According to Gary Stebnitz, owner of Kustom Kitchen Designs, in Delavan, Wis., sometimes the best time to show a potential client how much you care about your customers is after you’ve lost their business. That’s why after his company loses a bid, Stebnitz sends this Lost Job Survey to the homeowner asking for feedback on his company’s performance.

Besides keeping his name in front of the client, Stebnitz is also able to gather valuable information about his company — information that is then scrutinized during company sales meetings.

“[The staff] go through each survey together,” says Stebnitz, adding that the survey’s benefits are threefold. “The company benefits by finding out whether the project was awarded to another contractor or put on hold; the salesperson gets a chance to improve his or her performance; and clients get to sound off on any real or perceived issues with the company.”

A written survey is also more reliable than a face-to-face evaluation because clients tend to be more forthright with their criticism, Stebnitz says.

At best, the Lost Job Survey may inspire a potential client to call your company the next time they embark on a project. At worst, Stebnitz says, “it’s a great opportunity for self-improvement.”