Editor’s Note: This is the second installment of a three-part series on the benefits of a customer survey system. To read the first article, about the importance of surveying clients throughout the design and construction phases, click here. The final segment will look at follow-up surveys conducted with past clients.
Our company, a full scale design build firm located in College Station, Texas, uses a one-question survey to monitor client happiness through the design and construction phases. But what about when the project is complete?
We use a third party to survey clients at the end of a remodeling project, which has several advantages. A third party provides a higher level of legitimacy that is not afforded when conducting in-house surveying; they do a better job of getting a response; and they make the information obtained very easy to use.
Because we survey weekly through design and construction—we are a bit obsessive about surveying—it is not feasible for us to use a third party to conduct that phase of our process. Most companies would do well to do a third-party survey after design and one after construction, or even just one at the end of the project. The information obtained is valuable enough to more than justify the cost.
We use GuildQuality, which does a great job on several fronts. First of all, they are really good at getting information from our clients. Their interface is easy for both the clients and us to use, and makes turning client responses into great marketing material especially simple. Finally, they have an excellent attitude with a great company culture. “Our philosophy,” says founder Geoff Graham, “is to hire individuals that are friendly, committed, and resourceful.” One of the clear and distinguishing aspects of GuildQuality employees is passion for what they do.
Crafting a multi-question survey is not easy. In their book The Ultimate Question 2.0: How Net Promoter Companies Thrive in a Customer-Driven World, Fred Reichheld and Rob Markey state, “Most surveys are too long. They create unnecessary complexity and waste customers’ time.” The ultimate question, they say, is: “How likely is it that you would recommend us to a friend or colleague?” This is essentially the question that we ask of our clients on a weekly basis throughout the design and construction process. In this way, we benchmark client ratings so that we know when their mood is changing. However, at the end of the job it is important to dig a little deeper to understand the client’s experience with the various aspects of the remodeling operation, from sales to warranty.
Reichheld and Markey advise the use of a 0-10 scale, which provides a level of granularity. But because the remodeling process is complex and requires several questions to understand the client experience, GuildQuality uses a 0-4 scale. This makes the survey less daunting, which increases the response rate. Graham states in regards to surveying, “It’s customer satisfaction and not market research. Making the process as easy as possible for customers allows them to think more about their projects and provide important feedback.” This scale speaks to the customer’s overall experience and works well for us.
Customer satisfaction is front and center in our job success rating system. It is the first measure that we look at in job debriefings. Using the GuildQuality surveys, we are able to pinpoint satisfaction levels in sales, design, and production, which provides essential insight for directing improvement.
We also get great client quotes to use in marketing material. One of our most successful marketing efforts involves using customer quotes taken straight from GuildQuality surveys and pairing them with project pictures as a Facebook post. These are posted every Wednesday and are then boosted so that they appear in the feeds of our identified demographic throughout the week.