How To Market Emergency Portable Sanitation Services

How To Market Emergency Portable Sanitation Services
Rhonda R. Savage

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It doesn’t matter what type of business you’re in; people will call you with problems, looking for solutions. Your top marketing person should answer the phone when these calls come in. The ideal salesperson will make your services accessible to the caller and be expeditious in offering help. Make sure you’ve listened to, recorded and trained your phone person. 

You may receive calls like this from a customer: “I don’t think my septic system is working. Sewage is surfacing and there is an odor coming from the septic tank. I don’t have a clue about the system. Can you help me?” 

Your portable restroom or septic pumping business probably doesn’t generate much money on emergency work, but the goal is to convert the emergency client into a long-term, loyal customer. 

Some questions to consider when you’re pondering the skills of your key marketing person who answers emergency calls: 

  • Does he or she explain the process? Or is this person rushed, curt, short and impatient?
  • Does he or she listen to the symptoms?
  • Does he or she reassure the person on the phone that they’ve chosen the best place to call? 

There’s a formula to the phone process that I’d like to go through. This can be a one- to two-minute process when teaching the employee who answers the phone. All phone calls are a dialogue like the following, but these are the essential elements to look for in a call that represents excellent customer service: 

  1. Answer the phone with, “Thanks for calling John’s Septic Pumping, this is Sarah. How can I help you?” The potential new customer will say, “Hi. We’re having a huge family reunion tomorrow and we need our septic tank pumped right away.”
  2. Sarah replies: “Thanks for calling; I can certainly help. Can I have your name, please?” The caller says, “Oh, sure. My name is Tina Jones.” (Get the name, write it down and use it at least four to six times during the call to reassure the caller you’re paying attention.)
  3. Sarah says: “Thanks, Tina. Can I ask how you heard about our services?” (You’re tracking your return on investment with your marketing efforts.)
  4. Sarah continues: “Tina, I’m really sorry you’re having septic problems. What kind of event are you having? Do you have any special needs for your guests?” (Ask empathetic, concerned questions.)
  5. Sarah says: “I know large events can be a lot of work, and are sometimes stressful, Tina. But you’ve chosen the right place to call. Our clients are very happy with our work. After we’re done talking, I’ll email you more information about our services and also send you testimonials. I know we can work within your budget.” (Talk up the business and acknowledge a budget, but not before talking value for the customer.)
  6. Sarah says: “Do you have a budget you’re working within, Tina?” (Using the person’s name repeatedly builds the relationship. Does it sound like you really want their business or are they just ‘one more job’?)
  7. Ask for the business: “Tina, let’s get the dates in the calendar and I’ll need your contact information. Also, I can explain our different services so you can make a decision that’s right for you.” 

Does your employee give the appropriate level of respect and friendliness? Does he or she make it easy for the customer to settle the bill and understand the charges? Understanding financial obligations begins with the first call, but don’t make it all about the money. Relationships create successful business. 

It’s all about talking, listening and behaving in a way that makes clients want to continue with your services. Effective word-of-mouth marketing has to be earned. It’s more than delivering outstanding technical work; it’s about the customer feeling great about their purchase or investment. With the Internet at their fingertips, new customers will check you out online before calling. Great testimonials and surveys begin with the phone and the initial contact. 

About the Author
Rhonda Savage, DDS, is a motivational speaker on leadership, women’s issues and communication. Visit or email


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