Where Is My Dealer?

January 27, 2004

There are roughly 30 water treatment specialists in my general area, and in the time I have lived in my house I never have received a flier, coupon or advertisement from a water treatment dealer. Where exactly are these dealers?

The other day, a coworker and I were discussing the water treatment equipment we have in our homes. My home came with a water softener and a reverse osmosis unit under the kitchen sink. I was really happy to have such "amenities" in my home. After all, these are not things I grew up with or even thought about before entering this industry. Now, I am a part of this industry, and I find myself discussing water treatment at the friendliest of get togethers. However, I also can be your typical consumer once I get home. As I was talking with my coworker, it dawned on me that I haven't maintenanced my RO system in a while. I hate to admit that to you, but I think it serves as a great example of your customers. If someone who is an industry advocate can forget such a thing, consider what an average consumer won't think about.

When I purchased my home, there was no sticker or tag or card or anything left behind regarding the water treatment equipment. I can call the original installer of a dishwasher that I don't even have, but I cannot contact the dealer who installed my water treatment equipment. (I spoke with the previous owner, and she said it was indeed a dealer that installed them but never left his information in a readily available place to be called again.) So, without that information, my husband and I had decided that we would take care of it since we knew what we were doing. Purchasing the salt for the softener has become a regular routine for us, but for some reason, the RO is more easily forgotten. Quite simply: I need a reminder as will most of your customers. Some of you do it, and some of you don't. There is little cost in sending reminders particularly if you utilize available technology and "gimmicks."

Once a dealer installs equipment, he should be leaving behind two business cards--one stapled to the receipt and one that is loose (receipts often may be filed or thrown out). Dealers also should place stickers or magnets with their information directly on the equipment, which can be printed right from your computer (visit your local office store).

Once the installment has been made, you should follow up with customers--they will forget about you. Consumers are too busy to worry about maintaining a system. Reminders for salt or cartridge service can be sent via e-mail, fax or U.S. postal service. A simple note saying that service time is coming is all it takes. You also can leave a calendar behind with days or weeks highlighted of when service will be necessary. Back at the office, you should have a computer program set up so "alarms" go off when you need to service a customer again. In addition to these reminders, you can get as creative as you want to be. You can set up a coupon system where the customer can get a card punched, getting him something free after so many bags of salt, cartridges or service trips. This will encourage them not only to remember they need service, but it will keep them coming back to you.

There are roughly 30 water treatment specialists in my general area, and in the time I have lived in my house I never have received a flier, coupon or advertisement from a water treatment dealer. Where exactly are these dealers? Think of the business they--or you--could be missing out on.

On one last note, you will notice in paragraph three I mentioned my husband. Yes, I did get married. Please make note of my new e-mail address: wbishop@sgcmail.com.

Now, I am off to find me a local dealer so there will be no more forgetting.

Best Wishes,

Wendi Hope Bishop

wbishop@sgcmail.com

www.wqpmag.com

Wendi Hope Bishop is editor of WQP.

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