“Pool service is about customer service,” says Philip Datz, owner of Zippy Pool Care in Sarasota, Florida. “High-quality service is on par with a clean, organized, well-balanced pool. It all goes together.”
It’s an axiom that resonates throughout the industry for good reason: Pool service companies interact with their clients long after the initial contract has been signed, whether it’s on a weekly or other scheduled maintenance program. And repeat business requires it.
While techs have the tools and the training to clean and test, there’s still one element for seamless service: easy, or at least reasonable, access to the property’s pool, whether the client is at home or not.
“We handle customers the same whether they are home or away during the service,” says Swade Dungan, head of maintenance for family-owned Spartan Pool & Patio in Norman, Oklahoma.
Dungan says gaining efficient access to a customer’s pool begins with good communication which helps prevent complications. “We discuss getting into the backyard and [the] day of the week we will service before the first visit,” Dungan says. “I even go as far as asking where we are allowed to park on the property.”
Pool service is about customer service. High-quality service is on par with a clean, organized, well-balanced pool. It all goes together.”Philip Datz, Zippy Pool Care
Pool servicers also encounter issues with multiple gates, padlocks and keys to allow entry. This can be a complicated juggling act, especially as a company grows. However, software programs are available that keep track of routes and entry specifics for each customer.
“I use the Skimmer app for all of our weekly routes,” Dungan says. “Skimmer has been the best software I’ve used by far.”
This all-in-one app helps streamline the company’s operations and keep it organized, including accounting, work order requests, parts and chemical use. One major feature is managing techs and optimizing routes.
“On the app, you are able to save gate codes or notes for any specific concerns that the customer might have mentioned,” Dungan says.
Pool Brain is another highly rated app used by Revitalize Pool and Spa in Jacksonville, Florida.
“It allows us to put information on customer’s profiles; it’s easy to use, has good documentation and gives us the ability to share what we have done for the customer,” says Evan King, Revitalize Pool and Spa’s co-founder and operations manager. The app also allows real-time progress indicators for quality control.
If the gate or padlock requires a physical key, companies use different systems — each featuring set routes with specifically assigned techs. For Spartan, this means 11 techs and 11 trucks.
“I ask every tech to go over their route in the mornings to make sure they have the necessary parts, special chemicals or key,” Dungan says. “Then the techs put the customer’s key on their work-truck keys, which they are required to [replace] on [our] truck-key rack after each day.”
If a tech is absent on their regular day, he adds, the employee who picks up the route will see ahead of time that one of the day’s customers requires a key, and they can pick up both the key and the route at the same time.
For Zippy, the family-owned company requests two sets of keys, one for the office and one for the technician or a set of keys in a lock box at the property. “Each tech has a set route and takes home the truck with the set of keys for his or her route.”
While Revitalize Pool and Spa doesn’t have physical keys for residential properties, its customers leave their gates unlocked on the day of service.
“We are very consistent on the day we go out,” King says of his two trucks and their technicians.
The common thread — a regular route and day — plays a significant role in building and maintaining relationships with clients as they see the same tech every week, Datz says. This relationship is reinforced by the branded uniforms and lettered trucks that signal Zippy Pool Care’s presence on-site.
Even though these scheduled visits are primed to run smoothly, there are occasional access considerations for techs beyond the gate codes, padlocks and keys. They need to be aware of pets, a topic that’s normally covered during the initial consultation and estimate.
“We ask our pet owners not to leave their pets outside on service days,” Datz says. “But if that’s not an available option, we ask for a contact number the tech can call or text before arriving at the location so the owner can secure their pet.”
After the customer’s pool is sparkling clean, organized and well-balanced, what’s left for the techs to do? Considering pets and children, they carefully close and lock each gate as they leave.