In the six years that Kevin Stenholm has had a website, he’s had an online customer survey too. The owner of Stenholm Remodeling , in Minneapolis, says that customers don’t like to spend a lot of time on a survey, so he posted his short survey online, making it more likely that clients will fill it out. (A print version is available for clients who do not have a computer or Internet access.)

8 out of 10 clients fill out Stenholm Remodeling's online survey

The survey has 10 questions with drop-down menus and two comment areas. The questions address timeliness, workmanship, subcontractors, communication, and cleanliness. Stenholm waits a few days after the project is complete before sending the client an e-mail with a link to the survey. “I give them time to use their bathroom or kitchen and see how they like it,” he says. This time-buff er also gives the remodeler time to respond to any issues the client might have with the job.

Stenholm completes one job at a time and communicates consistently via e-mail or through jobsite notes. He says he’s not usually surprised by survey responses because he gets to know his clients pretty well and knows if they do or don’t like what he’s doing.

The survey includes a section asking permission to use the client’s testimonial on Stenholm’s website (without last names) and in his reference list. In addition to using testimonials for marketing purposes, Stenholm also uses the survey answers to fine-tune his company’s customer service. —Nina Patel