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The Diamond Certified® Consumer Report Twitter link Facebook link
 VOL. 7, ISSUE 5 - MAY 2014

In This Issue

The Heart of
the Matter

The 2014 Diamond Certified Directory

Register to Get Vehicle Recall Information

Consumer Feedback:

Savvy Tips of the Month

How to Refinish Your Deck

Teen Driving

Check Your

Diamond Certified Quick Links






Read this newsletter and prior issues at Diamond Certified Newsletter Twitter

The Heart of the Matter

  conducting surveys
The Diamond Certified Research Call Center has conducted more than 280,000 consumer surveys over the years.

If you’ve ever hired a Diamond Certified company, it’s possible that you’ve received a phone call from our Diamond Certified Research Call Center in regards to participating in a short survey. During this survey, your identity is kept strictly confidential and you’re asked to answer questions about how satisfied you were with the services provided and whether you would use the company again. You’re also encouraged to offer specific, qualitative feedback to open-ended survey questions.

Heidi Gitterman Heidi Gitterman has managed the Diamond Certified Research Call Center since 2002, and she and her survey agents have conducted more than 280,000 customer surveys. Recently, I sat down with Heidi and asked her to give some insight into the Diamond Certified survey process. Check out some excerpts from our interview below.

Savvy Consumer: How do you get the names of the people you survey?
Heidi Gitterman: As part of the certification process, our rating specialists gather documents to physically verify each applicant company’s licensing, insurance, financial status and business practices. If all these “credentials” qualify, our next step is to create a large random sample of customers—typically 400—from the applicant company’s entire base of customers/patients. In many cases we go back as far as four years. Our survey agents then speak with up to 100 unique customers, verify they are true customers and complete the confidential surveys.

SC: How long does the survey take?
HG: Each survey takes approximately one minute. Most customers choose to take the survey because they purchased from the applicant company and seem to know that the Diamond Certified rating process benefits the community at large. We only ask five questions: two numeric responses and three open-ended responses where customers are asked to provide both negative and positive assessments of the company’s performance. You can read the exact questions at Also, it’s very important that we keep the identity of our respondents completely confidential so they don’t feel pressured to rate a company positively when it doesn’t deserve it.

SC: One of the distinctive features of the surveys is that live operators only survey verified customers.
HG: That’s correct. And most people are happy to do it, which is why it’s so important for us to make it a pleasant experience for them. They have the opportunity to say how they really feel about a company, good or bad.

SC: The survey work seems to be where the rubber meets the road in terms of Diamond Certified ratings. How do you make sure the survey process is honest, transparent and rigorous?
HG: I think of the surveys as the heart of Diamond Certified. We believe our survey agents are some of the best in the industry. Even very experienced survey agents must go through our intensive training before making their first survey call for the Diamond Certified Program. Besides clarity and politeness, we’re fanatical about maintaining objectivity so our survey agents don’t accidentally influence the surveys.

SC: And objective survey feedback helps companies see themselves through their customers’ eyes.
HG: Exactly. Since almost all companies have dissatisfied customers, our truly accurate study is a gold mine for the rated company owners. For example, when a consumer is asked what they liked best about a company and they respond with, ‘great customer service,’ we know we can’t leave it at that. If you were a business owner and you read that, you wouldn’t even know what you did well. That’s why we train our agents to follow up. ‘What made the customer service so good for you?’ We try to get specific information so the companies know what they’re doing great and what they can do to improve.

SC: Any last thoughts?
HG: Our goal at the Diamond Certified Research Call Center is to capture accurate information that consumers can use to find the best companies to meet their needs. In so doing, we give companies their first truly unbiased views of customer satisfaction.

For more detailed information about the Diamond Certified rating and survey processes, go to

Chris Bjorklund signature
Chris BjorklundChris Bjorklund
The Savvy Consumer


The 2014 Diamond Certified Directory

Diamond Certified® 2014 Directory cover
The brand-new Diamond Certified Directory has started mailing to households and businesses throughout the Greater Bay Area. Each top rated Diamond Certified company is represented with a full-page profile that features a researched article and list of services, a graphical depiction of actual ratings results, verbatim survey responses from real customers, and more. You’ll be receiving your free copy of the Directory in the mail soon, but you can get an advance digital edition by clicking one of the corresponding counties below—it will immediately download right to your computer, iPad or Kindle!

Alameda County
Contra Costa County
Marin County
Monterey County
Napa County
San Benito County
San Francisco
San Mateo County
Santa Clara County
Santa Cruz County
Solano County
Sonoma County


Register to Get Vehicle Recall Information

If you want to check the recall status of a vehicle, has a helpful search feature.

Most of us don’t pay much attention to automobile recalls unless our own cars are affected and it becomes a serious safety issue. Another time to investigate whether the government has issued a safety recall is when you’re buying a used vehicle from a dealer or private party. Unfortunately, not all dealers take care of repairs before selling their cars.

An easy way to check on recalls is to visit, which is the website of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Office of Defects Investigation. You can run a one-time check on a vehicle or sign up for the Recall Notification System, which I just did for a 2003 Toyota Avalon and a 2009 Honda Civic. This way, I’ll automatically be notified whenever a new recall is ordered. If you have a safety-related complaint about a car, you can file it online or call the Vehicle Safety Hotline at (888) 327-4236.


Kudos from Diamond Certified Consumers

Dear Diamond Certified:

I would like to provide feedback on my recent experience using a Diamond Certified company for work on my home in San Jose.

I used Woodenbridge for custom cabinetry and could not be more pleased with their level of service and responsiveness. It was truly outstanding. The quality of their work has been impeccable, and when there have been deficiencies, they have gone above and beyond to make it right.

—J.K., San Jose, CA



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