It’s a good problem to have. “We’re gaining work every year,” says Christian Robichaud, service manager at Colley’s Pool & Spas. “We’re putting in a lot of pools. We’re closing and opening a lot of pools. We would love to have more help if we could.”
Robichaud and Bill Fischer, retail manger for the company, point to their customer service and resulting word-of-mouth referrals as the source of growth. Robichaud calls Fischer the first line of defense in managing the service department.
“As much as I may not want to talk to Bill that much during the day, I see him in my office often,” Robichaud jokes. “Bill’s good at fielding [service requests]. He doesn’t just shove it over to me. He definitely takes care of the customer.”
Fischer says he instructs his sales and front-end staff to not take perturbed customers personally.
“If someone’s upset, they’re not upset with you personally — it’s the situation,” Fischer says. He tells his employees to “respond in a quick way — don’t put them off. Ninety-nine percent of the time, you know what you’re going to do upfront, so make that decision and go with it.”
The service department does everything — pool openings and closings, weekly cleaning, maintenance/repair on equipment and spa service/repair. “Anything that has to do with a pool once it’s in the ground, we do it,” Robichaud says.
And that’s a huge selling point, Fischer says.
“When we’re selling things upfront, we let customers know that we do our own service,” Fischer says. “Not every company out there does their own service. If customers have a problem, they’re going to be able to call and talk to me. I’ll put them through to Christian, and we’ll get it scheduled.”
Right now, Colley’s has 10 service teams made of two workers, and Robichaud says he’d love to have more. But it’s a constant grooming and training process to get the right people in place, he adds. Fortunately, Colley’s is blessed with several veteran lead technicians capable of training new techs. If a tech shows potential to move up to lead tech, they’re paired with a veteran for the season. Even the old pros have a go-to guy.
“If there’s something that can’t be fixed, then you call Bob,” Robichaud says. “If he can’t do it, then it’s unfixable. If there’s a heater that isn’t working and the tech can’t figure it out, Bob won’t just go there and fix it. He’ll go there with that tech and show him what he’s missing.”
All the training goes back to providing a high level of customer service.
“We are constantly striving trying to make it the best experience for the customer, whether it be retail service or a new build,” Fischer says.