A few months ago, our natural gas detector’s alarm went off. A guy from the utility company was quickly out to the house to take a look. Within about a minute, he had deemed it to be a false alarm. At that point, however, he did not simply leave. He poked around the utility closet and began giving suggestions (which were appreciated). At one point, he noticed water under the water heater and recommended having this checked out very soon. This was the weekend, so I kept an eye on things. I noted that the spot under the water heater was dry about 90% of the time. The odds of it being wet at a time when I was looking into the utility closet were not good. If the guy from the gas company hadn’t noticed it, it probably would have been too late. I absolutely hate cleaning up water messes.

There was a sticker on the water heater, recommending calling a particular business for service. It was a pest control business, which definitely seemed odd. However, I have seen business doing some very unusual things as a sideline, so I figured I’d give the guy a call, on the off chance that he was the correct person to call.

Not surprisingly, he was not the correct person to call. He got quite a chuckle out of the fact that his sticker was on the heater. He did recommend another local business. He had recently had his water heater replaced, and he had been happy with the service.

I called the water heater guy. He told me that, most likely, the water heater was shot. This was not a huge shock, and since it was probably as old as the house (15 years) it was probably time to bite the bullet and buy a new water heater. He indicated that he could sell me a heater and install it, or I could purchase a heater elsewhere and have him install it. I asked for a price quote for 40 and 50 gallon heaters. He gave me the quotes and strongly recommended the 40 gallon heater for my family of three. I tend to get a good vibe about a person’s honesty when they try to sell me the less expensive product.

I decided to buy a heater at a local store and have the guy install it, as it was a bit cheaper that way. I made some measurements and compared them to the specs for the 50 gallon water heater. I should have just barely enough room.

The guy came to do the installation. He nearly fainted when he saw the cramped quarters of the utility closet (there is absolutely no wiggle room, which seems like a rather poor design). He grabbed a tape measure, and much to my dismay, he declared that I am a half inch short on space!

So I go back to the store, and buy the 40 gallon model. The installer came back the next day, and before long, I have a perfectly functioning water heater. The installer had a very pleasant demeanor and shared advice and stories with me as he worked.

Less than a week later, my neighbor asked if I like the job that this guy did. My neighbor’s water heater also bit the dust. I gave a glowing recommendation, and the water heater guy soon had another happy customer.

This is a great example of how someone is rewarded for providing high quality customer service. This guy turned one original customer (the pest control guy) into two more customers by simply providing good customer service.

Since I know there are a couple of local readers, I’ll give the business a free plug : it is Hawkeye Sewer and Drain.

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Kosmo is the founder of The Soap Boxers and writes on a variety of topics. Many of his short stories have been collected into Kindle books.

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