Are your customers telling you the whole truth?
GuildQuality’s mission is to elevate the stature of our profession to a level commensurate with its importance. We’re working toward that goal in two major ways:
First, our customer satisfaction surveying and reporting helps our members deliver an exceptional experience. Second, we expend a great deal of energy in celebrating superlative performance within our membership. We do that via our Qlist, via the member news in this blog, and, once a year, we do that with the Guildmaster Awards.
This year, 107 companies qualified for a Guildmaster Award. Some of these companies specialize in siding and window installation. Most build and sell homes. Many are remodelers. A few are community developers. Despite their differences, they all share a passion for excellence, and all of them focus on delivering an exceptional customer experience.
What follows is an explanation of how we went about identifying the 2009 Award Winners.
Qualifications of winners. Over the last two months, we examined more than 8,000 surveys received on behalf of applicants for the 2009 Guildmaster Awards. To receive an award, an applicant must have earned the recommendation of at least 90% of the customers who responded to our surveys. Additionally, we must have received responses from at least 70% of their customers.
For companies with more than 20 customers per year (about two thirds of the winners), we had to have surveyed every customer from 2009. For companies with fewer than 20 customers, we had to have surveyed their most recent twenty customers — for many, that meant we surveyed customers from as long ago as 2005.
Exemptions. A handful of the winners exempted some customers from surveying. Where they did so, it is noted in the “exceptions” link next to each winner. Companies could not pick and choose specific customers to exclude, but rather, they could exclude customers for projects below a certain dollar amount. As examples, some custom homebuilders didn’t re-survey repeat customers for whom they did remodeling projects and some remodelers didn’t survey customers with projects under $5,000.
Types of awards. We gave out three types of awards: Guildmaster, Guildmaster with Distinction, and Guildmaster with Highest Distinction. The three distinctions relate to the response rate we received during the surveying: 80% or above received “Distinction” and 90% or above received “Highest Distinction.”
A note on response rates. A great many of our applicants achieved the recommendation rate necessary to win, but did not have a response rate that was 70% or greater. In years past, this has frustrated some candidates. Response rates correlate strongly with overall satisfaction — which is one of the reasons we reference it. But we also recognize that response rates fluctuate depending on the company’s type of work. Very large volume homebuilders, apartment developers, property managers, and replacement or specialty contractors often have a slightly lower survey response rate than remodelers or custom homebuilders. This puts the former group at a disadvantage. We recognize that issue, and we are exploring ways to accommodate that in future years.
A few words on honesty. It is important to note that we relied on each company to provide a complete and unabridged list of their customers for surveying. In many markets, we can verify customer lists via the public record, but in most, this is not presently possible. As such, we rely on the general public to let us know if they are a past customer of an award winner, but were never surveyed. This has happened from time to time, and has led to the revocation of the company’s award. Fortunately, this is a remote occurrence, and as awareness of the Guildmaster Awards has grown, the self-policing component has become more and more of a deterrent.
Congratulations to the 2009 Guildmaster Award Winners! Thanks for your commitment to quality, and best wishes for continued success.