When the Service Team of Professionals’ emergency line rings, the caller hears: “Service Team of Professionals, Steve (or another colleague), how may I help you?” This initial phone call is a critical step in STOP’s beginning service to our customer.
First, we determine from the customer exactly what the difficulty is. When we receive a call about mold in an attic that has been there for months or years, we will arrange a service call to review the circumstance on a regular work day. When we receive a call of a sewer backup, we dispatch a team quickly to begin mitigating the damage. At times what seems like the world's worst flood may be something that won't require any services on our part after we scope the damage. When we reassure the customer that the team is applying the correct steps and help them know what the customer can do next, stress levels begin to ease.
STOP Coeur d’Alene is more than happy to respond to service on weekends or at any hour. However, we use the assessment phase to understand if the circumstance requires immediate response. This is not because we don't want to go out at night; we don't want to charge after hour rates in a situation where it isn’t necessary. Responding after hours when not necessary is poor stewardship for customers as well as insurance companies. If the situation was a water leak at 11 PM, and the water was shut off by the customer; in most situations the customer will be well served if we arrive early the next morning rather than trying to start mitigation at night. In our assessment process we agree with the customer what the best steps are. While we provide guidance, the ultimate choice always belongs to our customers.
Also during the assessment call, we determine which expert to send, how many service individuals and what equipment to make available. For example when a customer calls with two feet of water in the basement, we want to make sure a large pump is on the truck and not sitting back in our shop.
Second, we work to reduce as much stress for the customer as possible. As we understand the circumstance, we can assure the customer that steps will be taken promptly to mitigate the difficulty. We listen while we act.
Third, we want to discuss with the customer any steps that may be taken quickly to mitigate the situation before our arrival. We make certain the water is shut off in an active leak situation. Also, a customer may indicate they have a shop vac they could use to remove water in a flooded living room. In these circumstances we encourage the customer to start removing water. This reduces damage as well as the work required upon our arrival.
Fourth, we want to be certain the homeowner is not taking steps that will risk health, safety, or potentially create more damage. When I spoke with one homeowner with water in their basement they told me they were using several fans to start a drying process. I asked where the fans were located. One was placed right next to the furnace. I asked the homeowner to turn the fan off immediately because there was a significant possibility of sucking in carbon monoxide from the furnace.
Another example was a commercial property that had a sewer backup. I cautioned the manager to ensure the staff took their shoes off when leaving contaminated areas. Otherwise the contamination would be tracked throughout the property requiring more and costly cleanup.
Another customer had used towels to stop sewer water. We advised them how to protect themselves from illness and how to properly clean the towels that were contaminated.
In some situations we can give advice by phone about how to best handle contents to avoid making the situation worse. On one occasion, contrary to our advice, a homeowner with smoke damage took a lot of smoke-covered items out of the home and placed them in a detached garage. Unfortunately this resulted in spreading the smoke odor to the garage requiring additional cleaning that should have been unnecessary.
The service from STOP begins when the phone rings and we make a connection with a customer who needs our help. Service is not concluded until we finish the job and the customer signs the certificate of satisfaction. STOP begins with your call but we won’t STOP until you are satisfied.