I read this article and it reminded me of two issues we still encounter in our industry:

  • Water Quality Improvement dealers and water utilities still don’t get along as well as they should..
  • Certain water quality improvement marketing techniques are outdated and borderline deceptive.

Water is the lifeblood of all industry, our very civilization hinges on the quality and quantity of water that we have available. Water utilities are tasked with a difficult job: Deliver lots of water at a cheap price. Since the vast majority of water delivered by a utility is never used within the home or consumed by humans, it makes no sense to deliver extremely clean water throughout a city; it would be cost-prohibitive and illogical. It makes far more sense to deliver a “utility-grade” water through the entire system; water that meets or exceeds minimum standards and is generally usable. Individual users can then (at their own expense) improve their water quality to meet their specific standards or requirements for drinking, bathing, cleaning or business/industry. Utilities live in constant fear of being sued by consumers, so they never want to even hint that their water isn’t “perfect” and “pristine”.

It is time for us all to be realistic: Utilities do the very best job that they can within the operational and financial restrictions placed upon them. Utility-grade water in the United States is better than many other nations but it is NOT perfect and there is nothing wrong with educating end-users about products/services to make their water better. Utility managers need to acknowledge that they provide a utility-grade water, and that there is indeed room for improvement in quality and even aesthetics like taste, and odor.

Water quality improvement dealers need to realize that the utility is their friend; delivering good water that can usually be significantly improved without spending too much of their customer’s money. I wish more dealers would do business the way that my ProFlow dealers do, and spend more on water quality training, research and education than they do on marketing. Be the best, don’t just tell people that you are!

Bottle-drops and other similar water-quality marketing techniques frequently concern consumers, especially when the water dealership has words like “environmental” in their name. There are better ways to do business in the 21st century, and certainly better ways to begin your relationship with a prospective new customer.

There are many ways to market yourself to prospective customers, but the best way is to so a good job at a fair price.

The WQA‘s Code of Ethics is very helpful to dealers who need guidance in these matters.

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Confusion Over Water Bottles Left At Mailboxes

By Robin Kanady
Published: April 07, 2011

A company selling water filtration systems is leaving water bottles, asking residents to fill them up. But now neighbors are full of questions.

Ann Wilson says, “There was a bottle. It was in a plastic bag.” Wilson came home and found a water kit hanging on her mailbox. She says, “That’s when we realized there was a problem out there.”

Wilson found a flier with instructions attached, telling her to fill the bottle up with tap water, to answer some questions, and hang the sample back on her mailbox for pick-up.

Wilson was already familiar with the bottles and fliers. She works as a customer service representative at the Powdersville Water District. Wilson says, “We had had customers to call our office saying they didn’t understand, or they didn’t know if the water was safe.”

The Powdersville Water District did not send out the water bottles. A company named Environmental Progress, headquartered in Lexington, distributed the water kits. The company’s general manager Frank Sansone told News Channel 7 over the phone they don’t think anything is wrong with the water in Powdersville and that the company is using the bottles to test the water quality, in order to sell water filtration systems.

News Channel 7 asked Dyke Spencer, General Manager of the Powdersville Water District, “What would you say to somebody who got one of these (the water kits)? Should they do it? Should they send their water off? Spencer replied, “Save your money.”

Spencer says the water district tests water quality routinely. He says there are no problems. As for Environmental Progress, Spencer does not like the way they’re testing the waters in Powdersville. He says, “I question more the way it’s being solicited and causing alarm to our customers.”

Environmental Progress says they’ll notify the town or county where they do business and get a license to hang the water bottles on mailboxes.

We checked out Environmental Progress with the Better Business Bureau. The BBB says the company is in good standing. Over the last three years, environmental progress has had 8 complaints. The concerns were related to water filtration equipment and not solicitation. The BBB says all 8 of those complaints have been resolved.