This article originally appeared in WQP October 2020 issue as "The Best Solution"
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Covington, Louisiana, is home to Water Works Pump & Well Inc. 2020 marks the water dealership’s 39th year in business. Heath Metevier, current manager of the business, started working there about 27 years ago.
It Runs in the Family
Metevier’s grandfather owned a hardware store in Covington that sold water pumps, which Metevier’s father eventually took over. After becoming more interested in water pumps, Metevier’s father began drilling wells and realized that his interest in water pumps could become the foundation for a successful business, creating Water Works Pump & Well Inc.
As a teenager, Metevier would go on service calls with technicians, learning the tricks of the trade as he went along. By the time college graduation rolled around, he began working for the dealership full time and has not stopped working for the business since.
There is not much change in Covington’s water, but when there are issues, the water dealership is able to address them swiftly. Water Works Pump & Well Inc. serves approximately 30,000 people. The water dealership’s team is currently made up of 16 people.
On the north side of the water dealership’s service territory, there are usually low pH issues. South of the business, there is often high iron and manganese content in the water. To the east, there is a large amount of tannins in the water. Each area has its concerns, but Water Works Pump & Well Inc.’s team is prepared to handle them.
Tannins, which are natural substances that come from plants or soil, present the most challenges for Louisiana. Tannins are present in household and drinking water and may cause issues related to taste, color and odor of water. A carbon filter is used to remove the color from the water.
COVID-19 & Servicing Needs
Metevier’s team has been responding to the COVID-19 pandemic social distancing restrictions as best as possible during this time, while still completing service jobs.
“I have noticed an uptick in people concerned with their water quality,” Metevier said. “They are more interested in having their water filtered and checking out their water systems more thoroughly, which is good.”
He has also noticed more customers buying parts and trying to install them themselves, mostly for economic and social distancing reasons. Given the uncertainty of the pandemic, the current goal for the business is to stay afloat and continue effectively serving customers as needed. Metevier hopes that expanding services to other areas is a possibility in the future, perhaps to neighboring cities or even a state or two away.
A few older Water Works employees have retired amidst the chaos of the pandemic, leaving other employees to step up to the plate.
“We had a big shift in personnel inside of our office and we had to manage a lot of those changes fairly quickly,” Metevier said. “I’m proud we held all of that together and continue to meet the needs of our customers, not leaving them in a bind or anything.”
Science is Everything
According to Metevier, science is everything to the business. Water quality testing and system checks are the norm for Water Works. In combination with a team that values quality customer service during a time where customers are becoming more concerned with their water quality, this creates a recipe for smooth sailing.
In addition to actively running and updating the business’ website, the Water Work team has recently acquired new software to stay organized and keep customers updated about home service visits. Customers now receive text messages with an image of who will be out to execute a service appointment. This not only ensures safety by assuring customers who to expect and when, but it streamlines the communication between the business and its customers.
Many of the Water Works staff have years of experience, so there are no guesses when it comes to knowing how to mitigate water quality issues. Metevier especially prides himself on the reliability of the business, whose staff is always reachable and eager to help. Timeliness is key when water issues arise.
The business’ laboratory is certified by the state of Louisiana Department of Health & Hospitals to perform bacteriological analysis on private drinking water. They are also the only privately-owned state-certified laboratory in Louisiana.
Honesty and integrity when servicing customers is also a key component of what keeps the business thriving. For Metevier, the best solution is not always the most expensive one; the best solution is the one that works. The Water Works team not only values the quality of their service, but they work to ensure their customers understand what repairs or installations they are executing.
“We are a moral company,” Metevier said. “You don’t have to worry about us not doing the right thing. If we make a mistake, we own up to it.”