Clean is Key: Keep Clients Happy Between Service Visits With Pool Cleaners

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With so many new pools in the marketplace due to the surge, and fewer DIYs than ever (as a percentage of pool owners), the demand for professional pool service has grown. Service techs need to take advantage of every efficiency in order to keep up. This is where automatic and battery-powered pool cleaners can really help.

The goal is to make it easy for pool owners to keep their pools clean between service visits with robotic or battery-operated cleaners, which improves their pool experience, can generate additional revenue and ultimately build customer loyalty.

CLEANING CONVERSATION

Ninety-nine percent of a pool's active service life takes place between service visits, so that should be the focus. The service pro left the premises in pristine condition, and as far as possible, that should be retained.

One of the most visible areas is the stairs. Stairs accumulate junk quickly and more noticeably because their depth is shallow. Homeowners want to be able to spot clean those steps and corners before parties and between weekly maintenance trips. This is where cordless, hand-held, battery-powered cleaners really help. In fact, because so many service technicians use these vacuums, pool and spa owners often notice how simple they are to operate and are more predisposed to wanting to purchase one for their own use.

Frank Disher, owner of Poolwerx in Richland Hills, Texas, is a big believer in the importance of educating his customers about pool and spa ownership, and the 'cleaning conversation' is a big part of his discussion with clients. "That's the way I always start my first visit with a client," he explains. "I don't overwhelm them with detail but explain how everything works together to provide pool and spa water that is clean and clear." Once Disher gets an understanding of which aspects of maintenance the client is willing and able to do themselves, he can then determine which services (and products) he and his team can offer.

The dialogue centers on making pool ownership easy. "We are selling more and more of the hand-held battery-operated pool vacuums, because people don't want to deal with the cumbersome hoses of a traditional pool cleaner," says Disher. "These hand-held units are easy to pop into the water to spot clean. There are also now hoseless pool vacs designed specifically for cleaning leaves out of pool water."

Disher has three retail stores and says that this season, he is bringing a line of hand-held cleaners into all of them. "Having these units in the stores also helps keep clients from going to online places like Amazon, where they pick a pool vacuum that may not be what they need or not the quality they want, which ends up frustrating them when it breaks, and they have no one to turn to with the problem. We want our customers to avoid all frustration with their pool, and rather just allow them to enjoy it."

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MUD FROM ABOVE

One of the most important functions of a pool cleaner is to help tidy up after a common summer storm. "We get a lot of 'muddy rain' in our area," Disher says. "That muddy rain picks up dirt and nitrates and drops it all into the pool which starts algae growth. It's very important to tend to pool and spa water after those rains, but we can't get to them all the next day on our routes." A pool closing is avoided if customers can drop their robotic cleaners in the water and use the nimble, battery-operated vacuums to clean the steps, sun ledges and spas as quickly as possible, before algae gets a good start.

"Pool owners like to have the tools to allow them to swim on the day they want, or just to have the pool look good if people are coming over for a visit as no one wants to look at a dirty pool while enjoying an evening with friends and family!"

All of this works together to help his business, Disher says. "Our expertise, our retail store locations, the handheld and robotic vacs we offer, our professional weekly service packages, it all builds customer loyalty."

LOANERS

There are many situations that call for a single-use, loaner unit. For example, techs doing routine weekly service visits sometimes find a customer's pump is not operating properly, and they aren't able to immediately install a new one. These savvy technicians leave a robotic cleaner with the client to keep in their pool for the weekend, to help circulate the water while also cleaning the pool.

Disher says that he often provides a 'loaner' robotic cleaner to clients when their standard pool cleaner is in for repairs. "What we discovered is that this 'loaner' program almost always guarantees the purchase of a robotic cleaner that provides additional profits for our business."

Once introduced to the units, clients loved the convenience of dropping a robotic pool cleaner in the pool between service visits, he says. "We did wonder, at first, if the robotic pool cleaner would affect our service routes. But it did not. Even though we increased our rates this year, our clients were still happy to pay a premium this season for the peace of mind of a pool that has the cleaning, service and preventative maintenance needed to keep it working all season."

ATTACHED SPAS

Disher explains that his market has a lot of gunite pools with attached spas. These attached spas can be overlooked but their maintenance is just as important as the main body. "They feed into the pool, and if they've developed algae colonies or have leaves, acorns and dirt because they've not been cleaned, that's problematic. We could tell customers to turn valves to drain the spa…but if they don't do it correctly… they call back to tell us the spa drainedout, and their pump burned up, and then you have started a bigger problem.

"At the same time, robotic cleaners don't work well in attached spas, so the hand-held pool vacuum is the perfect solution."

HAPPIER CLIENTS, MORE PROFITS, LESS STRESS

When a new pool owner is first introduced to the many steps of care necessary to properly maintain a pool, they are sometimes overwhelmed. To address this problem, there is a trend among builders to include these machines in the price of every pool they install, which leads to a satisfied, loyal pool owner.

By addressing and solving the cleaning issue early on, pool professionals are ensuring their clients are happy with their purchase and their company is inherently building customer loyalty.

It's part of an overall commitment to maintenance. Homeowners want their pools to look beautiful at any time, on any day, and the cleanliness of the pool surface is key. Pool and spa cleaners offer a solution to customers between their regularly scheduled service and maintenance visits. For the pool professional, they offer additional sales revenue, a connection to brick-andmortar storefronts, increased customer loyalty and a more satisfied pool and spa customer.

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