Fusing Science & Service

April 19, 2010

A committed personal service approach leads to a satisfied customer base

Growing up on a family farm, Chuck Minott enjoyed tinkering with tools and all things mechanical. He continued to hone his technical knack through college, earning a degree in electrical engineering technology. After stints with IBM and a hospital corporation, Minott then brought this skill set to the water treatment industry, launching his career with a large manufacturer’s franchise in 1978.

As he learned more about the water business and established himself as a successful sales representative, Minott found that his technological focus shifted naturally toward customer assistance. By 1995, when he first settled in Colorado, Minott’s science-meets-service approach had earned him the moniker Chuck the Water Man—also the name of his Denver-based dealership.

Take It Personal

Chuck the Water Man lives up to its “we service all makes and models” claim: With the support of two service and installation employees, a delivery person and an office manager, Minott serves an assortment of residential and commercial customers across the state of Colorado and in southern Wyoming. The dealership also sells water softeners and filters, reverse osmosis equipment and tankless water heaters. But what distinguishes the business from its competitors most is its personal touch.

“You know how some people say, ‘Don’t take it personal?’ For me it’s all personal—personal service, personal sales and personal commitment to my customers,” Minott said. “They all know me. I know all of them. Over the years, I’ve watched their families grow. … When their family and neighbors ask, ‘Who installed your water system?’ they say ‘Chuck the Water Man.’”

Making site visits armed with a few test kits—he has not carried a conventional sales kit in 10 years—Minott emphasizes the importance of helping customers honestly. In support of this strategy, the industry veteran does not make one-call closes, but rather encourages potential buyers to let their options “marinate” for a few days.

Chuck the Water Man has built and retained a happy customer base in this manner, contacting each individual or business before their next service is due to ensure proper maintenance and thus flawless performance.

Outreach Mechanisms

The dealership maintains strong connections with existing customers and reaches out to new clientele via association involvement, events and a website blog.

Chuck the Water Man is an active member of the Water Quality Assn., the Denver/Boulder Better Business Bureau and local consumer advocate referral lists. Staff exhibits at home shows as well, primarily catching up with existing customers but also acquiring a few new ones at each event.

“I don’t know if I could put pencil to paper and show a profit from home shows anymore,” he said, “but I’m certain it pays with ongoing referrals from customers we see at every show.”

Finally, Chuck the Water Man hosts a blog on the company website. This attention-generating tool includes summaries of recent projects, notification of upcoming events, a business video starring Minott and more.

Self-Determined Destiny

Ultimately, Minott’s tried-and-true methods have allowed Chuck the Water Man to succeed, even amid economic downturn. By stressing service attributes and taking in customers orphaned by failing competitors, the dealership, in fact, has experienced growth recently.

“I guess we heard about the recession but decided not to take part,” Minott said.

Caitlin Cunningham is associate editor for Water Quality Products. Cunningham can be reached at 847.391.1025 or by e-mail at ccunningham@sgcmail.com.

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