Professional remodeling companies across the country all strive to have satisfied clients. But how do you know if your client is truly satisfied? Simply collecting the final check is not enough. Of course, asking your client directly, face-to-face, about how you did on their project is one way. However, there are other ways that allow for more productive, thoughtful feedback.
ritten assessment forms are an excellent way to find out clients’ true feelings. These assessments can be solicited in-house or be outsourced to a separate company that specializes in client assessments. At our company we actually use both types of assessments, since clients may be reluctant to tell you how they really feel in an in-house assessment. Consequently, we engage the services of a separate company to perform a second assessment.
We’ve utilized our own in-house client assessment for years. We call the client assessment form our “How Did We Do?” The purpose of the “How Did We Do” is explained in the first paragraph of our form. The assessment is mailed within one month after completion of the project. In our five-page survey, we have developed questions that enable us to find out our clients’ level of satisfaction with the overall process, the design process, the production manager, our employees and the subcontractors. The form also allows space for additional comments, which we encourage.
Our in-house client assessment survey utilizes the words “Excellent”, “Good”, “Adequate”, “Poor” & “Unsatisfactory” for the ratings. The responses to these ratings are then transferred to a 1 to 5 rating scale so that we can score the responses and rate how satisfied our clients have been.
Over the years, we’ve heard from many other remodeling contractors and subcontractors that have said that they don’t get the client assessments back from their clients. We’ve had excellent success with ours. By giving the client something in advance, they are much more likely to respond. We enclose a coffee card, and rarely do we need to do a follow-up phone call requesting that they send in the assessment. After we ask for referrals, we also inform the client that a separate company will be contacting them to get their feedback.
We currently use a company called Guild Quality (www.GuildQuality.com) to perform assessments. Their assessment allows us to glean even more information from our clients, since they may feel less restricted in expressing themselves. This assessment also allows us to gauge the performance of our company versus other industry professionals. We request that Guild Quality contact our client after we receive our in-house assessment back from our client. Their method of contact is typically by phone or by e-mail.
One word of caution, however: Client assessments of any kind are always subjective. Clients may be unrealistic in their expectations and — as we all know — there are certainly two sides to every story. But, in general, the assessment allows for a client to tell you how they truly feel, good or bad, right or wrong, just or unjust. No matter what, the customer is truly “King;” their feelings are valid and their feedback is extremely important. Client assessments demonstrate that you care about the work that you did and convey your desire to always do the best that you can.
Much can be learned from client assessments. When repeated themes keep coming up in the assessments, our company takes steps to address or correct these repeated client concerns. In many cases, simply being heard is all the clients want. In extreme cases, a follow-up phone call may be warranted to further investigate and address the source of any issue that might have been divulged in the assessment.
Assessments allow us to constantly adjust our business systems to best serve our clientele. We feel this feedback is extremely important in ensuring the highest level of customer satisfaction, which in turn goes a long way in providing for our own career satisfaction as well.
Assessments create opportunities for learning, for growth and for staying in touch with the folks who sign your paycheck. If you’re living without this feedback, you’re likely to be out of touch with your clients and you may not have satisfied clients.
Obviously, this can equate to a bad reputation and lost jobs. Not to mention sleepless nights. So, if you’re not doing it already, start asking those questions!|