despite our best efforts, sometimes clients are unhappy with something. In this case, our staff will do whatever we can to change the source of their frustration and, in most cases, we can do so to their satisfaction.
  • Delivering quality workmanship: To ensure quality and satisfaction, we train crews on an ongoing basis. We use a third-party survey company to make sure our clients are happy and review issues with the crews at bi-weekly production meetings. Our quality assurance manager [completes] follow-up inspections. When issues outside of our protocol are seen, digital photos are taken and shared with the crew so all members can review the issue. Another valuable tool is the “before” photos that sales capture during the pre-sale visit. These photos have saved us countless hours and resources in the cases where clients see things they never noticed before we arrived to perform work.
  • Using and handling ratings and reviews: We send out an email after every job is complete asking if there is anything that we could have done better and ask for an online review. We also ask when we are with the client via a final walk-through and text messages so that they can do it right then and there.

Callier & Thompson Kitchens, Baths, Appliances
Manchester, Mo.

GQ All-time Recommend Rate: 100
GQ 2018 Recommend Rate: 100
Number of Jobs in 2018: 61
Type of Firm: Full-service Remodeler

CEO: Bob Strate and Carolyn Beard

  • Approach to problem resolution: We focus on setting realistic expectations through all phases of the project. We have also implemented several inter-company communication tools, helping to eliminate issues upfront. Aside from that, we’ve worked diligently at sending the message to everyone in our company, including subcontractors, that we are always going to do the right thing no matter what it takes. While we strive for perfection, we know that mistakes happen. We handle those mistakes the right way for our customers.
  • Delivering quality workmanship: We make sure that specialized tradespeople are performing their craft. Electricians do electrical work; plumbers do plumbing work; tile setters do the tile work; drywallers do drywall work, etc. We don’t have one person doing everything. Our carpenters are our employees as well as our installation managers. They are 100 percent responsible for holding the subcontractors responsible for their workmanship. They’re also responsible for scheduling the job and communicating logistics and updates with the office and homeowners.
  • Using and handling ratings and reviews: We have an in-house survey form we give out at the end of each project when we complete a final walk-through. We also verbally ask happy clients to leave us reviews online. We let them know that we use a third-party company, GuildQuality, that will reach out to them at some point seeking a review.

Capitol Window and Door
Bowling Green, Ky.

GQ All-time Recommend Rate: 99.5
GQ 2018 Recommend Rate: 100
Number of Jobs in 2018: 86
Type of Firm: Home Improvement/Replacement

CEO: Alan Cannon

  • Approach to problem resolution: Total customer satisfaction is something we strive to achieve on every job. We take a great deal of pride in the way that we go about our business. With sufficient customer communication and the mindset to exceed our customers’ expectations, everything else seems to fall into place. In the rare instance that a product has a quality problem or is not sized properly, the satisfactory resolution and completion of the job is our highest priority.
  • Delivering quality workmanship: Our installers are highly skilled and trained. We have a small staff of professional installers and many of our prospective customers are aware of our installers’ reputation and skills before we every interact with them. We are product of our reputation in the community of providing outstanding products and unparalleled installation.
  • Using and handling ratings and reviews: We do receive fantastic reviews on social media sites from our satisfied customers. We also receive many notes of thanks and phone calls explaining how satisfied they are with the total experience provided. We are very passive in handling and managing these ratings and reviews and are working to take advantage of our customers’ kind remarks in the future. 

Carolina Exteriors Plus, LLC
Apex, N.C.

GQ All-time Recommend Rate: 96.32
GQ 2018 Recommend Rate: 97.5
Number of Jobs in 2018: 200
Type of Firm: Home Improvement/Replacement

CEO: Clifton Muckenfuss and Wesley Newton

  • Approach to problem resolution: 1) Our design plans/proposals are very detailed and include specifics regarding products, sizes, etc. 2) At contract, our sales rep sends a welcome email that introduces the client to key team members. 3) We send a “how to prepare for your remodeling project” checklist letter that lists steps the client should take to ensure a successful remodeling project. 4) Our client receives a welcome email from our production manager once all required documents (color selections, logistics, etc.) are received. 5) Our production team schedules a pre-construction meeting to review the “how to prepare” letter, review the contract documents/scope of work, note any pre-existing damage, etc. 6) Project manager discusses jobsite protocol with client, including escalation procedures, etc. 7) Daily updates, including pictures, are uploaded through our client portal. 8) Project manager and client conduct a quality control inspection at key stages in the process. 9) Employees are trained to diffuse any potentially negative situations, show empathy, demonstrate an understanding of the issues and work to resolve conflicts. Employees are permitted to spend up to $200 without having to gain permission from a manager on things that might help with problem resolution—including purchasing gift certificates/gifts for the client, replacing damaged landscaping, etc.
  • Delivering quality workmanship: 1) All crews are thoroughly vetted either through our manufacturing partners or by our in-house grading system. We will visit a current jobsite that a potential candidate/crew is working on and perform a jobsite audit and quality control inspection. 2) Project managers attend frequent internal training and quality meetings to discuss and review installation procedures, protocols, etc. 3) Project managers oversee crews of various types and size and review their work throughout the project to ensure it not only meets manufacturer’s specs but also internal quality specs. 4) Project managers are evaluated based on the quality scores their crews receive.
  • Using and handling ratings and reviews: Reviews are important, and we have processes in place to include touch points regarding reviews. We also partner with an outside vendor that collects and promotes client reviews. All reviews, regardless of content/rating, are responded to by a member of our leadership team.

Case Design/Remodeling of San Jose
San Jose, Calif.

GQ All-time Recommend Rate: 96.56
GQ 2018 Recommend Rate: 100
Number of Jobs in 2018: 36
Type of Firm: Design/Build + Full-service Remodeler

CEO: Jim Kabel

  • Approach to problem resolution: To avoid upfront problems, we try to set realistic expectations about the scope of work, budget, timing, and ensure [clients] meet the key people on our team. During this phase, besides taking detailed measurements and photos of the spaces impacted, our project managers conduct a mechanical inspection to assess construction challenges, identify issues or possible problem areas, and provide guidance to the design and estimating team. Once the project moves into construction, we bring the entire team on-site for a pre-construction walk-through, then again after demolition if hidden problems are revealed and one more time at the midpoint of the project. Our project managers provide regular email updates to our clients to help them understand what they are seeing when they come home or stop by the home. We train the team to respond (not react) to problems without placing the blame, passing judgement or jumping to conclusions until we’ve had face-to-face discussions with the homeowners to work through solution options.
  • Delivering quality workmanship: From a proactive point of view, we set clear, quality expectations with our own craftspeople and our trade partners during the design cycle. We spell out these expectations in our subcontracts and create detailed elevations in our drawings for everyone on the production side to not only understand design details but the intent. Our designers review finish bids with tile, custom cabinet, countertop, cabinet and flooring partners, and always go on-site at the beginning of key phases, such as tile setting, to leave nothing to chance. We also photo-document key phases of the production process in our “daily logs” on our project management system. This helps communicate the “inside the wall” and other construction details that clients may not always appreciate or be able to see during their busy work days or if living off-site during the remodel.
  • Using and handling ratings and reviews: Yes, but we don’t overwhelm them with requests. Many provide these reviews unsolicited to Google, Facebook and Yelp. Our designers and project developers coordinate with our marketing person to ask for these reviews after our GuildQuality responses come back. Our main focus is asking for Houzz reviews since it is such a great source for design inspiration for potential new clients.

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