Recently, we came home to a sound that was unmistakable: Hissing and gurgling in the water lines; a sound we knew all too well from water problems in an apartment decades ago.
So, when my husband turned to me and said, “I think we have a serious problem in the laundry room,” my heart sank.
As it turned out, he was right. There was a leak somewhere in our plumbing lines. But where? The 50-year-old radiant heating system? Our 10-year-old hot water heater? The 25-year-old boiler? We needed a professional – and fast – to answer these questions.
And it was already 9:00 in the evening.
The first plumber we called – a fairly well-known countywide small business whose name immediately came to mind (repair trucks are often in our neighborhood and ads are in the local paper) – directed us to an answering service, which was understandable, given the hour. Our request for a call back was urgent, and we were assured that someone would be in touch, soon.
Meanwhile, we sprang into action, emptying the heating lines, and filling the tub with water in anticipation of having none. We also turned off the water, just in case. An hour had passed and still no call.
So, we called another plumber, this time a smaller small business that has been a local staple for generations. And shame on us for not calling them first.
Our call went directly to a friendly, knowledgeable associate who could answer our questions, provide information on the situation, and make us feel better in the process. They asked if we wanted someone to come over right away. Since the hissing sound had gotten much quieter once we turned off the water source, we decided to wait until morning. They assured us that someone would be out first thing the next morning. And they were.
If you are a small business that provides emergency services, be available. Quickly. If you employ an answering service, be sure they have two or three contacts who will immediately respond. Make sure employees charged with responding know they are on call, and set a rotating schedule so no one is burdened with being “on the clock” around the clock.
Oh, and that first plumber? They called the next morning. Eleven hours later. Ouch.
I know which small business I will be recommending to friends when they have water issues in the future.
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