The pandemic created challenges for pool and spa retailers and created opportunities for many to think outside the box, developing new programs that generate fresh revenue streams. One idea has emerged for several retailers: providing professional, at-home, poolside water testing rather than having customers bring water samples into the retail store.
Initially, retailers were looking for ways to stay connected to the foot traffic that normally came into the store with water samples and then purchased chemicals once their test was complete. For example, Steve White, owner of Underwater Pool Masters, was a bit panicked at the beginning of the pandemic, worried about lost income from his otherwise very profitable in-store water testing service. But one of White’s friends, a marketing specialist on the West Coast, encouraged him to look at this as an opportunity to distinguish his business from others in the marketplace.
“She said to me, ‘Steve, why don’t you take your expertise directly to the customer, to their doorstep, and give extra personal service and charge a premium.’ And it turns out, she was right,” says White.
Mobile pool and spa water testing programs are developing throughout the industry as pool and spa businesses bring the in-store water-testing lab to the poolside of the customer. Harnessing the power of mobile technology has shown that consumers are willing to pay more for a certified pool operator (CPO) to use mobile water testing technology to assess chemical levels and apply necessary chemicals in a contactless experience.
For example, RB Pool and Spa business software integrates with the LaMotte3585 WaterLink Spin Touch, a mobile water testing program that instantly generates an accurate range of chemical levels. This program sends results to the customer by email and connects with office software to bill the client for the chemicals used to balance the pool water. Using mobile swimming pool water testing software provides convenience for customers and improved water testing accuracy.
It turns out that this idea started to emerge even before the pandemic. Dan Lenz of All Seasons Pools in Illinois also saw a business opportunity for his service department to create a mobile water testing service.
“We also use the LaMotte mobile spin test equipment, and we realized there would be a real opportunity to get into the backyard to test the pool water and examine the entire pool while water testing,” says Lenz. “There are hundreds of folks who come into our store every year with their water for testing, and they usually just test their water, buy their chemicals, a vac or a brush, and leave the store. We know nothing else about their pool. But by being at the pool to test the water, our techs look around at the entire pool and the pool equipment. They look for opportunities to upgrade pumps, heaters, filters, and, more importantly, help a pool owner determine why they might be experiencing a chronic water problem that has more to do with the physical equipment of the pool and can’t only be fixed with chemicals,” he explains.
Because the new mobile water testing service was a means for the All Seasons service department to develop leads, Lenz and his team created a detailed checklist for their techs to use when conducting testing so they are sure to get a complete profile of the pool, including photos of the pool, pump room, and backyard surroundings. This profile is then used as a service lead for selling additional services and products in the future.
“It’s a bit of an investment to purchase the LaMotte mobile devices, but the potential revenue from these sales leads will quickly cover the initial cost. Not to mention we also charge a fee for the mobile testing water service,” Lenz says. He had started to pioneer this program before the pandemic but quickly found renewed reasons to make the program a priority during the lockdown.
Underwater Pool Masters is also taking advantage of the opportunities that come with being in the backyard examining the pool:
“While on the scene, CPOs can conduct a safety check of the pool and advise the customer of any concerns,” explains White. “We have also discovered that customers like to pick the brain of the CPO while they’re in the backyard, at a safe social distance and wearing masks, to gain valuable advice related to pool chemistry and maintenance.” For any larger concerns noticed during the trip, Underwater Pool Masters has been able to assess any required fix and arrange a service trip to address the issue. “In fact, our techs diagnosed multiple leaks that were fixed, replacements of old equipment were initiated, automatic chlorinators were installed, and a handful of other oddball issues and upgrades were addressed.”
Pool and spa businesses like Underwater Pool Masters and All Seasons are now building valuable databases of information as a result of creating mobile poolside water testing programs. RB Retail & Service software is seeing an uptick among customers interested in integrating their business management software with their water testing programs.
RB Pool and Spa software offers an integrated solution for pool and spa businesses that includes a Water Lab Sync component. This component connects with several different water testing systems. It offers a mobile service solution that automatically links a business’s in-house database of customers with water testing information and history.
Swimming pool water testing software that integrates with business software provides staff with real-time and immediate access to important water testing information and products owned, pool and spa size, stored images and schematics, previous water problems, equipment profiles, personal information, directions, and more. This access gives pool and spa businesses the tools to create sales opportunities, exceptional customer service experiences, and greater customer loyalty.
The use of mobile apps has exploded for every business. Many mobile apps are available through business software packages or as standalone tools that will ensure your company provides better service to customers and makes daily operations less stressful for employees. Delivering exceptional service can be challenging during the busy season when insufficient checkout resources at peak times often lead to long lines, frustrated customers, and lost sales. Taking water testing poolside and using mobile apps can help resolve these issues and elevate the customer experience.
A water testing database integrated into point-of-sale (POS) software allows staff in-store and in the field to better help customers by viewing test results on a store computer terminal, tablet, or other mobile device. In addition, service techs in the field can upload photos, equipment information, and other customer data for future reference as well as tools to help diagnose water chemistry issues. They even allow techs to send messages directly to clients with recommended product purchases that can be made through your online store.
Mobile service software also gives techs the ability to provide an electronic door hanger that includes before-and-after photos showing the work done. Mobile service apps with swimming pool water testing software integration allows techs to automatically save results for record-keeping and can even be added to the customer’s post-visit electronic door hanger.
Moving the traditional water testing system from an in-store-only service to a mobile poolside service might have emerged from the pandemic, but it also alleviates the typical bottleneck and stress pool and spa businesses have always experienced. By embracing mobile technology, businesses like Underwater Pool Masters and All Seasons are providing better customer service, distinguishing themselves from their competitors, and generating an incredible amount of information for future sales and revenue opportunities.
“We already have our promotional materials complete and have started mailing postcards to customers that only came in to test water and are not using our pool service,” says Lenz. “We are already adding new clients to our service department and couldn’t be more pleased.”
Steve White also says that he was delighted to find that his program was popular in helping first-time pool owners maintain proper chemical levels.
“With all the new pools that were installed this season, our customer base increased dramatically. This program has already helped us gain customer loyalty among this new group of pool owners, a group we hope will continue to use poolside water testing,” White says. “We hope this group never considers going elsewhere for their chemicals and water testing.”
Schedule a demo today to see how mobile swimming pool water testing software integrated with your business management software can help you generate more revenue.
The right swimming pool service management software will improve efficiency. When everyone has access to customer records and inventory, employees can focus on customer satisfaction. Schedule a demo today to see how improved efficiency can help your pool service business.