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When Lane Cooper started his company, COOPER Design Builders, he was a young architecture student at the University of Oregon, who, like most 20-something-year-olds, wasn’t entirely sure about his future, especially in regards to his new career.
“I received a great opportunity while I was in college earning my Architecture degree. A friend, Gerry Moseley, said, ‘design and build me a cottage on my propert,’ and then wrote me a check for $1,200 – thus starting my design/ build company.”
27 years later, COOPER Design Builders ranks among the top design-build firms in Portland, OR and is one of GuildQuality’s highest-rated custom home builders.
“Over the years, we’ve tried a lot of different things, but we’ve always dedicated ourselves to helping our clients live better in their homes. To me, living better means genuinely loving the space you spend the most time in, and good architecture and great design can help that.”
Building a better business
Despite his success, Cooper continuously implements new systems and practices in order to improve communication and better his business.
“Home remodeling is a stressful and sometimes scary process for homeowners, which is why it is so important to communicate regularly with each client and set expectations throughout. It’s all about transparency.”
Cooper explained that his systems, new and old, are all built around helping his clients understand exactly how his team is going to take their vision and turn it into their reality.
Not surprisingly, his business is booming. In fact, COOPER Design Builders has grown 26% each year over the last three years, which means they’ve nearly doubled their business since 2014.
“I believe education has really helped our business grow. If you want to succeed, you need to be a student of your business, and you need to be prepared for growth.”
So how exactly does Cooper prepare for growth? For one, he’s part of the Remodelers Advantage Roundtables. There, he’s able to learn from and bounce ideas off of other members, and discuss common challenges.
Cooper also uses Cameron Herold’s “painted picture” method, which prompts business owners to first consider every possible goal they’d like to achieve, and then, condense those ideas into a three-page mission statement.
“We wrote down everything from what type of clients we wanted, to what kind of business we wanted to be, etc. After we finished creating our statement, I shared it with my staff and some of my clients. I told them, ‘hey, this is what we want to be, this is who we’re striving to be.’ Doing that helped bring my staff in line with how we were going to grow.”
And finally, Cooper also uses GuildQuality’s customer satisfaction surveying software to assess his clients’ satisfaction levels and strengthen his business.
“I heard about GuildQuality through Remodelers Advantage. We had always wanted to survey our clients, we just didn’t have the platform to do it, nor the capacity to do it ourselves.”
Elevating his customer service
Today, Cooper surveys his client three separate times during the project in order to determine exactly how his clients feel throughout, and to evaluate individual performance, too. As a result, he’s been able to catch and correct several issues his clients reported, and improve his customer service.
For example, he recently learned that a few of his clients weren’t as satisfied with overall communication and security as he’d like them to be. Fortunately, he was able to use that information to elevate his service.
“In response to their survey answers, we’ve implemented a whole new system around security to up their comfort level. It’s our responsibility to give our clients peace of mind and provide them with the best possible product and customer service. If we’re falling short, it’s our job to fix the issue.”
On the flip side, Cooper also uses feedback from their GuildQuality surveys to recognize great work among his employees, which has brought his team together, immensely.
“Being able to show my employees direct feedback from our customers is so much more impactful than just me telling them ‘Hey great job!’ or ‘Hey, here’s where we need to improve.’ It makes me incredibly happy to see positive feedback from our clients about the team because it means they understand just how much we care, and what we’re all about.”