The Importance of Quality Assurance in Home Water Treatment
Whether it’s your favorite restaurant, store, or car dealership, it’s likely that at some point, you’ll feel a need to make a complaint, return something, or ask to have something replaced. No matter how hard they try, every business encounters problems that need to be addressed. This is also true in the service industry—even here at Secondwind. We know we make mistakes, and water doesn’t always behave the way we expect it to. We also know that companies like ours maintain a positive reputation and good relationships because of our commitment to customer service and quality assurance.
Positive Home Water Treatment Reviews
“While our customers like us, they don’t want to have to think about their home water treatment equipment all the time,” says Vicki Coltey, Quality Assurance Manager at Secondwind Water Systems. Coltey explains that customers want their equipment installed without incident, so they can check it off their list and only have to deal with routine servicing over the years. “They simply want to love their water and do not want to have to see us over and over again,” she adds.
Coltey points out that Secondwind’s employees are homeowners too, and understand this sentiment on a personal level. “So, we make a serious investment in quality assurance to ensure we’re able to limit problems, and when they do arise, handle them seamlessly and with as little hassle as possible for the customer,” she explains.
Investing in Quality Assurance at Secondwind
In 2015, Secondwind began focusing on quality assurance and service issues intentionally, and has made great strides since that time. Under Coltey’s leadership, the Secondwind team started a formal quality assurance initiative by studying the number of callbacks to customer’s homes, and the types of issues involved.
“I knew that if Secondwind was going to make this kind of commitment to our customers and employees, we had to put someone in charge of the process,” says Christine Fletcher, President and Founder of Secondwind. Coltey, one of Secondwind’s most senior employees, was a natural choice for the newly-created position. “Adding a quality assurance manager position highlighted the importance of having a company-wide focus on accountability,” she notes.
Coltey, who started out installing water treatment equipment 26 years ago, became a certified water specialist before heading up that department. Over time, she began working with the customer service team. Eventually, Coltey invested in the business. “This combination of experience, longevity, and personal investment in Secondwind, gives Vicki a unique perspective when it comes to seeing and understanding the overall systems within our company,” Fletcher adds.
“One of the first things we did was figure out what our percentage of callbacks was and compare it to our industry average,” Coltey notes. The service industry is known to have a 25% callback rate. Secondwind’s baseline in 2015 was 17%. Even though that was well below the industry average, it wasn’t good enough for us because it didn’t rise to the level of three of our core values:
- Focus on the customer
- Driven to excellence
Identifying Opportunities for Improvement
As a company, Secondwind got to work. We started to identify common problems and created a formal, systemized way to manage them. “As with many small and mid-sized companies, for many years we felt we were chasing our tails a little bit in terms of catching up with the problems that arose with our customers,” Coltey explains.
Secondwind Quality Assurance Manager & Part Owner, Vicki Coltey, returned to the field and serviced systems for nine months to gain further insight into our company processes.
As part of this effort, Coltey went back to her roots and went on the road servicing systems for nine months. This gave her a whole new and updated insight into our processes and allowed her to see things from the perspective of both our customers and the technicians. “It helped me understand why problems were happening, and gave me an opportunity to work with our technicians to reduce these problems,” she points out. (Plus, on top of it all, Coltey just likes to fix things.)
Quality Assurance Efforts Benefit Secondwind Customers
In the last three years, Secondwind has reduced its callback ratio from 17% to 10.3%. Our goal for next year is to get below 10%. “Since we started this formal initiative, we’ve developed a company culture that’s truly focused on process improvement,” Coltey says. “Every single employee is always thinking about how to improve things in their aspect of the business, and how they can help others. We all see our interconnectedness and are always thinking about how we might make things better for our customers and each other,” she adds.
How does this benefit our customers? “Basically this means there are fewer and fewer problems a customer might encounter,” Fletcher explains. “But when there is a problem, you can count on us to solve it—helpfully, quickly, and with a smile,” she adds.
Coltey is quick to point out that everyone in the company has fully bought in and engaged with the quality assurance process to make these advancements happen. “Essentially, I see myself as an advocate for both our customers and our employees,” she says. “My main role is to help make everyone’s job easier, and create integrated systems so we can meet the needs of our customers, both in the best of scenarios and in the not-so-great scenarios that are bound to crop up,” she notes.
Home Water Treatment Systems in NH
For over 30 years, Secondwind has installed, repaired, and serviced home water treatment systems throughout New Hampshire. Our team has an outstanding commitment to quality assurance and service and our water treatment system designs and Kinetico equipment are second to none. If you are concerned about the safety and quality of your drinking water, contact the Secondwind team to determine the best system for your particular needs and budget.