It’s inevitable that you will receive many calls, every pond season, from customers concerning a **pond leak**. You need to have a plan on how you will manage these types of inquiries to help you and your new customer reach success. This article is not about the steps it takes to find a leak but rather how to respond to a customer with a pond leak.
When a customer has a pond leak, they will usually ask you to come out and find the leak in their pond and give them a free estimate on fixing it. It can take many hours just to pinpoint a leak in a pond, so obviously this is not the approach you should be using. **In fact, finding a leak is the time consuming part; repairing it is usually easy.** Instead, you should start by asking several questions over the phone to get a better understanding of their pond system and potential leak.
While speaking with them, explain that the leak needs to be narrowed down **prior to your visit**. After determining a pond’s parameters you may ask the customer to turn pumps and/or filters off for a day while keeping an air pump or secondary smaller filter running. (Fish should not be fed with the filters off.) Then check the water level to start the process. This procedure will help determine if the leak is in the stream or the pond and how fast the pond is losing water.
After this initial discussion, email the customer **your** pond leak-troubleshooting guide. While they are working on taking the water measurements, they will be able to review your other pond leak troubleshooting steps along with your contact information that is in the email. The email will set you apart from other contractors that just give them confusing advice over the phone. In a week, follow up with the customer to see how it’s going.
It’s important for you to also state the price of the service call and initial leak assessment as part of your first phone conversation. As mentioned earlier, many customers may expect this service to be **free**. This service fee can easily be worked into the phone conversation. It will help you qualify the customer and help the customer justify in their own mind how big of a leak problem they really have. Let them know your number one priority is to save them money. This priority begins when the customer starts on the pond leak guide themselves, and then when they get to a certain step, you will visit their pond to troubleshoot the leak further if needed.
Visits should be billed at your hourly rate plus any service call fees, each and every time you visit the pond to try and find the leak. You should always charge by the hour for your time for pond leaks rather than having them be a project or estimate based pricing. If you are unsuccessful in finding the leak during the first visit, ask the customer how many more hours they would like you to put into finding the leak.
Easy enough, right? Answering a quick email or taking an update phone call from a customer with a leak is much easier than driving back and forth to the pond location every few days to try and find the leak.
**Two other tips –**
• An air pump is the most overlooked piece of equipment that any pond owner should have. Using one during leak troubleshooting keeps the water circulating and helps keep the oxygen levels elevated.
• During the fall or early spring is a great time to troubleshoot pond leaks because the water is cooler, holding more oxygen, and the pond fish are less active and eating less.
Pond leaks are a good way to connect with new customers in your area, so **have a process and a plan in place** on what to do when you receive that phone call about a pond leak.
It is your opportunity to demonstrate how you do customer service and gain a new loyal customer.