Client Satisfaction Survey
The Master Inspector Certification Board’s Client Satisfaction Survey hits seven birds with one stone:
- It reduces your liability. Often, a dissatisfied client will describe your services to his/her real estate agent — or, worse, to a judge — much differently than the truth. Procuring and maintaining a copy of this survey will bring them back to earth, so to speak. It is a handy document to have to present to an agent who is complaining and can often end a legal action all by itself. It is the next best thing to a deposition taken at the peak of their satisfaction with you.
- It alerts you to weaknesses in your service. Often, a client is too shy to complain to you in person about your service — or, worse, complains only to the agent who referred you. Providing this survey offers your client a way to express his/her dissatisfaction while you are still on the inspection site and can do something about it. Client feedback is very useful to improving your service.
- It reminds your client that you don’t have X-ray vision. It is important to explain to your client that a home inspection can’t reveal every defect that exists, or will ever exist, in their new home. This Survey works in conjunction with your pre-inspection agreement (between you and your client) in that it again reminds them of this fact.
- It encourages your client to order additional ancillary inspections. Some Certified Master Inspectors® offer additional inspections, such as WDO, radon, water quality, and mold testing — for additional fees, of course. This Survey reminds your client to ask about other services you might offer.
- It grants you written permission to discuss the report with others. And even more importantly, you can point to this document when a seller’s agent demands a copy of the inspection report by saying: “I’m sorry, but my client has given me written orders not to share the results of his/her report with anyone.”
- It lets your client know that you care about his/her opinion. Everyone likes being asked.
- It helps you get more work. By sending a copy of the flattering Survey back to the agent who referred you, you remind that agent to refer you again.
And, if you provide your client with a copy of a book (such as the ones below), you drastically reduce your liability.
- There are two surveys: Choose the first one if you do NOT provide your client with a copy of “Now That You’ve Had a Home Inspection” home maintenance book. Chose the second one if you DO provide your client with a copy of the home maintenance book. Note: If you do not provide your client with a copy, you may want to consider having custom ones made for you by InterNACHI. InterNACHI doesn’t charge any extra for customization. Here are a few examples what other CMI®s had made.
- Download and print off copies of the blank survey you choose.
—Download this Client Survey when you do NOT provide your client with a copy of a “Now That You’ve Had a Home Inspection” home maintenance book.
—Download this Client Survey when you DO provide your client with a copy of a “Now That You’ve Had a Home Inspection” home maintenance book.
- Fill out the top portion.
- Near the end of the inspection, ask your client to fill out the rest of the survey and sign it. This is a good time to address any issues your client might have with the inspection.
- At the end of summer, email your client and ask them if they want a pre-winter or annual inspection.
- Send a copy to the agent who referred you. No cover letter is required (make the agent read it to figure it out). Include your inspection business brochure. If you don’t have a brochure, you may want to consider having some made for you by InterNACHI. InterNACHI doesn’t charge for the design work. Here are a few examples.
- Save the original survey forever.
- After summer, snail mail or email (we recommend snail mail, of course) your client a letter asking them if they want a pre-winter inspection, if they are thinking about selling again, or if they know anyone who might want your services. Here is a sample letter you can send to your former client.
If you can just get each of your former clients to refer an average of one additional inspection to you this year, you’ve doubled your inspection business in one year. Do it again next year and you’ll have quadrupled your inspection business. Read “STACKS: A Home Inspector’s Guide to Increasing Gross Revenue” by Nick Gromicko.
A message from our attorney, Joe Ferry:
Client Satisfaction Surveys have been shown to have manifest business development advantages for the business that conducts them. Satisfaction surveys appeal to a client’s desire to be coddled, and reinforce feelings that they may already have about the business conducting the survey, and make them more likely to purchase its products or services.
Surveys can also increase people’s awareness of a business’s products and services and thereby encourage future purchases.
There is also an effect that is quite below-the-radar. The very act of asking clients about their opinions can induce them to form judgments that otherwise might not occur to them, that, for example, they really do like your inspection services and ancillary services, and would not hesitate to recommend them to others.
In addition, the Client Satisfaction Survey also provides a factual record of the client’s version of events surrounding the inspection in the relevant time frame, thus inhibiting the client’s ability to change his story to fit the circumstances of a later claim.