GuildQuality Customer Satisfaction Leaders, Part 4

by Kacey Larsen

We broke the sixty profiles into four parts featuring 15 companies in each. This is Part 4, featuring responses from Northern Lights Exteriors; Paragon Construction Company LLC; Pathway Design & Construction; Patriot Roofing LLC; Philbin Construction & Remodeling Co.; Quality Cut Design Remodel; Quillen Bros Inc.; Re-Bath of The Triad/Triangle/Wilmington/Myrtle Beach; Renovations; RJ Turner Remodeling, LLC; Ronald L Dimon Construction Co., Inc.; RPS Remodeling; Van Metre Design Build; VanWeelden Co.; and Windows USA, LLC.

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?

Northern Lights Exteriors
Denver, Colo.

GQ All-time Recommend Rate: 95.24
GQ 2018 Recommend Rate: 97.06
Number of Jobs in 2018: 400
Type of Firm: Full-service Remodeler + Home Improvement/Replacement

CEO: James Hooven

  • Approach to problem resolution: Northern Lights Exteriors will do a preconstruction walk with all customers prior to job start date. During that meeting, our project manager, production manager, crew leader and homeowner all meet on-site to review the entire scope of work. All questions are answered at that time to make sure everyone understands what work will be done and even what unforeseen may come up. We ensure our production manager and crew leaders speak fluent Spanish so nothing is lost in translation between Northern Lights Exteriors’ team and crew. We also send out communication prior to [project] start, letting the client know to call the production manager, project manager or office if any questions come up while the crew is on-site.
  • Delivering quality workmanship: Northern Lights Exteriors pays on the high end of the scale for installers, and therefore, our crews and crew leaders have been with us on average over five years. Keeping crews and leaders busy year-round is one of the pieces of our business that we take very seriously. We want the best, and we want the best to want to work with Northern Lights Exteriors. The best way that we explain workmanship to the client is through photos, meetings and other details such as best install practices, so the clients can understand what and why we install the way we do. We will turn jobs away if a client is looking to cut costs by not following best practices. Our name is on the work we do.
  • Using and handling ratings and reviews: Our clients typically review us on the sites that are most important to us in our industry: Google, Yelp, HomeAdvisor, Houzz.

Paragon Construction Company LLC
Midlothian, Va.

GQ All-time Recommend Rate: 98.36
GQ 2018 Recommend Rate: 100
Number of Jobs in 2018: 69
Type of Firm: Full-service Remodeler

CEO: Jeremy Shank

  • Approach to problem resolution: We spend a lot of time upfront in our design process laying out all the steps, materials and labor that will be needed in our projects. Our dedicated team of project managers are on the jobs every day and every step to ensure the plan goes as smooth as possible. When something unforeseen arises, [project managers] are quick to respond because they are present. One of our key messages is “Your project is significant,” and we take that very seriously. It is part of our culture.
  • Delivering quality workmanship: Our workmanship quality is part of what separates us from our competitors. As preferred dealers for Wellborn, ProVia and James Hardie, we ensure our teams are trained and implement best practices when installing these products. Our field crews are top-notch and have a high attention to detail. Again, our project management team is on-site and inspecting the work along the way. A key step in our process is a final walkthrough; this is performed by the project manager prior to the warranty walkthrough with the customer. It is a chance to ensure quality work is done ahead of time and any issues are addressed before completing the project. Our goal is to “Transform homes and expectations,” and we do this by making quality, meaningful changes for our customers.
  • Using and handling ratings and reviews: We are working on better utilizing the high reviews we received from GuildQuality on social media. Currently, we have created an in-house, two-sided brochure that has our reviews and scores on one side and a description of GuildQuality on the other. This brochure is used as part of our sales process. During all initial appointments, our customer adviser shows the brochure’s front side to customers and uses the reviews as a selling tool. At the final warranty walkthrough, the customer adviser will pull out the same brochure, review what GuildQuality is and our scores, then explain how the customer can expect to be contacted. It has been a good tool for us and seems to be working.

Pathway Design & Construction
Seattle, Wash.

GQ All-time Recommend Rate: 99.08
GQ 2018 Recommend Rate: 100
Number of Jobs in 2018: 22
Type of Firm: Design/Build + Full-service Remodeler

CEO: Paul Kocharhook

  • Approach to problem resolution: At Pathway, we realized it is all about clear communication and setting of client expectations about the remodeling process. It is not only about communicating client’s expectations, wants and needs, [but] also communicating the latest information on products, methods and procedures. Thorough communication helps ensure consistency. After all, quality assurance and communication go hand-in-hand. Breakdowns occur usually due to insufficient communication somewhere. We acknowledged it being a potential issue and invested in an integrated online platform for all client communication needs. Our clients can access and assess their project from any computer, tablet or smartphone. They can track photos of construction progress, see the build schedule, view and approve change orders and selections, as well as access other important documents. Clients can also easily communicate with our team 24/7. This is especially useful during crunch time—when something needs to be clarified and decisions made.
  • Delivering quality workmanship: We took several measures to ensure consistency with our quality of work and our trade partners; we created a subcontractor agreement and Pathway standard product specifications. The subcontractor agreement is a written agreement between Pathway and the subcontractor about job expectations. The Pathway standard product specifications are a list that outlines our approved products to use on our jobsites. Because our core service is healthy home remodeling, we create highly functional living spaces through smart design and eco-friendly, healthy and energy-efficient products and practices. Our health focus extends to care and management in our building practices too, especially air quality—a critical element as most of our clients live on-site through construction. So our methods, procedures and practices are different, and we expect our trade partners to follow them as our extended Pathway family.
  • Using and handling ratings and reviews: We encourage our clients to review us on Houzz, Facebook and Google by sending an easy link through Reputation Igniter software. We also follow up with clients personally to thank them for their reviews.

Patriot Roofing LLC
Gig Harbor, Wash.

GQ All-time Recommend Rate: 97.08
GQ 2018 Recommend Rate: 97.48
Number of Jobs in 2018: 250
Type of Firm: Home Improvement/Replacement

CEO: Stephen Campbell

  • Approach to problem resolution: We try to head problems off before they can start by meeting all parties involved in the project before we sign a contract. This meeting of the minds eliminates most issues upfront. If we do have an issue pop up, we as a company empower our employees to remedy the situation. I learned long ago that if we made a mistake and we are dirty, it is best to correct it immediately. This attitude allows us to look our customers in the eye and state flat out we are not perfect, but we will fix any issues if we make a mistake.
  • Delivering quality workmanship: To ensure quality standards are met on each job, we spend approximately 120 hours per year, per employee in training classes put on by industry experts as well as in-house training. We also have our in-house quality control manager inspect and grade every project so we can keep a running total (posted for all to see) for each crew on how they are performing. This immediate feedback helps them to improve their quality of work, and it also allows for healthy competition among the crews.
  • Using and handling ratings and reviews: Our customers also post reviews on Google, Yelp, HomeAdvisor, Houzz, Angie’s List, CertainTeed and Facebook. When the general manager or I meet with the customer at the completion of their project, we discuss with them that there will be several surveys sent to them as well as the paper survey that we hand them at this time. We explain surveys and reviews in this day and age are the driving force for companies like ours to succeed, and we appreciate anything they are willing to say on review and survey sites. Our customers are very receptive to these surveys as they like to have a helping hand in our success. We always respond to any and all surveys with a note of thanks.

Philbin Construction & Remodeling Co.
Mokena, Ill.

GQ All-time Recommend Rate: 98.31
GQ 2018 Recommend Rate: 100
Number of Jobs in 2018: 31
Type of Firm: Full-service Remodeler

CEO: Matt Philbin

  • Approach to problem resolution: By design, all of our contracts and other signed documents are very clear and detailed. We want the client to have a thorough understanding of what each project includes and (in some cases) what it does not include prior to their commitment and prior to the start of work. Once the project begins, clients are constantly updated by field employees as well as project managers as to what is being done that day and the next. We feel that keeping communications open and being transparent with our clients helps avoid these situations in the overwhelming majority of our projects.
  • Delivering quality workmanship: All our field employees were chosen based partially on ability but even more so on character and integrity. It becomes clear to them almost immediately that quality of work is far more important to us than how quickly they can perform any given task. When an employee realizes that they will not be criticized for taking the time to do something correctly, they will do so over and over again. There was a time when we had to try to explain this to clients during the sales process, but today the company’s reputation and published reviews seem to have minimized that part of the conversation. Our clients know when they hire us—often without even having to ask—that the quality of our work is going to be there.
  • Using and handling ratings and reviews: At the end of each project or at the conclusion of a final walkthrough process, we address this in conversations with the client. We try to explain that the survey and review process is critical to our future success, often times reminding them they found us in the same manner. We typically don’t specify exactly where we’d like them to leave us a review, but we do ask they take a few minutes to do so at a place of their choosing. Once the reviews are posted, we always respond to publicly thank the client for taking the time to do this for us.

Quality Cut Design Remodel
Minneapolis, Minn.

GQ All-time Recommend Rate: 95.35
GQ 2018 Recommend Rate: 100
Number of Jobs in 2018: 25
Type of Firm: Design/Build

CEO: Kent Tsui, CR, CRPM

  • Approach to problem resolution: We just try and be very honest upfront and over the course of the entire project. [Clients] understand we are doing our best, so if problems do occur they are understanding.
  • Delivering quality workmanship: We try and complete as much of the work within our own company so we can control as much as possible. And the subcontractors we do use we have a very long relationship with them, so they are almost just an extension of our company.
  • Using and handling ratings and reviews: We do ask them for reviews on other platforms as well; we send out an email at the of a job asking. We need to improve on this as we sometimes just move on to the next job and forget to ask.

Quillen Bros Inc.
Bryan, Ohio

GQ All-time Recommend Rate: 93.74
GQ 2018 Recommend Rate: 94.8
Number of Jobs in 2018: 409
Type of Firm: Home Improvement/Replacement

CEO: Robert Quillen

  • Approach to problem resolution: We have 12-point inspections with the homeowner and installer before the installer leaves. Then, we have a 10-question phone audit with the operations manager before the installer leaves the jobsite.
  • Delivering quality workmanship: We have a 12-point inspection with homeowner and the installer before the installer leaves. Then, we have a 10-question phone audit with the operations manager before the installer leaves the jobsite. We also take pictures of the job when complete and put them in the customer’s job file. We also have our customers fill out a customer grade card for us to put in their file.
  • Using and handling ratings and reviews: Two to seven days after the installation, we schedule an appointment with the customer to have our company ambassador show up. He delivers them a small gift, takes pictures of the customer for social media purposes, and we ask for reviews while we are there.

Re-Bath of The Triad/Triangle/Wilmington/Myrtle Beach
Greensboro, N.C.

GQ All-time Recommend Rate: 94.89
GQ 2018 Recommend Rate: 94.84
Number of Jobs in 2018: 974
Type of Firm: Bath Specialist

CEO: Tim Koehler

  • Approach to problem resolution: Every employee who touches a customer’s job has a system in place to double check that we ordered the materials correctly and that we received the materials as ordered. We put a second set of eyes on every order. Also the installation instructions are scrutinized before the job is released. If we do have a problem arise, our team knows that communication is paramount—communication with the customer as well as internal communication. Our team understands urgency, and we make the seemingly impossible possible.
  • Delivering quality workmanship: Our installation techs are trained on our expectations for installation standards, and they know their jobs depend on excellent workmanship. They know we will not tolerate substandard workmanship. We also train our installation techs that it is imperative to make the customer happy. If that means doing something extra for the customer, within reason, we do it—no questions asked. We find that publishing the GuildQuality survey results to every member of the team holds all accountable. Every member of the team wants to see they made a positive contribution to the success of the project.
  • Using and handling ratings and reviews: There is no question that positive reviews drive our business in this day and age. Many of our reviews come unsolicited, but we still work hard to get good Google reviews and post often on Facebook. Those are the two most important sites. I do think you can go overboard by trying to get reviews on too many sites. We always respond to customer reviews—good or bad. We thank those who praise us and let those who feel they had a less than desirable experience know we do care about them and their viewpoint and offer to work with them to resolve issues they are not happy with. A company’s response to negative reviews speaks volumes about the culture of the company and shows respect to the customer.

Prescott, Ariz.

GQ All-time Recommend Rate: 97.3
GQ 2018 Recommend Rate: 100
Number of Jobs in 2018: 38
Type of Firm: Design/Build

CEO: Tom Reilly

  • Approach to problem resolution: Our handoff from sales and design to production is detailed, and all three must sign off on subcontracts’ work scope as well as a review of the project with sales, design (sometimes the same person), production manager/estimator [and] lead carpenter. By all parties having the same knowledge, many problems are avoided. When an issue does develop in the course of work, the lead carpenter is our first line of engagement. Then if necessary, that will move up the ladder. Generally, we have two rules: First, the customer is always right. Second, when the customer is wrong, see rule No. 1.
  • Delivering quality workmanship: Our production manager or a trusted and proven lead carpenter will work side-by-side with all new hires to be certain they understand the level of craftsmanship that is expected—this after a talk by me. The new hires review our employee policy manual which includes a section on expectations. If the new hire does not live up to expectations, they are released back into the construction labor market. Communication of craftsmanship is typically done with the lead carpenter explaining the course of work to the owner and gauging their interest level. On occasion, our client representative (sales and design) will meet with the client at appropriate intervals during the project with the goal of assessing the client’s perception of our progress.
  • Using and handling ratings and reviews: We manage our social media accounts and will relay comments from GuildQuality and other sources on Facebook, LinkedIn, as well as our newsletter email base. We don’t really use Yelp or HomeAdvisor. We ask for clients to engage GuildQuality primarily and utilize that source as a starting point. Occasionally, our clients will give a Google review. Our research indicates that almost 60 percent of our leads and jobs come from past clients and referrals. That is our primary engagement.

RJ Turner Remodeling LLC
Winston Salem, N.C.

GQ All-time Recommend Rate: 97.87
GQ 2018 Recommend Rate: 100
Number of Jobs in 2018: 250
Type of Firm: Full-service Remodeler

CEO: Richard Turner

  • Approach to problem resolution: Problems seem to occur most often when customers are not completely informed of what is exactly covered in their contract. We have learned to go through great lengths now to clearly explain to the customers what items are covered and what items are not. If this is done before any work is started, then most projects go a lot smoother and we have satisfied customers.
  • Delivering quality workmanship: We strive to have the highest quality of work completed when we remodel a home. We have been able to accomplish this by having well-trained employees along with using the same subcontractors for a long time. In doing this, everyone knows what is expected of them—all of us having the main goal to have a highly satisfied customer at project completion.
  • Using and handling ratings and reviews: This is a difficult process. We don’t want to overwhelm the customers with requests for reviews on multiple sites. This is an area that we are still working to come up with the best solution to the problem.

Ronald L Dimon Construction Co., Inc.
Manlius, N.Y.

GQ All-time Recommend Rate: 99.08
GQ 2018 Recommend Rate: 100
Number of Jobs in 2018: 61
Type of Firm: Design/Build

CEO: Ronald Dimon and Peter Dimon

  • Approach to problem resolution: In the world of remodeling, it is challenging to predict every scenario that may arise. With that being said, we always try our best based on the knowledge that we have gained over the years. If a problem occurs, it is best to deal with it immediately. The best solution is the honest solution, and our men are very good at explaining any necessary changes to the customer.
  • Delivering quality workmanship: Quality workmanship is something that Dimon Construction is known for. We are very appreciative of our men because they take pride in the work that they do. Our customers are assured that their project, big or small, will be completed in the proper way—the way it should be done.
  • Using and handling ratings and reviews: GuildQuality is sent after every project has been completed and the punch list signed. We value our customer reviews and often ask them to share their reviews on our other sites, such as Facebook and Houzz.

RPS Remodeling
Lincoln, Calif.

GQ All-time Recommend Rate: 100
GQ 2018 Recommend Rate: 100
Number of Jobs in 2018: 92
Type of Firm: Home Improvement/Replacement

CEO: Rick James

  • Approach to problem resolution: We do not have a salesforce, so from the first visit our clients are working with one of the principals of our company. From the initial sale, the ordering of the material [and] the management of the job through completion, we take ownership, so what we promised in the initial call is carried out to completion. This communication, although not always perfect, keeps our clients involved in the job and excited as they see each step of the install being carried out. We do not want them to have surprises along the way, so we try to capture all potential problems before the start of the job. Customers do not like change orders, so with good planning we are able to avoid them on 90 percent of our jobs. That makes for a happy customer.
  • Delivering quality workmanship: All of our crews receive continual training to ensure that we adhere to best practices. We (ownership) are present on the job throughout the duration of the job. Communication is key, and it is an area that we are constantly trying to improve on. We encourage our clients to check out our GuildQuality surveys from our past customers. We will also provide our potential clients with local jobs they can go to see the quality of workmanship and to speak with our previous customers regarding their experience in working with RPS.
  • Using and handling ratings and reviews: To be honest, this is an area that we are currently trying to take advantage of. These different platforms are so valuable to a company like ours and others, as many customers will use one, two or more on a daily basis. It is our job to try and use these effectively to stay in front of as many people as possible.

Van Metre Design Build
Ashburn, Va.

GQ All-time Recommend Rate: 96.3
GQ 2018 Recommend Rate: 100
Number of Jobs in 2018: 23
Type of Firm: Design/Build + Full-service Remodeler + Custom Home Builder

CEO: Brian Davidson

  • Approach to problem resolution: We minimize issues that arise by setting the proper expectations for our clients and continually working to exceed those expectations. We spend a large portion of every project in the design and planning stages, so that once construction begins we have a very clear critical path to finishing the project on time and on budget. Every job comes with some hurdles so when issues come up, big or small, we proactively work as a team to adapt and overcome.
  • Delivering quality workmanship: We have very high standards for our work and therefore, very high standards for all of the trade partners we work with. Many of our trade partners have been working with our team members for decades. Our project managers are on-site to make sure we always deliver the quality work our customers have come to expect. We take pride in clearly explaining our processes to clients so they know they are receiving top-quality workmanship.
  • Using and handling ratings and reviews: Our primary focus on reviews is GuildQuality but our marketing team has recently started generating additional brand awareness through sites such as Houzz and Facebook.

VanWeelden Co.
Des Moines, Iowa

GQ All-time Recommend Rate: 99.57
GQ 2018 Recommend Rate: 100
Number of Jobs in 2018: 100
Type of Firm: Home Improvement/Replacement

CEO: Brad VanWeelden

  • Approach to problem resolution: We try to emphasize that the customer is always right. If something unexpected happens or we make a mistake, we need to resolve the issue immediately. If these things aren’t handled quickly, they can set a bad tone for the duration of the whole project. GuildQuality helps us evaluate and eliminate some of these possible problems that we may not have realized even existed.
  • Delivering quality workmanship: We try to be very consistent in product delivery. We inspect every job during the project and after completion. If there are items that need [to be] addressed, we go through it with the foreman and ensure the crew understands what is expected.
  • Using and handling ratings and reviews: We really appreciate when a customer expresses appreciation for a job well done. If they ask if there is anything they can do for us, we always ask for a review on Google and the Better Business Bureau.

Windows USA. LLC
Royal, Ark.

GQ All-time Recommend Rate: 98.14
GQ 2018 Recommend Rate: 98.14
Number of Jobs in 2018: 8,155
Type of Firm: Home Improvement/Replacement

CEO: Mike Allbritton

  • Approach to problem resolution: The two greatest tools employed by Windows USA in problem prevention and driving customer satisfaction are simply culture and communication. Our unlimited and unconditional lifetime warranty never expires, and our salespeople are genuinely and sincerely concerned with resolving customer needs. We believe that exemplary, memorable service is what defines our company’s culture. Windows USA invests in continual employee development with the understanding that it is our people who create our competitive advantage in a congested market. Perhaps the single most influential factor in creating our culture of open communication and extraordinary customer service is that we celebrate outstanding service when it occurs, and we do so publicly in front of the entire company whenever feasible. Consistently providing stellar service to each and every customer is often predicated first and foremost on communication We attack customer service communication by first developing systems that regularly solicit genuine feedback from our customers.
  • Delivering quality workmanship: Quality craftsmanship is easily the single greatest component of customer satisfaction. Windows USA considers it a sacred trust when given the mandate to improve a customer’s home. Examining this in purely terms of profit and loss, quality is far more economical in the long run. We have fashioned a mentality that always strives to improve, and we couple that with a culture of inspection and accountability to create an environment that focuses on quality above all else. Quality is something we consider from the start and that mindset is built into every action. We plan every installation carefully, we monitor the work while in progress, and we are constantly inspecting all completed jobs. We cannot ensure quality by only catching mistakes after they have occurred; we ensure it by our system in which we try to make the mistakes not occur.
  • Using and handling ratings and reviews: We respond to customer reviews individually and personally. We begin by saying thank you; this allows us to show customers we appreciate and value their patronage and candid feedback. If the review is negative, we apologize and empathize. People do not care how much you know until they know how much you care. We are firm believers in owning our mistakes, we certainly endeavor to take responsibility without fail, [and] we most assuredly do not make excuses. Most importantly, we correct the issue to the customer’s satisfaction, then ask they remove the negative online review or post a follow up concerning the resolution. If there’s nothing that can remedy the circumstance, we will go to great lengths to respond to the reviewer, take ownership and promise to correct the problem so it does not affect other homeowners in the future.

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