How to Proactively Work for 5-Star Reviews

One of my clients recently sent out this email a customer who was mid-project:

“I’m just checking in to make sure you are happy with your project and the progress so far.

If you have any concerns or issues that would prevent you from giving us a 5 Star Rating at the end of the project, please let me know, and I will address it ASAP.

We can’t wait to see the finished project! Thanks again for choosing us!”

This was simple, direct, and powerful. As the owner, he demonstrated to his client that he was involved in their project and concerned about their happiness with the progress that had been made. More importantly, he gave them a chance to bring up any concerns they had so that adjustments could be made and they could rectify any problems.

Instead of waiting until the end of the project for the customer to say, “I wish you would have…” they were given the opportunity to speak about any concerns so that him and his team could ensure the project ended on a high note.

In this case, the client immediately responded to the email enthusiastic about how the project was going, “MARVELOUS!!! Definitely get a 5-star rating. Chip gets 6 stars. Project moving along smoothly. Some problems, but taken care of immediately. All workers are polite and knowledgeable in their craft. Carolyn right on point and really helped with the design. What else can I say?”

This email further solidified the client’s satisfaction with their project and choice. It was a short, simple email that kept communication lines open and made sure that they were doing everything they could to receive a 5-star review at the end of the project.

I hope this example encourages you to keep the lines of communication open with your clients so that you can be proactive is solving problems and doing everything you can to ensure satisfied customers for years to come.

Running a successful remodeling business is about doing the ‘little things’ – this is an example of one of those little things.

Around the Horn on Marketing, Sales, and Office Management with Bryan Sebring

Bryan Sebring of Sebring Design Build and I go ‘around the horn’ with my questions discussing his top tip/best thought that has positively impacted his remodeling business in these areas:

Marketing (4:15)
Sales Process (13:34)
Managing Your Team (21:00)
Financials/Job-Costing (26:38)
Systems/Software (34:02)
Work/Life Balance (35:59)

If you prefer listening to watching, check out the podcast here. 

Bryan has been in the construction industry since 1993 and opened his Sebring Design Build in 1999. He lives in his hometown with his wife, Jenny, and their four children.

One of the BEST things I ever did happened last Friday.

My wife (Sarah) turned 30 on Saturday and I wanted to do something special for her (She’s the love of my life after all!)

The story starts about 9-months ago – I was driving home after speaking to a Home Builder Association – and I was thinking through some ideas on what to do for Sarah’s birthday, when a smashing idea came to me.

Marketing Lesson: You have to step back and give yourself time to THINK sometimes! If I can turn this into a direct marketing lesson for you: Pretend my wife in this story is your client… And I (Kyle) am YOU who is thinking about how to give your client an EXCEPTIONAL (not boring and lame…) Remodeling experience…

What transpired over the coming 9-months was a lot of planning.

My core surprise started to get some other layers added on top of it.

I set up the big surprise (patience… you’ll hear about it in a minute) and once that was in place, let the months roll by… while I tried to stay quiet about everything.

About 3 months ago I reached out to a couple of Sarah’s good friends to let them know what I had planned and asked for their help. Of course, they took parts of my idea and made them even better.

Marketing Lesson: The total experience that your client gets from remodeling with you doesn’t have to be 100% YOUR responsibility. Get your employees to buy into the idea of providing an EXCEPTIONAL experience for your clients. Do you ask your employees and trade partners for ideas on how to improve the experience for your client?

Fast Forward to Last Month…

Over the last month, I’ve been frantically planning (with the help of some family and friends.) Privately inviting friends and family to the party. Setting up the details of the party location. Coordinating all of the food for the night. Setting up the music for the evening. Getting a flight, hotel, car rental, etc. all scheduled…

Marketing Lesson: Wowing your clients… Giving them a remarkable experience… It’s never a clean and easy experience. It’s a bit dirty. It’s a lot of details to think about. It’s not always smooth. It takes WORK! But every bit of effort is worth it… Your remodeling company needs to be always thinking and working hard at delivering an EXCEPTIONAL experience for your remodeling clients. It’s vitally important.

The Day Has Arrived…

Alright, so all of the planning is in place, the party location is set, the secret has been kept under wraps… It’s the day of the surprise party! (last Friday.)

I was able to get my wife to the doorstep of the party (we had it at the timber frame home of one of my remodeling clients – photo of the beautiful home here! ) Friends and family were inside and surprise #1 went off beautifully!

We had dinner… And then after dinner we started the second part of the evening.

You have to understand that Sarah’s whole life has revolved around music (singing in church, Musicals in high school, degree in Music Education, church choir involvement, etc…)

Knowing all of this, I had a night of music planned for her – her friend came up with a name for the evening: “This is your life in music!”

  • Her mom sang a song from her childhood.
  • A high school friend sang a song from a Musical they were a part of.
  • There was a song from our wedding. We sang hymns and such.
  • Her friends prepared several funny and also emotion filled songs… You get the picture.

There were lots of laughs, tears, fun, and enjoyment had… A wonderful evening: BUT IT WASN’T DONE YET…

Marketing Lesson: KNOW YOUR CLIENTS. What’s important to them? What do they enjoy? What do they value? (Click here for a PDF titled ’30 Little Ways To Differentiate Your Remodeling Business‘)

Saving The Best For Last…

So all of that was wonderful – my wife was smiling (beaming, actually) – but I wasn’t done yet.

I wanted to REALLY surprise her…

I got up near the end of the night, and said the following:

“So honey, there is one more person who wants to sing for you tonight… And that is me.” (I can sing – so this was somewhat believable.)

“First, I need to go get something…” – I ran downstairs and came back up with a guitar.

I said, “So, Sarah, what is one of the things I’ve wanted to learn how to do for a long time? Play the guitar, right?”

Thru laughter, Sarah said, “Yes, of course!”

I said, “Well, in honor of your 30th birthday I have done two things: 1. Learned how to play the guitar and 2. I wrote you a song.”

She was laughing at me at this point – everyone in the room was kind of laughing actually… And finally I said, “Oh, you don’t believe me??”

“No I don’t!” she said.

“Well, good – because I’m fibbing with you. I didn’t learn how to play the guitar and I didn’t write you a song. But…” (I called her up front at this point.)

“I still wanted to serenade you for your birthday… So about 9 months ago, I thought about some of my friends who might be able to help me out – and I called up one of my friends. I asked him what it would take to have him come over and do a 1-hour private concert for your 30th birthday…”

I then asked her, “Sarah, do you have any idea who I’m talking about?”

“No!” she replied.

I continued… “Well, I actually had to pick this friend of mine up at the airport this afternoon and while you have seen him before, you’ve never met him.” I then asked her, “Sarah, do you have any idea who I’m talking about?”

“No!” she replied.

I continued… “He’s one of your favorite singers! You love the guy!” At this point she’s freaking out a bit…

I continued… “One last clue for you… Remember earlier in the week, I was singing some song around the house and you asked when this guy’s CD came out??”

At this point she uttered some words under her breath – put her hands on her face and ran back to the couch she was previously sitting in – she was in disbelief/shock!

I yelled, “Hey Marc, come on out!”

Marc Scibilia

Marc Scibilia & Sarah

And out walked her favorite singer!

A great singer/songwriter from Nashville: Marc Scibilia! (a picture of Marc & Sarah is to the right.)

Marc was an opening act for a concert we went to about three years and we fell in love with his music.

He came out, and after the initial shock and surprise ran its course – he proceeded to give a beautiful/wonderful/outstanding acoustic 1-hour concert for all in attendance.

It was a fantastic evening! (and I’m relieved it’s all done – no more secrets!) Here’s a YouTube video of one of his songs and another one here. – he’s worth checking out. Note: The first video isn’t from our party – although we did record everything!)

TWO THINGS I HOPE YOU TAKE AWAY FROM THIS STORY:

1. Think about how you can deliver a remarkable experience for your remodeling clients. Surprise them! Delight them! I know your busy… I know you already have a lot to worry about. So did I throughout the whole party planning process. It took effort, planning, saving money, and hustle – but worth every bit of it.

2. Perhaps you’ll be inspired by this story and think about what special thing you can do for your spouse. We don’t thank them or let them know we love them nearly enough. Put in some effort and think about how you can surprise and wow your spouse (or ANY of your loved ones for that matter… Kids, parents, other family or friends) and let them know how much you love them.

I guess there is a third thing you could do… You could be like all of the husbands who came to the party and punch me in the gut on the way out… “Gee, thanks a lot Kyle for making me look bad! How am I supposed to top this??” Sorry guys… get to work!

WOW your clients. Give them a remarkable experience. And don’t forget to WOW your spouse and loved ones every once in a while too… They are what’s most important in this crazy world of ours. Amen to that, right?

Reach out anytime (email me here) if you need help generating more remodeling leads or help with turning those leads into paying clients (I’m also available for your surprise party planning needs) 🙂

Remodelers: Make Your Clients Feel Special

Saw this photo on the Luxury Bath Facebook page and it got me thinking…

If you have a remodeling showroom and a prospect or client is coming in for a meeting, can you update your board out front with their name to make them feel special? Or perhaps you can put a small board inside so that when they walk into your showroom they see their name featured on it.

My financial adviser does this. When my wife and I walk into their office, I see “Welcome Kyle & Sarah Hunt!” on the board.

Sure, it takes a few minutes to do… But boy does it make me feel special and valued.