Pumping Lessons Help Customers Understand the Need for Maintenance

Pumping Lessons Help Customers Understand the Need for Maintenance

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The importance of educating customers about the need for regular maintenance and pumping of their septic systems can’t be overstated, according to Terry Kiel.

Kiel owns, along with his partner Dave Snyder, West Michigan Septic Sewer & Drain Service in Muskegon, Michigan.

Customers most likely aren’t going to learn about septic systems on their own and no one else is going to teach them, so if you don’t do it, he says, they’re going to remain ignorant.

Having knowledgeable customers benefits everyone. The relationship is less adversarial as customers understand what you’re doing, why it needs to be done, and why you keep bugging them about putting their systems on a regular maintenance schedule. The customer avoids costly repairs, the inevitable emergency, or possibly even an expensive replacement.

The company posts a lot of instructional information on its website and Facebook page and it sends out service reminder cards. But Kiel also spends time with people explaining the necessity of regular pumping. He’s come up with a couple of analogies that help customers visualize a septic system without the need for being overly graphic about human waste, and in a way that makes sense to them, gets their attention and isn’t soon forgotten.

For example, to explain why systems have to be pumped out, he uses the analogy of putting oranges in a blender.

“You get a little bit of pulp in the bottom,” he says. “But what happens if you continue to add oranges? The pulp will build up. I always tell people, waste has waste.”

Another example he uses is relating pumping to changing the oil in your car. “I tell people they don’t ever have to change the oil — if they just changed out the engine every year.” Customers laugh, but get the message.

Kiel believes customers actually want to know about their systems. “They stand there right next to you the whole time you’re working,” he says. “They’re interested in what’s going on.”

Read more about West Michigan Septic & Drain Service in this month’s issue of Pumper magazine.


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