True story: a commercial client of ours emailed us saying that one of his seals on his chlorine generator cell had sprung a leak, and needed to be removed and replaced, and that his local service company could only get out to look at the problem the following week. Gordon was not happy about this as the leak was only getting worse. We are located about 1200 miles from Gordon’s facility, so we did what we have been perfecting for the last 20 years: we provided Gordon with “Support”.
One of our Tech Support Representatives pulled up a picture of the defective component and wrote a simple step by step set of procedural instructions with pictures demonstrating how to remove and replace the part, and at the same time we shipped a replacement overnight.
The following day we reconnected with Gordon and ensured that he had the part and the instructions. He did, and based on the detailed information we had sent him, told us that he was comfortable tackling the repair. We offered to be on the line with him while he went through the procedure, but he assured us that, based on what we had sent him, he was good to go it alone. Within a few hours we received an email from a very happy customer telling us that the fix went well and that he was now even more comfortable working on our unit in the future – with us in a support position, of course!
An important component of ongoing pool operation is training, both on equipment and operational procedures. Historically the operator would contact their service company, or the manufacturer, so that a person knowledgeable with the equipment’s function could schedule a time to be on site to provide the training. The operator would of course be charged per hour on site and, usually, travel time, especially in these days of $4.00 a gallon gasoline. This is the “Service” model.
The Support model would provide a Virtual Training – or VT as we have coined it in my company – remotely via a computer connection. We have offered VT’s for over a decade now, and have saved our clients a considerable amount of money and ourselves thousands of travel time hours.
So is the old fashion Service out of date? Is it a dinosaur, or can the two co-exist and each fill a niche?
Our company position is that there is absolutely a part for each to play. The service technician plays an important role in keeping the mechanical room of a commercial pool running, but, at the same time, the time has come for them to relinquish absolute control over all aspects of equipment operation. Support has arrived!