Melissa McKean joined Culligan of Cincinnati in the spring of 2020, while Ohio was on a statewide lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic. But only weeks into her role as GM for the Cincinnati store—which remained open as an essential business—Melissa had a distinct appreciation for Culligan’s commitment to delivering peace of mind for customers when it comes to the water they depend on day in and day out.
“We try our best to do what’s right for the customer and keep the customer top of mind from beginning to end,” she says. Caring for customers’ well-being is part of Culligan’s DNA; today, that dedication is reflected in virtual appointment options and enhanced sanitation and protection measures for installers, service technicians and sales reps. We spoke with Melissa and her colleague Russ Vermillion recently about how the Culligan of Cincinnati team is helping customers in Hamilton County address their top water concerns.
Melissa, you’re new to the field as well as being new to Culligan—what have you learned already about water and water treatment? What are you enjoying about Culligan?
There are so many aspects through which you can look at water. Knowing the different things that can be in your water, whether good or harmful—working at Culligan has really brought that to light for me.
For us, taking care of customers, that involves everyone from the sales reps to technicians and everyone in between. It takes our sales reps to go out and make sure customers are getting everything they need, then the technicians go out and do the install and make sure before they leave that the customer is satisfied. Then with the folks in the office, it’s following up with the customer, and if they have any questions or concerns, following up on a timely basis.
We earn great Google reviews. About 95% of our customers say that they like the product; the technician and the sales reps were knowledgeable; and there was good communication.
What are the top water quality issues you see in the area?
Russ: We’re a hard-water market; we’re about 18 to 20 grains per gallon. (*Note: The not-for-profit Water Quality Association defines hard water as containing 7.0–10.5 grains of dissolved calcium and magnesium per gallon; “very hard water” contains more than 10.5 grains per gallon.) We’re about 95% city water, and the city water is fairly decent water; it’s just hard.
We do a lot of education in our market about hard water—people don’t know that it’s hard water causing their water spots on glassware and glass fixtures, things like that.
Now, too, we filter for chlorine (which municipalities use to treat their water) in probably 70% of all installations.
What does Culligan’s water testing and consultation process look like?
Russ: We’ll go out on a consultation appointment at their convenience to the customer’s location; we’re going to test for hardness, chlorine, pH and total dissolved solids. We will present all product lines available to the customer that will address all of their water-related concerns. Our reps will ask a lot of questions—it’s very interactive, a very customer-based consultation.
After a water softener, filtration system or combination system is installed, what do you recommend as far as maintenance?
Russ: All of our products have the availability to be on the Culligan Privilege Program, which is basically an extended maintenance program where we take care of the equipment completely; customers don’t have to look at it, touch it, think about it. With softeners, we deliver salt and do refills as necessary. With filtration systems, depending on the solution, it’s once or twice a year to go out and change the filter.
What do you like most about your Culligan of Cincinnati team?
Melissa: We’re all problem-solvers, and we try to get the solution as quickly as possible.
Russ: We work really well together—in this store, you have close to 200 years of combined experience.