Coping with water quality issues surrounding the California wildfires
As business owners, much of your time is spent trying to make the next big sale. Every phone call is a chance to sell equipment, and every public appearance is an opportunity to get your names and faces in front of potential customers. But is this level of hustle always appropriate?
In December, my colleagues and I traveled to the Los Angeles area to visit some sites for our respective publications. My first stop was Puroserve, a dealership in Canoga Park, Calif. The business serves many homes impacted by the recent Woolsey Fire, and I wanted to find out more about how they helped their customers through the process.
I spoke with John Foley, vice president of Puroserve, who provided some insight into the impact the fires had on its customers and the business. In a time of crisis for many of his customers, Foley and his team displayed sensitivity and kindness when answering calls from residents concerned about their water after the fire.
“When somebody calls to tell us that their house has been lost … we’re trying to be as compassionate as possible and let them know that we’re here for them if and when they’re able to rebuild,” Foley said. “In general it’s just trying to be neighborly and give that little bit of moral support when we can.”
This compassion translates to Puroserve crediting bills, encouraging customers to comply with boil orders, and recommending system service “as early as it’s practical to do so.”
Foley also told me that his team was asked to speak at a community meeting, but he declined because he did not want Puroserve’s presence to seem opportunistic.
Business opportunities are all around you, from new homeowners to those with aging equipment to people who have never installed a water treatment system, but it’s important to remember that water quality can be a sensitive topic for some people. It is closely tied to health and wellness. It can be a source of economic stress for some households. And in the rare cases of natural disasters, it can be one of many items on a list of losses.
“The worst thing that any of us can do is use this as a sales opportunity,” Foley said. “We have to be in recovery mode for the first several months. When these homes are being rebuilt, the people will remember you and they’ll call you for a water treatment or a lifestyle upgrade.”