With backgrounds from educator to 911 dispatcher, the five women on the 25-member Universal Plumbing staff bring special skills to the business that Larry Jones founded in 1985. However, Shalanda Morris, the business manager and former educator who joined the company in 2018, says listening is key to customer service.
“Any time someone calls our office, it’s probably not a good day for them because something has happened,” she says. “They’re nervous about how much the repairs are going to cost and about who’s going to come into their home.”
She believes the women on the staff offer customers a reassuring presence.
“We understand how to build trust with our customers and be empathetic,” Shalanda says. “We support them and put them at ease before our plumber ever gets to their home. We want them to know they called the right place, and we’ll be with them throughout the entire process.”
Universal Plumbing, which has flat-rate pricing and an A+ rating by the Better Business Bureau, specializes in residential repairs. In addition, the company offers commercial and installation services.
A self-described “problem solver,” Shalanda also worked with local schools to develop a Drainee Trainee Program to recruit the next generation of tradesmen and plumbers. Through the program, the company lets students shadow plumbers and hires them for summer or fulltime jobs.
Shalanda is joined on staff by Jasmine, who works in human resources; Stephanie, a customer service representative and former 911 dispatcher; and Frances, who handles paperwork. The entire staff also looks up to Claudia, who joined her brother’s family business in 1986.
“I call her the motherboard,” Shalanda says. “Everyone goes to her for help with everything from pricing to customer service.”
Shalanda also attributes the company’s success to the community it has built inside and outside the office.
“We’re a stronger company because of the women we have here,” she says.
2415 Milledgeville Rd, Augusta, GA 30904