Every year Qualified Remodeler magazine, in conjunction with GuildQuality, selects from among thousands of GuildQuality member remodeling companies across the country that demonstrate commitment to and innovation in measuring and improving client satisfaction. They must also achieve a higher than 90% "likely to recommend" rating among all their jobs surveyed in that year.
"That's a pretty high bar when you consider the tsunami of remodeling inquires and dramatic increase in jobs we've had to handle this past year," commented John Murphy, owner Murphy Bros. Design | Build | Remodel. "Then add to that how easy it is for people to say unkind things about you on any number of social media platforms, and, well, it's pretty remarkable. I'm very proud and grateful to everyone here for achieving this high standard year over year," said Murphy, "And that goes double for our past clients who consistently gave us such high marks."
Murphy Bros. achieved a 93.55% recommendation rating in 2017, with 117 jobs surveyed and in 2016 earned a 91.43% with 70 jobs surveyed. In the remodeling industry, a dramatic increase in projects often correlates to a decrease in client satisfaction as companies struggle to keep up with the overwhelming demands on their time, talent and other resources.
"That's not a new concept, but the demands to figure it all out in a highly technical, blistering fast-paced world, is a bit challenging at times," says Murphy with a wry smile. "We're currently celebrating our 35th year in business and in that time I've seen a gradual increase in expectations by our clients in the areas of communication and responsiveness, with a dramatic rise in just the last few years," explains Murphy, "So to stay ahead of those ever-expanding expectations we have to be hyper vigilant to "paint points" this report illustrates, and very engaged with everyone enterprise wide in order to spot those opportunities for clarity and incremental improvement."
MEASURING CLIENT SATISFACTION
The tables and charts in this report quantify the top pain-points in the client relationship and offer remodelers a guide on areas of greatest importance to homeowners. The data is grounded in satisfaction survey feedback from tens of thousands of remodeling customers.
QR: Problem resolution ranks highly as a driver of satisfaction. What steps do you take upfront to try to avoid having problems occur, and how do you train employees to handle such situation if/when they do arise?
MURPHY BROS: In 2016 we began a communications journey of sorts to formally measure and track satisfaction at 3 key stages in our remodeling projects—at design, mid-construction and at punch-list.We did this to identify potential areas of dissatisfaction before they got out of hand or too far-gone to reverse the experience. We also added a communications checklist, our first, to set expectations among all the players, carpenters, sales, project managers and clients. In 2017 we learned this initial effort required some adjustments.
“The buy in among staff was there,” explains owner John Murphy.“I think we all wanted to find ways to keep dissatisfactions from becoming rants or worse, turning into distrust.” But, sometimes great ideas fail, not for lack of intention or vision, but execution,” explains Murphy. The 3 key stage mini-surveys among clients didn’t always go out on time because that execution was left to our high demand project managers to release them through the BuilderTrend® software. This is the ugly side of business growth that nobody talks about—too often only the squeaky wheel gets the grease.
The solution was to set it up as an automatic release at the three key stages based on BT calendar milestones. Still, that hasn’t always resulted in clients filling out the 5-question satisfaction survey, especially at the mid-construction point. We found that no amount of automation can make up for the person touch of a lead carpenter or project manager personally asking if they completed the mid-construction survey. This is also why we went old school and printed branded blank note cards that carpenters and project managers could leave them behind to let clients who are often not home during working hours know that we had been there.
“To help encourage (train) different teams to share expectations and levels of satisfaction, either among the Murphy Bros. teams or among clients, we periodically bring in our production staff into our design meetings to discuss their perspectives on how we are working together and how we are treating our clients.
“It gets lively from time to time,“ recalls Murphy, “but in the end I think it helps a lot in building a better understanding of the friction points in the remodeling process.” Murphy Bros. staff also spends a portion of every weekly design meeting sharing stories of communications and expectations in order to learn from each other.“ I suppose it may seem a bit risky, but we really encourage the sharing of failures or misadventures,” explains Murphy. “Personally, I think you can learn a great deal more from a crash and burn than you can from a slam dunk.”
Since 2003, over 15,000 remodelers, homebuilders and home service providers have trusted GuildQuality to survey their customers and get honest, authentic feedback. Founded by Geoff Graham during his time as a real estate developer to be a surveying solution for small to mid-sized homebuilders and remodelers, GuildQuality’s multitouch survey process, performance reporting and marketing tools make it easy for professionals in the residential construction industry to see their company through their customers’ eyes, pinpoint their strengths and weaknesses, improve their online reputation, and generate more business.