WWEMA Meeting to Focus on "Creating Customer Confidence"

With the WEFTEC® event just around the corner, many exhibitors are preparing their strategies for attracting customers to their booths in hopes of garnering interest in their latest offerings.

By Dawn Kristof

With the WEFTEC® event just around the corner, many exhibitors are preparing their strategies for attracting customers to their booths in hopes of garnering interest in their latest offerings. The expression "every second counts" certainly applies to the challenge facing these exhibitors in their effort to gain valuable face time with their customers.

Competition is intense in the water and wastewater industry, and margins are thin, thus making every opportunity to win customer confidence crucial. This holds true for all participants serving this industry. We all have customers and we all are in some form of sales, whether it is to sell a product, an idea, or a service. Our ultimate customer – the public – needs to be convinced beyond any doubt that the water they drink is safe and the wastewater is treated in adherence to environmental standards.

WWEMA selected "Creating Customer Confidence" as the theme of its 95th Annual Meeting to highlight the importance of meeting customer expectations in the water and wastewater industry, especially during this period of heightened security and pressing infrastructure needs.

Several panel sessions will feature municipal officials who can speak to the radical changes taking place in the water and wastewater industry and the types of technologies that will be in greatest demand.

Buddy Morgan, general manager of the Montgomery (AL) Water Works and Sanitary Sewer Board and president of the Association of Metropolitan Sewerage Agencies, will join AMSA's executive director, Ken Kirk, in a comprehensive look at the wastewater treatment industry, from new federal standards to better asset management.

Scott Kelly, director of Water, Wastewater and Reuse Treatment at the Jacksonville Electric Authority, will offer his unique perspective on the relationship between water, wastewater and reuse and the technologies that will be needed to promote energy and natural resource efficiency and conservation into the future.

Gene Schiller, deputy executive director of the Southwest Florida Water Management District, will provide insight into the dynamics of government entities and ways to bridge the information gap to reach municipal customers, in a presentation titled "Why Don't They Understand?"

Change is also in the works for water and wastewater equipment manufacturers, from the way they collect information on customers, to the way they forecast sales and market their products and services. Bob McIlvaine, president of The McIlvaine Company, will speak to these radical transformations and offer an analysis and forecast for this industry.

In keeping with the theme of this year's Annual Meeting, WWEMA has scheduled a special, two-hour interactive, role-playing workshop on the topic "Creating Customer Confidence." Author and international speaker Carolyn Kerner Stein will help meeting attendees develop successful customer communications and employee relations skills by covering such topics as: how to handle difficult customers; overcoming employee apathy, boredom and conflict; six major listening mistakes; avoiding trigger words that alienate customers; techniques to target clients' needs; and using teamwork to achieve goals.

The goal of WWEMA's 95th Annual Meeting will be to equip attendees with the tools they need to better serve their customers in the water and wastewater industry. The venue for this year's event will be the historic Ponte Vedra Inn & Club, a five-diamond rated, 300-acre oceanfront resort located in Ponte Vedra Beach, FL. Join us on November 6-8 for an inspiring look into the future of this industry and its customers' expectations.

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