Water Conditioning & Purification Magazine

The Modern Service Plan

By Erik Koglin

Have you ever gone to a customer’s home to check an error on a water treatment system to find out it only required a few button-pushes? Since you were already there, maybe you added an overall maintenance check-up or cleaned up the equipment to help justify the trip. Whether you charged for the service or not, you may have wondered if this was the best way to be spending your customer’s time—not to mention your own.
There are ways to avoid these types of service calls (that sometimes seem to take more time than they are worth) by using modern technology. As more and more products become available with WiFi capabilities, you could build service plans on systems with these features that can help eliminate unnecessary trips, while actually increasing the level of service you provide your customers. By leveraging the latest technology, your business can uncover consistent revenue streams and develop a greater loyalty with your customer base.

The dealer benefits of WiFi
When it comes to WiFi technology for water treatment equipment, there are benefits to both the consumer and your business. With the easy download of an app, consumers can monitor water usage, receive low-salt alerts and set their system to vacation mode, all from the convenience of their phone. While some tech-savvy customers see these features as real benefits, few may actually be monitoring their system on a daily basis. Fortunately, WiFi connectivity also opens doors to profitable opportunities for dealers who offer this technology on the systems they sell.
With a WiFi enabled unit, every piece of info that’s in a system’s control board, every part of diagnostic data, real-time flow data and water usage, can be seen and adjusted remotely by you from within your office. The only time you have to be in front of a unit would be for a mechanical repair, which you can also attempt to identify using WiFi technology. So, when a customer calls you with an issue, you can remotely troubleshoot, diagnose and in many cases even fix issues, by performing remote resets, initiating immediate or delayed regenerations and silencing alarms on systems. These are problems you’d typically have to schedule for a visit to the customer’s home, requiring coordination and travel time on your end and likely an inconvenience on the customer’s end.
Dealers can easily monitor systems remotely with WiFi technology, keeping them working at peak efficiency. Many water systems are in basements, well houses or crawl spaces, so they’re out of sight and out of mind. Often, if there’s an error in a system, a homeowner might not even know about it right away. Now, by simply enabling notifications from the equipment directly to you, you can personally alert the homeowner quicker and offer a fix before they may even know there’s an issue.

Adopting a recurring revenue model
Today’s consumers are accustomed to subscription-based payment models. From streaming TV and music to meal- and clothing-box deliveries, so many day-to-day aspects of our lives utilize subscriptions and plans. With WiFi, dealers can easily adopt this widely used and accepted service and payment structure to their business as well.
Many dealers currently offer additional services or maintenance plans designed to meet the needs of their customers post-sale. For example, some customers can’t or don’t want to haul heavy bags of salt into their basements. Others aren’t sure when to change filters or simply don’t have the time to manage another piece of equipment in their homes. These are all perfect opportunities for dealers to generate additional revenue, connect with customers and elevate the perception of their businesses.
WiFi technology, however, can take service and maintenance plans to the next level. With remote access to systems, dealers can offer subscription-based monitoring services. As part of this service, the homeowner can rest assured that their investment and lifestyle is being maintained at the highest performance level possible. By utilizing WiFi as a service platform, you not only have a solid recurring revenue business model, but you improve customer relationships and generate more sales and marketing opportunities than one-time transaction business models.
Any lost traditional trip-charge or service revenue will be offset through the annuity income generated from ongoing subscriptions. The time saved from eliminating unnecessary travel and on-site service visits can be applied to other more profitable business tasks like sales, training and new-product installation. Last, but arguably most importantly, subscriptions and plans act as a traditional rental program has for years, by adding significant value back into the dealership.

Warranty versus service subscriptions
Customers may wonder why they need a service subscription, if the product they purchased already offers a warranty. This is the perfect opportunity for you to educate them on the differences between the two and the importance of ongoing maintenance. One easy way to think about it is in relation to a vehicle. Your car has a warranty that covers manufacturing defects on the various parts that make up your car. That doesn’t mean, however, your car does not require ongoing maintenance like oil changes, filter changes and tune ups. And, when you properly maintain anything mechanical, you can expect it will work more efficiently and last longer.

Set your dealership apart by elevating your service
Think about the last time you ordered something online. Typically, you receive an order confirmation, shipping confirmation and sometimes even a delivery notification. All of these communications are meant to serve as touch points that elevate the level of customer service a company provides. The more you’re informed, the more confident you are and the more likely you are to order from them again. As technology continues to advance, consumers are expecting a higher level of service, wanting access to more information on everything they buy.
Similarly, by using WiFi technology in your water treatment business, you can provide a more attentive level of service that’s informative, helpful and convenient for your customers. Monthly subscriptions keep equipment operating optimally, while you’re continually being positioned as an expert solution provider who remains top of mind should other water treatment needs arise.

Trust a tried and true partner
When it comes to solving tough water challenges or understanding water treatment equipment, you have your bases covered. As new technologies emerge, however, it can be difficult to keep up. That’s why it’s important to choose a knowledgeable partner who can provide the right training and support to help you navigate a world of technological advancements in a rather traditional industry. A true ally will also help you explore ways to transform traditional service plans into modern service plans utilizing WiFi technology. Add predictability to your business’ growth with recurring revenue and convert one-time transactions into loyal, life-long customers.

About the author
Erik Koglin currently serves as the National Channel Manager for Water-Right, Inc. after nine years in the water treatment industry. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in business marketing, as well as a professional certificate from the University of Wisconsin in professional sales. Koglin can be reached via email at erik.koglin@water-right.com.

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