Achieving excellence in customer service is no easy feat, especially when faced with customers who, let’s say, need some extra attention. Any number of things can happen during the process of design and construction: Customers change their minds, materials sometimes arrive late or damaged, weather causes work delays.

But customer satisfaction is directly tied to how you handle the bad, as well as the good. “If you’re not providing a good customer experience, it’s going to affect your business,” says Kathryn Ewing, marketing manager at Atlanta-based customer-survey firm GuildQuality.

Since 2012, Pool and Spa News has partnered with GuildQuality to conduct customer-satisfaction surveys for Top 50 applicants who choose to participate. This determines the Customer Service Top 5.

Builders are asked to supply information for at least 30 past clients to be contacted by GuildQuality. The homeowners receive questions guiding them to evaluate the builder’s performance during each stage of the design and construction process. A company’s overall score is determined by the percentages if customers who complete the survey (response rate); say they would recommend the builder to someone else (recommendation rate); and who gave that builder the highest customer-satisfaction score. Those data are combined for an overall score.

The following Top 50 Builders received this year’s customer-service honors. They truly cracked the code to customer service. Now they share some of the most important factors to their success. Each addresses one key to great customer service, as identified by GuildQuality based on customer feedback and trends. And, with the builders’ permission, we share survey comments from customers, who explain why they gave these builders such high ratings.

While each builder focuses on one principle, this year’s Top 5 demonstrated the ability to master each, something that we celebrate.