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Unique Relationship With Its Customers May Have Saved ThermoSpas

| by Paul Brown

Many American consumers would agree that customer service is a dying art in this country. From Internet service providers to airlines to any other sector, customer service ratings are at an all-time low in several industries across the board.

While some companies may focus on the bottom line more than on maintaining good relationships with consumers, others are proving that investing resources, time, and attention on one's customer base can prove to be lucrative in the long run.

Back in 2012, the Wallingford, Connecticut-based company ThermoSpas, Inc., filed for bankruptcy. The organization had been derailed by the recession in 2008-09, and it lacked the resources to properly manage every aspect of the business. According to the "Hartford Courant," the company "reported $2.6 million in assets and nearly $18 million in debts, mostly to unsecured creditors."

Jacuzzi Group Worldwide immediately took notice – seeing a major opportunity. ThermoSpas' direct-to-consumer in home sales model was extremely attractive because it was unlike any of the other hot tub brands owned by Jacuzzi Group Worldwide subsidiaries. Traditionally, hot tubs are sold through independent dealers; only ThermoSpas interacted with customers directly throughout the entire process, from scheduling the site inspection, to the sale, through delivery and even service.

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Thus, a subsidiary of Jacuzzi Group Worldwide acquired the assets of ThermoSpas, Inc. and formed ThermoSpas Hot Tub Products, Inc. This acquisition permitted the ThermoSpas’ model of service to continue, with additional resources and an improved infrastructure.

The ThermoSpas® business model, specifically its direct-to-customer sales, was kept intact by ThermoSpas Hot Tub Products, Inc. All involved seemed to recognize that ThermoSpas' bankruptcy was far more the byproduct of the economy at that time than any real problems with the organization's business model.

A ThermoSpas representative describes the company's business model:

"ThermoSpas’ direct-to-consumer model means that we are in contact with the consumer through every stage of the buying process and beyond. It starts with the complimentary site inspection, where we help consumers pick the perfect location for their spa to be installed. The site inspection also allows for us to work directly with the customer to custom-build a hot tub to match both their individual needs and specific budget," he said.

“After purchase, we continue to deal directly with our customers through scheduling, delivery and installation along with being the point of contact for any future service requests – a role traditionally played by independent contractors or dealers. We really have an end-to-end relationship with our customers. Ensuring we provide the highest level of customer service is essential to the success of the brand."

ThermoSpas has become renowned for its hands-on sales and close relationship with customers. This 360 degree, total-control style of business ownership is absolutely unique, and with the added resources of Jacuzzi Group Worldwide, ThermoSpas has been able to thrive in recent years.

As part of this consumer-centric business model, the company believes passionately in top-notch customer service.

"Investing in the people and resources to make our customer service even better makes perfect sense to us," said Drew Meng of Jacuzzi Group Worldwide. "We are absolutely focused on customer satisfaction, knowing this is the key to our continued success."

Going forward, the management of ThermoSpas is optimistic about the company’s future.

"I am personally thrilled to enter this new chapter for ThermoSpas as a subsidiary of Jacuzzi Group Worldwide," a ThermoSpas representative said. "Their expertise and resources will enable ThermoSpas to continue providing outstanding service to our customer base, and I'm certain that ThermoSpas will provide some significant enhancements to the Jacuzzi® and Sundance® Spas brands."