Dennis Gehman
Gehman Custom Remodeling
Harleysville, Pa.
Big50 1995

When customer satisfaction surveys are returned to us, the original is placed in the project file and copies are distributed to the project's designer/salesperson, project manager/lead carpenter, production supervisor, and to me, the company owner. If there are negative comments or ratings, we follow up to be sure they have been addressed. There is space on the survey for the client to note other projects they would like to talk with us about. If there are other projects, the designer/salesperson follows up.

Our secretary enters the rating numbers into a spreadsheet that we can sort by project type or by the names of the people who fill the [above-mentioned] positions — as well as estimators. We use the information as part of an employee's annual review. We're looking for any trends — good or bad — over time. Surveys usually come back to us about the time we're ready to have our “After Action Review” for the project. In addition to seeing job-cost numbers, we can review client comments and ratings. Each AAR meeting has a summary sheet of “lessons learned” that is distributed to everyone in the company.

Wayne Kaufman
United Homecraft
Hazelwood, Mo.
Big50 1997

We use what we call a “completion certificate.” If there are negative comments or any “no” answers to questions such as, “Were the workers courteous and neat?,” “Was the work done on time?,” or “Was the jobsite cleaned up?,” a copy is made and given to the person or the department responsible. If the comments are very good, we share them with all personnel by posting them on a wall.

We show prospective clients the signed part of the certificate that states, “It was a pleasure doing business with this company. I can recommend them to you because I am happy with my purchase.”

If we have a good completion and the customers are happy, then they are a good prospect for other work or for us to use as a referral.

Ben Yanker
Buffalo Restoration
Bozeman, Mont.
Big50 2001

Currently our primary use of customer satisfaction surveys is to read them to the crew during our monthly all-company meetings. Client feedback made on the surveys can then be commented on, areas of service improvement identified, and glowing remarks celebrated. More than anything else, it lets the crew know that our clients are paying attention.

We really appreciate the client feedback — good or bad — because we know how busy everyone is. Recently, I pulled some satisfaction surveys from the file and showed them to a prospective client. His demeanor changed, and I could feel a shift in the degree of trust and confidence he had in our company.

Jim Basnett
J.F. Basnett Co.
Littleton, Mass.
Big50 2006

We use surveys to congratulate individuals, identify service areas needing improvement, and keep up-to-date on what is important to our clients. Ten of the 12 questions are quantifiable, and the answers are entered into a master customer satisfaction spreadsheet with formulas to average each of those response scores. This evens out radical responses, giving the surveys more validity.

The spreadsheet also formulates an overall average score, giving us a snapshot of how we're doing on the whole. The last two questions allow clients to elaborate on their answers and give kudos or constructive criticism. Each survey is shared, along with its impact on the overall averages, at a company meeting. The pats on the back boost morale, and brainstorming to improve lower scores brings us together. No matter how the surveys shake out, we win.

Bruce Kelleran
Showplace Design & Remodeling
Redmond, Wash.
Big50 1993

When a survey is returned to us, we have each employee who was involved in the project review it. Next, we make a copy of the survey for each of the subcontractors on the project.

We monitor the surveys for feedback that might indicate negative trends in particular areas. We also closely monitor any trends that the surveys might show concerning the work or attitudes of subs or employees who have had direct contact with our clients.