Most remodelers will agree that the success of a remodeling project depends heavily on setting realistic client expectations early in the process. This month’s Reader Panel respondents take an array of measures to ensure that those expectations are clearly defined and are, ultimately, met.

The survey showed that most company owners still like to have direct control over most steps of the process. Two-thirds of owners said they are the first person from their company with whom prospective clients interact. And for those who said that clients have one primary contact within the company during a project (85%), a full two-thirds named themselves as the primary contact.

A majority of respondents seem to recognize the need to properly prepare clients for the good, the bad, and the ugly of the remodeling experience: Eighty percent reported including education about the remodeling process as a distinct part of their sales presentation. Most often, that education comes in the form of a step-by-step explanation of the process, and a walk-through of the house during which the remodeler explains what will happen in each area or room.

However, an important part of engineering the ideal customer experience is finding out first-hand what is and isn’t working, and many respondents are missing a key opportunity to do so: Fewer than half of those surveyed said that they conduct client satisfaction surveys during the construction phase of a project. Just 1 in 10 reported conducting these surveys for all projects. While relatively uncommon in practice, these mid-project checkups — and the open dialogue they initiate — can mean the difference between a satisfied customer and a raving fan.