Many service companies that maintain contracts to residential and light commercial customers usually offer an early bird special. For many service companies, this early bird special is set up to minimize a bottleneck of inspection to renew contract calls, a way to thank customers for an early commitment and a sound practice to differentiate their business with the local competitors.

Additionally, as with any service call, it gives your company a step inside your customers' homes to assess the conditions and maintenance of equipment. As a homeowner, I have taken advantage of some early bird specials, but these savings are not the only reason I maintain service contracts with the same companies each year.

Your residential and light commercial customers also put value on your team's ability to troubleshoot issues and maintain a trustworthy relationship that is based on market/equipment awareness and fairness.

As the fall season is now upon us, there is no better time to offer customers early bird specials for winter care and maintenance, if you have not begun to do so already. And, take the opportunity to check the customer's equipment conditions and well chemistry. As the seasons change, experts say it is a perfect time to test well water for an update on the contaminants and conditions present.

Avoiding a bottleneck situation will help your team focus on the customers of the day, rather than the tasks for the day. The customer-company relationship mostly falls in your field technician's hands and many are not properly trained in customer service compared to the technical aspects of the job.

For many water treatment dealers, the contract renewal/inspection call might be the only customer-company contact for the year and that visit could help the customer decide if they would like to stay with your company or explore other options. Work with all of your employees to help them understand their important role in customer service.

Rich DiPaolo, Editorial Director