Stebnitz Builders

by Emily Blackburn

CEO Chris Stebnitz

Elkhorn, WI
GQ All-time Recommend Rate: 98.66
GQ 2019 Recommend Rate: 100
Number of Jobs in 2019: 65
Type of Firm: Design/Build, Full-service Remodeler, Home improvement/Replacement
CEO: Chris Stebnitz

The COVID-19 pandemic changed homeowner interactions. What measures do you use to signal an extra level of care when working in or around a client’s home?

As an essential business, we were given strict guidelines to follow on the job site, but we believed that it would be beneficial to add other precautions to our process. These precautions varied depending on the level of interactions we would have with the homeowner and their families.

On many of our job sites, we were not faced with interacting with homeowners because we were doing work on their secondary residence. While this gave us access, we still made sure to sanitize all surfaces at the end of each day. One example of a situation we took extra precautions was at a condominium complex in Williams Bay.

Our client was not currently living in his unit, but we were interacting with the other residents of the complex. For this reason, we limited our elevator use, used the stairs, sanitized common areas frequently, and announced the number of team members we would have on the job site that day. We implemented these precautions to ensure the safety of everyone living around the job site, not just our team.

Seamless communication technology is now both necessary and expected. How have you used new technology platforms to promote better customer communication and satisfaction?

Prior to the pandemic, our focus was to create paperless remodeling process. We believed this would provide benefits both environmentally and financially for our clients, our community and our company, as well. With a little bit of coaching, our trade contractors made this transition to a paperless process with us. Our clients made the transition easily as many of them were already accustomed to those systems in everyday life – from banking, to online bill pay, etc.

The transition we had made with our clients and trades allowed us to seamlessly move into online communication. This transition also provided us the flexibility to connect remotely to our office server from anywhere, making us a truly mobile company with the ability to serve our clients more efficiently. One program we used to facilitate communication between our team and our clients was Zoom. Several members of our staff already had previous Zoom experience, so we coordinated training for the remainder of our team before starting our online meetings with clients. The most useful feature Zoom afforded us was the ‘Share Screen””.

Along with remaining paperless, our sales team was able to display floor plans, contracts, designs, and bids from trade contractors so our clients could see and engage with in the process with the guidance of our remodeling consultants. Despite the challenging circumstances, our team was able to maintain communication with all our clients in a timely manner that allowed the project to proceed and our clients to remain an integral part of the process.

Lastly, we automated some of our interaction with our staff allowing us to streamline our internal system. To accomplish this, we turned to a construction management software called CoConstruct. This new process gave us the tools to capture critical information within the project and make it available to all the members of our team throughout the lifespan of the project. They, in turn, were able to attach photos and files to each project, so everybody on the management side was on the same page as the carpenters in the field.

What was your message to clients with projects in progress in order to keep them happy and satisfied during the uncertainty of the stay-at-home period?

It is important to understand that during these uncertain times, there are a wide range of priorities and for our clients. We had homeowners focused on completing their projects and others who were more concerned about the current situation and choosing to stay isolated and safe.

For this reason, our company kept social sensitivity in mind while also practicing social distancing. Social sensitivity means taking extra efforts to continually understand our client’s comfort levels for interaction. For example, we have some projects that had both interior and exterior work involved, so we worked with the clients to complete the exterior work while practicing social distancing.

Then, when the clients felt comfortable, we worked with them to complete interior projects while providing them peace of mind with our personal protection processes. This also required constant communication and understanding between our team and our clients to ensure that each side felt safe during the completion of the project. Our goal was to provide our clients with the opportunity and platform to express their boundaries for social sensitivity and turn what might have been an unsettling experience and turn it in to a memorable and enjoyable experience.



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