As soon as the Consumer Product Safety Commission announced its drain cover recall, the barrage of calls began.
“When I arrived at the office, I already had local news agencies calling me, asking if I wanted to comment on it,” said Brian Diglio, president of Blue Wave Pool Service in Hamden, Conn. “That night, there was a report on the local news, and the next morning my commercial customers started calling in.”
Diglio is far from alone. For the past several weeks, pool service companies across the country have been receiving a high volume of questions from their commercial clients about who exactly the CPSC recall affects, what needs to be done to bring pools into compliance, and when replacement covers will be available. Many such companies have had to devote a significant number of man-hours to addressing customer concerns about the recall.
“Our industry has never really seen a recall like this, so it’s been confusing for a lot of people from day one,” said Bob Sullivan, owner of 21st Century Pools in Vestal, N.Y.
In response, Sullivan and others have made proactive communication with customers a high priority. In fact, some companies quickly developed targeted outreach plans to maintain a dialogue with their clients throughout the transition process.
“Everybody wants to know if they’re affected,” Diglio said, “so right away, we went through all our records of drains we’d retrofitted, and we put together a list of anybody who the recall would affect.” This list has allowed the staff at Blue Wave to collect and have at the ready information on how the recall affects each customer when those clients call the office.
Diglio also directed his office staff to compile a newsletter filled with facts about the recall, and distribute it to his entire client base. “It was important to us to get some communication out to them, to inform them that we’re aware of the issue … and assure them that we’ll be sending out more information as it comes in,” he said.
For the time being, though, many servicepeople are getting the sense that their hands are tied until replacement covers become available. “The news hit the TV and the press, so customers have been calling me on it,” said Todd Shady, service manager at 21st Century Pools, “but I have to explain to them that I can’t do anything right now — there are no parts to replace the [non-compliant] covers yet.”
Some service companies have learned that certain larger commercial clients have taken matters into their own hands.
“I know that some of the major hotel chains have contracted companies to install replacement covers at their locations throughout the country,” said Douglas Dinkins, owner of Spa Inspector in Houston.
But even these differing methods of addressing the recall, it seems, speak to a goal shared by clients and servicepeople alike: To resolve this issue as efficiently as possible, and move on to new business.