Vicki Coltey: Customer Champion and Loyal Leader
It’s no surprise that Corporate Quality Assurance Manager, and Secondwind Co-Owner, Vicki Coltey, is a Leo. If you know anything about astrological signs, you know that Leos are loyal, and fierce protectors. They’re big-hearted and straightforward. These qualities make Vicki a customer champion and loyal leader here at Secondwind Water Systems.
This year marks Vicki’s 25th Anniversary with Secondwind. She was hired as a radon mitigation installer. She climbed on roofs, worked in hot attics and cut holes in concrete floors. She helped countless homeowners get rid of the radon in their air or water.
Over time, Vicki learned about installing water treatment systems. She developed an appreciation for how we test water and specify water treatment equipment. After about three years as an installer, she switched over to become one of our Water Specialists. Vicki quickly became an expert in residential water treatment and developed her own special way with customers. And, because water doesn’t always do what we ask, and because Vicki cared so much about the results, she developed superlative trouble shooting skills. She studied and later earned the title of Certified Water Specialist with the Water Quality Association.
Growing The Business
As a water specialist Vicki and her two other Certified Water Specialist colleagues grew residential water treatment revenue for the company from $540,000 annually to $1.3 million annually over the course of a few short years.
This experience made her a natural to become the sales manager in 2010. In her five years in that role, she developed a training program for new Water Specialists and grew the department from 2 to 5 people. Residential Water Treatment grew from $1.3 million to $2.3 million annually under her leadership.
Throughout all of this Vicki showed two key loyalties; to our customers and to the company. She developed a reputation for tirelessly advocating for the customer, and for at the same time strengthening Secondwind.
It turned out to be the perfect combination because she put all her energies into making the company successful by taking care of customers.
From this experience, it made sense to have Vicki also manage Customer Service. She made sure that there was a smile in the voice on the phone and that the company never forgot how important this part of the work is. During this time, she also spent a great deal of time exploring the needs of our longer-term customers. She discovered that many needed more service or upgraded equipment. She worked with the team to reach out to and assist these customers.
“I’ve worked with Vicki for almost 9 years. She has a great desire to want to be the best she can be. Her dedication to the company and our trade sets us and her apart from the rest. Her ability to work and express the value of Secondwind is just remarkable. When it comes to designing and selling our systems, she is just amazing. Not only is she selling equipment, she is providing our clients with a customer promise that be believes in. She does this with knowledge, experience and honesty! She only wants what’s best for Secondwind and our customers. She has a true heart,” comments Secondwind Operations Manager, Ernie Gauvin.
The Ultimate Utility Player
Vicki hired RJ Brown as a Certified Water Specialist back in 2010. When asked about Vicki, he reflected, “Vicki is the quintessential utility player in Secondwind. (“Utility” is a baseball reference for a person who can play just about every position and skillfully.) There isn’t a part of the company that Vicki hasn’t had an impact on during her time here. She’s been a coach, mentor, co-worker and a friend who embodies the heart and soul of Secondwind and the culture we try to keep of getting things done and always trying to improve ourselves and the company. I admire that Vicki doesn’t have a “give-up” bone in her body.”
On The Road
An example of Vicki’s ability to switch hit for the company is when a recent shortage of Technicians was threatening our performance and customer satisfaction. Vicki offered to start driving a van and going on service calls to our customers in order to get the job done. Her hands-on time in the field has brought incredibly valuable insights into how our customers see us and how we can better take care of their needs. She also was able to tap back into her installer role and remember what it’s like to drive a van all day and handle the stresses of the Technician job.
One of our technicians, Nick Roberts rode with Vicki for three weeks. “She quickly learns how to relate to people, she is excellent at reading people,” he commented.
Increasing Customer Satisfaction
Secondwind decided to take advantage of Vicki’s unique combination of technical expertise, trouble shooting skills and her ability to focus on the customer and she became Corporate Quality Assurance Manager in 2015, a role she still has. In this role she tracks quality metrics, develops programs to improve our results, and spends time in the field helping customers, technicians and water specialists.
Now back in the office, Vicki works on creating uniformity in our procedures and improving our training methods. With focus and direction, she’s successfully worked with every single person in Secondwind to reduce our callbacks by almost 30%. Callbacks are when we have to go back to a customer site because there was a problem of some sort. She is not giving up there.
A Broader Perspective
No one has worn as many hats as Vicki. She has a global view of the company that serves our customers in so many ways. This global view has made her into both a customer AND an employee advocate.
Kristi Jackson, Secondwind’s Finance & Administration Manager comments on Vicki’s willingness to try new things and learn new approaches and the way she works to build camaraderie and teamwork. “Vicki cares about quality and Secondwind’s reputation, so she fights for what is important and is truly our customers’ advocate.”
Co-founder, Co-owner and President of Secondwind, Christine Fletcher sums it all up. “Vicki is not afraid to have conflict on the way to making sure that we are delivering the best products and services possible. If we made a mistake she is going to make it up to the customer. If someone inside the company needs feedback on how something was done, she is going to make sure that happens. She is also one of the first to celebrate great results, while never stopping to fight to make them better.”
Inspiring The Highest of Standards
Steve Guercia, Secondwind’s Commercial and Public Water Systems Manager sums it all up. “Vicki is tireless in her insistence for quality in everything we do. She’s typically given the biggest challenges, after others in the company have tried to solve a problem or resolve a customer issue. She’ll research the customer, visit the customer, and take whatever time is required to figure it out. She’ll then present the options to the customer so they are comfortable.
Vicki wants our customers to understand what is happening and why. She wants them to be a Secondwind customer for life.
Most importantly, she pushes all of us that work with her to have that same standard, that same desire for perfection and life-long customers. She helps to make the company better by making everyone that works here better. And she does that with employees at every level of the company.”
From installer to employee owner, Vicki’s leadership and investment in Secondwind reflects the heart of company.
Vicki really is a lion of a Secondwinder.