GuildQuality Customer Satisfaction Leaders, Part 2

by Kacey Larsen

We broke the sixty profiles into four parts featuring 15 companies in each. This is Part 2, featuring responses from Classic Remodeling & Construction, Inc.; Contract Exteriors; Criner Remodeling; DaBella; Davis Window and Door; DreamMaker Bath & Kitchens of Orland Park; Eberle Remodeling; ELOR Energy; Exterior Source; Fick Bros Roofing & Exterior Remodeling Co.; Gravina’s Window Center of Littleton; Hamtil Construction LLC; HC Remodel & Design; HIVEX Basement Finishing Co.; and HMC Builders.

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?

Classic Remodeling & Construction, Inc.
Johns Island, S.C.

GQ All-time Recommend Rate: 95.44
GQ 2018 Recommend Rate: 96.88
Number of Jobs in 2018: 33
Type of Firm: Design/Build

CEO: Bob Fleming

  • Approach to problem resolution: We try to set clear expectations with the client at the beginning of our working relationship on everything from budget and schedule to the construction process, when decisions are needed and what our change order process is. As the job progresses, we have regular check-ins with the client to review the project and answer any questions that may arise. We try to identify people with good conflict resolution skills during the hiring process and then train them on what types of issues we expect them to handle on their own and at what point to escalate problems to the project designer or management.
  • Delivering quality workmanship: To ensure our work is of the highest quality, we start with a highly trained and experienced staff. We offer training and certification opportunities to make sure we have consistency in installation methods across projects and that each carpenter knows the finish details we expect. We convey workmanship to clients in a number of ways. It begins with past clients who share their experience and opinions of our work through GuildQuality reviews or testimonials. We frequently take potential clients onto jobsites or to past projects, so they can see examples of our work with their own eyes. By permitting all of our work and having each project inspected, a homeowner can be assured all our work meets or exceeds existing code. Finally, we provide a generous warranty that exceeds industry standards so our clients know we stand behind our work.
  • Using and handling ratings and reviews: Satisfied customers are key to our online ratings and reviews. GuildQuality is our primary tool for measuring client satisfaction. We survey all of our projects using GuildQuality’s survey tools, either at the end of the project for smaller jobs or at key milestones throughout the project for larger jobs. Several times a year we review those responses and reach out to clients who had a great experience and who have indicated that they would recommend us to their friends and family. We let them know about the other review sites we use and ask if they’d be willing to provide a review for us. Most are very willing to do so. We also send out reminders throughout the year via our monthly newsletter and social media platforms. We try to respond to every review we receive—whether positive or negative—to reiterate our company values and thank them for taking the time to offer their feedback.

Contract Exteriors
Murrells Inlet, S.C.

GQ All-time Recommend Rate: 96.01
GQ 2018 Recommend Rate: 97.83
Number of Jobs in 2018: 559
Type of Firm: Home Improvement/Replacement

CEO: Randy Hann and William McCourt

  • Approach to problem resolution: Our focus is on communication. One way we accomplish this is through team meetings. Once a project is sold, the team goes over the details to make sure everyone is on the same page. A separate meeting with the customer is then scheduled to do the exact same thing. Everything is documented and photos are taken throughout the process. We know remodeling can be stressful and not something most of our customers have experience with. This is why we try to go over all the ups and downs with them prior to the start—to help set correct expectations and help avoid any unnecessary issues. If a problem does occur, our team addresses it calmly and is able to reference the previous documentation as needed.
  • Delivering quality workmanship: As a company we strive to deliver the best quality possible on all of our projects. The crews we work with have been with us for quite some time and having that relationship helps drive home the importance of a quality job. To keep this in the forefront of everyone’s mind, we offer regular product training for our teams. This keeps them aware of up-to-date, best install practices from the manufacturers we partner with. Throughout the course of the project, “quality walks” are performed and photos are taken of progress, so that we are constantly monitoring and documenting as the job progresses. At the end of the project, the production team walks the home with the customer, ensuring their satisfaction.
  • Using and handling ratings and reviews: This is an area we are constantly trying to improve upon. During the “quality walk” with the customer, we ask them to share their reviews on all platforms and make them aware that GuildQuality will be reaching out to them to rate their experience with Contract Exteriors. We are working on an incentive plan and drip campaign to encourage them to share that experience on social media, Google, etc. Once we have been notified a review has been left, we respond as soon as possible, thanking that homeowner for sharing their experience.

Criner Remodeling
Newport News, Va.

GQ All-time Recommend Rate: 97.62
GQ 2018 Recommend Rate: 100
Number of Jobs in 2018: 30
Type of Firm: Full-service Remodeler

CEO: Robert Criner

  • Approach to problem resolution: We take the time to discuss projects in great detail with clients during the first appointment, design and selection phases. We also have a client conference meeting prior to the start of each job and near the completion of each job. Should any problems arise, project managers know to alert senior management, who will intervene, if needed, to ensure client satisfaction.
  • Delivering quality workmanship: We pride our company on quality, having a solid standing in the remodeling business since 1977. First, we only hire qualified carpenters and project managers. Along with being overseen by our production manager, projects are discussed at weekly staff meetings, ensuring each project progresses according to [its] timeline and any issues are taken care of immediately with all staff in the loop. Secondly, we only hire trade vendors who have the same standard of quality. Each project manager on-site monitors trade work to ensure all is being done correctly. When clients are surveyed after completion, we have them rate our tradespeople as well as our own staff.
  • Using and handling ratings and reviews: We use the media expertise of an agency to monitor and manage these ratings/reviews.

Hillsboro, Ore.

GQ All-time Recommend Rate: 94.25
GQ 2018 Recommend Rate: 97.14
Number of Jobs in 2018: 5,038
Type of Firm: Home Improvement/Replacement

CEO: Donnie McMillan Jr.

  • Approach to problem resolution: At DaBella, we work with homeowners to provide outstanding service and premium products for roofing, siding, windows and bath replacement systems. In our first meeting with homeowners, our customer representatives go over in detail how the home improvement process will work. The customer is also assigned a project manager who reaches out to them and provides them a direct line of contact. We also have a full-time customer service department that our homeowners have access to. We are committed to keeping the customer informed and happy every step of the way and for years after their project is completed.
  • Delivering quality workmanship: DaBella uses only factory-trained installers who use only American-made products and offer the industry’s best manufacturer warranties. We work with only the best American manufacturers—like GAF, James Hardie, Preservation Windows and BathWraps to name a few. During the sales process, we take the time to help our customers understand the value and benefits of our products. Our goal is to provide our homeowners with quality that lasts a lifetime.
  • Using and handling ratings and reviews: DaBella asks our customers to provide feedback on any platform they prefer. We are proud of our high customer satisfaction ratings on a number of review sites. We proactively monitor reviews on all major review sites. We do our best to answer consumers’ questions, listen to consumer feedback and resolve any issues that may arise.

Davis Window and Door
Norcross, Ga.

GQ All-time Recommend Rate: 99.16
GQ 2018 Recommend Rate: 96.97
Number of Jobs in 2018: 337
Type of Firm: Home Improvement/Replacement

CEO: Mauricio Jaimes

  • Approach to problem resolution: 1) We use FARO 3D scanners to measure complex window or door shapes. Templates are always good so we deliver products right the first time, always. 2) We have developed advanced automation in our CRM: Automatic emails, dashboards and high visibility helps to see the big picture and drill into the details. Always live; always updated. 3) We have an experienced field technician who all he does is train people in the field and new employees. 4) Our installers have been with us an average of seven years, and they know the “Davis” way.
  • Delivering quality workmanship: The re-measure is where we discuss and explain many details on how the product will be installed and what steps we will take to make sure it looks good. The 3D scans give us the opportunity to review and measure a lot of details at the office and decide how we will approach the project.
  • Using and handling ratings and reviews: We have good ratings on several platforms. Those are visible online but we do not promote them at the moment.

DreamMaker Bath & Kitchens of Orland Park
Orland Park, Ill.

GQ All-time Recommend Rate: 98.31
GQ 2018 Recommend Rate: 100
Number of Jobs in 2018: 12
Type of Firm: Design/Build

CEO: Glen Borkowski and Denise Borkowski (not pictured)

  • Approach to problem resolution: Our key to avoiding problems in the first place is by thoroughly (and I mean thoroughly) setting clients’ expectations and continually communicating with them at every phase—from the very first time we meet to the beginning of construction on through to project completion. When a problem does occur, it’s imperative we become great listeners. We want to get a complete sense of what our client is unhappy about even if we have to help draw [out] some of the information by asking clarifying questions. If we don’t do that and just offer a solution we think is appropriate, we run the risk of merely treating the symptom of their displeasure and not getting at the true cause. It’s important we first ask what they think an amicable solution would be before just assuming what will make them happy again.
  • Delivering quality workmanship: Quality workmanship begins by using quality materials; products our company and our manufacturers will stand behind. We establish a minimum quality level beneath which we won’t go. If our client insists that we make them a “silk purse out of a sow’s ear” we are prepared to walk away from them and the project. We convey the quality of our workmanship by explaining how it’s going to enhance their lives. The products and services will make it safer, more enjoyable, simple to use, more convenient, easier to maintain or require less maintenance and how it will reap continued benefits for as long as they want to remain in their home.
  • Using and handling ratings and reviews: We are proud to ask our customers for their reviews, starting with GuildQuality. We offer them a list of review sites at our first meeting and encourage them to check us out at all of the sites. We use our reviews from GuildQuality to share on Facebook and our website. Links to all reviews from GuildQuality, the Better Business Bureau, Houzz, Google and Yelp are responded to in a very timely manner, and we are proud to continue our efforts to make a customer a customer for life.

Eberle Remodeling
Fair Oaks, Calif.

GQ All-time Recommend Rate: 100
GQ 2018 Recommend Rate: 100
Number of Jobs in 2018: 20
Type of Firm: Design/Build

CEO: Kent Eberle

  • Approach to problem resolution: We always try to spell everything out in advance with detailed plans, detailed proposals for construction and materials ordered well in advance. We strive for every project to run as smoothly as possible, and we do our absolute best to avoid changes. Invariably, the nature of remodeling is such that changes can occur. In these cases, the production staff is trained to address these situations with calm, prompt, informative and transparent communication.
  • Delivering quality workmanship: Quality workmanship is ensured by finding quality employees, subcontractors and suppliers who are of like-mind in their approach. It can take years to develop a quality-minded team. We always look for trade partners who offer the entire package: quality work, prompt communication and expert in their trade. We find good people and keep them; we’ve had some trade partners for over 30 years. Clients may not necessarily be able to see the subtle differences in the quality of the installations, but they just know that what they see “feels” right. This is due to the fit and finish detail that goes in to every single project. During the initial appointment and during design meetings, many conversations occur that allow for our attention to detail to be discussed and demonstrated.
  • Using and handling ratings and reviews: We do not actively encourage reviews on social media. Most of our clients are inundated with requests to fill out surveys and are tired of responding to them. In addition, much of what is read in online reviews may be erroneous and misleading. However, there is no doubt that social media reviews can be powerful, and it can cast the company in bad light. Responding quickly and thoughtfully to negative reviews is always the best policy. One bad review can tarnish years and years of hard work, so it’s important to stay on top of them with prompt, honest and heartfelt responses.

ELOR Energy
San Diego, Calif.

GQ All-time Recommend Rate: 98.26
GQ 2018 Recommend Rate: 99.34
Number of Jobs in 2018: 2,800
Type of Firm: Home Improvement/Replacement + Energy-efficient Renovations

CEO: Guy Motaey and Shimrit Motaey (not pictured)

  • Approach to problem resolution: I grew up in the industry—from the bottom and rising to the top on each trade for 17 years now—learning what to do and what not to do! Huge top remodeling companies have given us private labels and platinum dealers. We’re ranked at No. 1 on Owens Corning’s website for most reviews compared to any other company in San Diego. The ELOR stands for “everyone loves our remodeling.” Here are some of our ways we get things done: dedicated crew members to each trade—we do not mix and match. We do not collect any money until the job is satisfied and completed. Due to us being a platinum dealer, we have all different kinds of inspections: company, manufacturing, sales rep and city.
  • Delivering quality workmanship: ELOR Energy has a research department that keeps us in check for our 98 percent customer satisfaction rating. We do not purchase any extra accessories, like caulking, stucco, nails, wood, etc., from a yard store. We only have high-quality materials to ensure the lifespan in our products. ELOR is 110 percent committed to high-quality and great installation. We leave a strong warranty, backed up by the manufacturing company. Labor, material [and] manufacturer: “We do it right the first time.”
  • Using and handling ratings and reviews: Reviews in all avenues is the most important to us. Ninety percent of construction companies in the first three years end up out of business. It is very important to us that we show the homeowner the quality value that we hold high. If they are not 100 percent happy, we put that into consideration, and we will redo the product with no charge. Our customers get the best satisfaction.

Exterior Source
Richmond, Va., and Chesapeake, Va.

GQ All-time Recommend Rate: 97.56
GQ 2018 Recommend Rate: 98.34
Number of Jobs in 2018: 1,946
Type of Firm: Home Improvement/Replacement

CEO: Rod Renfrow

  • Approach to problem resolution: We believe in training each employee before putting them in direct contact with our customers. Our training consists of a lot of role playing where we practice handling problems. Sometimes this can take weeks and can be costly, but it gives our employees the confidence to handle an issue when it arises. We’ve found that making minor adjustments in a weekly managers’ meeting, which is then filtered down through each department, more frequently is the best way to prevent small issues from becoming problems. It is important that the customer sees immediate action. Sometimes it’s a simple phone call letting them know you are aware of their problem and are looking into it. This helps keep their frustration down. It rebuilds trust and keeps their mind open to the solution you offer.
  • Delivering quality workmanship: We ensure our workmanship is the highest quality through training our supervisors, installers, subcontractors and sales reps. We’ve found training our sales reps to set a level of expectation with the homeowner is key to how the homeowner views our workmanship. This means we spend time with our sales reps in the classroom and in the field so they don’t over or undersell our workmanship. This means whenever homeowners look at our work during an install, they’ve been educated on what to look for and see the job is going exactly as planned. Customers are always happy and impressed when the installation goes exactly how the salesperson explained it would go.
  • Using and handling ratings and reviews: As a business in today’s environment, you should assume that your potential customers will check you out online. This includes customer comments and recommendations. Because we realize how important customer recommendations are, we ask our customers if they would mind taking a few minutes to rate us—whether it’s on Facebook or Google. We ask this during our installation follow-up call from our office. In addition, any time that we get positive comments by phone, we ask that customer if he/she would post on our Google pages.

Fick Bros Roofing & Exterior Remodeling Co.
Baltimore, Md.

GQ All-time Recommend Rate: 96.21
GQ 2018 Recommend Rate: 97.98
Number of Jobs in 2018: 100
Type of Firm: Home Improvement/Replacement

CEO: Patrick Fick

  • Approach to problem resolution: We use a form we call the “job flow checklist.” This is a 161-point checklist that guides us through the job, from start to finish.
  • Delivering quality workmanship: We have “total quality management” meetings once a month. At these meetings, we review the profitability of every job. We discuss what went right, what went wrong and how we can prevent repeating those mistakes.
  • Using and handling ratings and reviews: We use the links provided by GuildQuality to post customer comments.

Gravina’s Window Center of Littleton
Littleton, Colo.

GQ All-time Recommend Rate: 96.24
GQ 2018 Recommend Rate: 97.73
Number of Jobs in 2018: 600
Type of Firm: Home Improvement/Replacement

CEO: Jim Gravina

  • Approach to problem resolution: During our sales visits, we set the table on what the customer can expect. We lay it all out and try and prepare them for what is to come. From order to install, there is always going to be a lag because we custom order all of our windows and doors for a perfect fit. If something goes sideways during the process, we have project managers and an in-house service department to handle any issue that may arise. The bottom line is that replacement windows and doors are still construction; there may be hiccups along the way. It’s how you handle them and stand behind everything that makes the project successful.
  • Delivering quality workmanship: We are focused on providing the best installation and workmanship for homeowners. We train all of our installers for six months minimum before they can lead a team on their own. To ensure quality, we have surprise job inspections and follow-up visits after jobs are completed. If something comes up with the customer, we can address it this way and make sure they are happy.
  • Using and handling ratings and reviews: We send out customer surveys all the time, and they let us know what we did right and what we can do better. We also ask them to review us anywhere they choose if they can. Good or bad, feedback is of utmost importance because not every home and job are the same. No matter how long we have been in business we can always learn something new. The best place to learn is from our customers and reviews.

Hamtil Construction LLC
St. Louis, Mo.

GQ All-time Recommend Rate: 100
GQ 2018 Recommend Rate: 100
Number of Jobs in 2018: 33
Type of Firm: Full-service Remodeler

CEO: Paul Hamtil and David Hamtil

  • Approach to problem resolution: Our company invests a lot of time in preconstruction planning. A well-executed job handoff from sales to production is the start to a successful project. We discuss everything from design details to communication to housekeeping and use checklists and apps to capture information for use team-wide. Having good planning and setting client expectations well helps us to avoid issues. Inevitably, problems do come up from time to time. Our in-house team training includes role playing, discussing conflict resolution, reviewing lessons learned from issues we encounter, and reviewing our internal procedures for how to respond to problems.
  • Delivering quality workmanship: To ensure work is executed well, our production manager is hands-on with every project. He spends time in the field reviewing construction details and assisting with planning. We invest time in training and spend time teaching techniques and skills to the production crew. In addition, making an investment in tools and equipment ensures we are able to complete the best work possible. Recently one of our carpenters completed the NARI Lead Carpenter Certification, and we believe education programs such as this will help our employees push for their best.
  • Using and handling ratings and reviews: After a project is complete, we try to capture reviews from our clients on various sites and platforms. Frankly, it has been a challenge to get clients to review us at multiple sites, so we normally ask for only one extra site in addition to our standard GuildQuality review. Our process is to ask the clients firsthand to complete the review, and once we have a commitment, we send the request as soon as possible. When the review is complete, we follow up to thank them for their effort to help us.

HC Remodel & Design
Omaha, Neb.

GQ All-time Recommend Rate: 100
GQ 2018 Recommend Rate: 100
Number of Jobs in 2018: 22
Type of Firm: Design/Build

CEO: Gary Haldeman

  • Approach to problem resolution: Listening to our clients begins at the first phone call and continues throughout the entire remodeling process. We want our clients to be 100 percent satisfied with their home after we have transformed it. These are some of the specific steps we have taken to ensure our clients are heard: having a dedicated office staff for customer service; using a set of Google forms to ask preference questions about bathroom and kitchen remodels before the first appointment; creating 3D visual designs to confirm design choices before building; using software for selections to confirm choices and budget in writing; and discussing each client’s happiness level at our weekly meeting. When problems do arise, we lead our employees back to one of our core values: “Pursue the customer’s perspective—we make our customers’ lives happier by looking at the work through their eyes—and then taking action.” A plan is developed to create an environment where the client feels heard first, then we apologize for our errors and create a detailed plan to correct the situation.
  • Delivering quality workmanship: We do maintain a very high standard of quality, and we choose to show clients this starting at the demo stage of their remodel. Jobsites are left perfectly clean every evening. Tools are brought in and out in an orderly manner. We take extra steps to be sure all areas we have touched are clean, including shoveling the entrance in the winter. During the building stage, we have weekly check-ins on each jobsite from the owner, Gary Haldeman. We have a reputation for calling a subcontractor back if the job is not done exactly right, so our subcontractors know how to do it right the first time. We continue to answer client questions throughout the process.
  • Using and handling ratings and reviews: At the final walk-through, we always tell clients to expect to hear from GuildQuality, and that reviews are very important to our business. We ask our clients to help us by leaving reviews on other websites as well. Clients do get busy, so one way we have utilized to receive more reviews is a short email sent a few months after the initial GuildQuality survey is filled out. We ask our clients to please consider leaving a review on Google or Houzz. We take an extra step of copying and pasting their GuildQuality review into the email to remind them what they said about their experience a few months before.

HIVEX Basement Finishing Co.
Fredericksburg, Va.

GQ All-time Recommend Rate: 98.77
GQ 2018 Recommend Rate: 98.82
Number of Jobs in 2018: 85
Type of Firm: Home Improvement/Replacement

CEO: Christopher McNally and Lena McNally

  • Approach to problem resolution: HIVEX Basements takes pride in having a streamlined approach and phase-by-phase schedule to finish a basement. We train our team on the order each project phase should be completed—with this type of construction timeline being the same for all of our jobs, it helps avoid problems. In addition, each project manager spends time with the client the day we begin construction, providing a timeline and having conversations to set expectations for their specific job. Our employees’ problem resolution training includes empowerment and the power of deferring when things are outside of their realm of knowledge or need approval.
  • Delivering quality workmanship: To ensure workmanship is top-notch, we train our crews to be the best at their specific trade and also have knowledge of the overall construction of basements so they can support each other. This results in our crews holding themselves and each other accountable to our high standard. If a crew member notices something that needs to be improved from a previous phase, they will be sure to correct it or let someone know what needs to be done. Conveying the quality of our work to our clients really comes from the initial conversation, which sets expectations about the basement finishing process. By letting them know phase-by-phase what to expect, it allows them to see past the construction and stay excited for the final product.
  • Using and handling ratings and reviews: At HIVEX, we truly understand the importance of a positive and current online presence. The reviews we receive from our satisfied customers are a key in gaining trust and keeping a positive reputation with new clients. We request reviews following the close of each job. Our process starts when project managers send a close-out letter to their clients and include review request links to multiple sites—including Google, Angie’s List and HomeAdvisor. Once a review is posted to any of our sites, management makes it a priority to respond and thank the client for taking the time to share their experience. We have recently begun tracking the review requests and are now doing a second follow-up request for those who don’t review after the project manager email.

HMC Builders
Seneca, S.C.

GQ All-time Recommend Rate: 100
GQ 2018 Recommend Rate: 100
Number of Jobs in 2018: 275
Type of Firm: Full-service Remodeler + Home Improvement/Replacement

CEO: Adam Jones

  • Approach to problem resolution: We always specifically define the scope of our projects. Employees are empowered to solve minor issues by doing whatever is required within a reasonable stretch of the defined scope. Any significant change in scope is referred to the project manager to handle. Employees have company cell phones to send pictures [to] aid in describing any issues to the project manager. Our project manager resolves client concerns as they arise. If the project manager and client are unable to reach a solution within the defined scope, we cease all work on the project until we are able to meet and resolve discrepancies or redefine the scope as needed. At this point, we resend an updated bid for the client to review and sign before resuming work.
  • Delivering quality workmanship: We guarantee everything we do—if we touch it, we own it. This can cause the occasional headache, but it enables our clients to trust that no matter what we will execute the project. If the project manager or company owner visits a jobsite and finds something was done incorrectly, we have the employees who incorrectly completed the project correct it. We have a zero-tolerance policy for sub-standard work. Anything not meeting our standards is removed and redone, regardless of cost or time involved. We find this is a learning opportunity for employees and also reinforces our expectations to have projects meet our standards.
  • Using and handling ratings and reviews: Our clients are great! We do our best to make sure they are satisfied with our work. We ask clients to leave reviews on multiple platforms to give new potential clients an idea of what we’re like to work with and to let us know where there is room for improvement. For longer projects, we will typically ask for a review partway through the project and again once it is fully completed. Our office manager responds to each review and thanks the client for taking the time to leave one. If we find a client has a complaint, we respond as quickly as possible and work efficiently to solve the issue. Typically, there is an easy solution that just requires attentively addressing the client’s concerns.

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