Any remodeler who needs a lesson in client interaction should study under owner Martin Conneely. “I base my business on ‘customer once, client forever,'” Conneely says, identifying practices that please homeowners throughout a remodel.

“I find people don't tell you the little things that are aggravating them, and then they blow up over a couple of weeks,” Conneely says. As such, the office staff speaks with clients weekly to hear about projects from their position. Clients respond to a questionnaire halfway through a job so the company can learn how it's doing in terms of communication, cleanliness, noise, etc., and also to find out what the homeowners would like to see go differently for the next phase. “It's easy to do a questionnaire at the end of a job, but by then we're too late to fix a problem,” Conneely says. “We want to make sure the client is happy early on. This feedback has opened some eyes in the office.”

Happy homeowners are eager to offer testimonials, which Conneely is taking digital. Video testimonials appear on the company Web site and presentation CD, alongside digital tours of completed projects. “We work in a small town where the majority of the work is from word of mouth,” Conneely says, “so I try to go above and beyond to make sure people are getting the right job.”

- Lauren Hunter