How Home Service Industries can Operate during Covid19
The corona pandemic has created a lot of fear in the minds of people, but the focus should be shifted from it and has to be more on how to progress the business in such times and provide people with the services which they need.
1)The gravity of the situation is quite understood but the following steps can be taken in the right manner only with the right mindset, the value of safety and hygiene needs to be understood.
Undoubtedly the first point which pops in the minds of business owners, technician, and customers is the safety issue. Let’s focus on what are the minimum requirements that need to be focused on –
Neat and Clean gloves – the gloves need to be sanitized after every job. After every visit to a location, it needs to be cleaned. Some businesses also can make use of disposable gloves.
The mask is a must, there is no doubt about it. If you are a home service business owner you need to ensure that every on-field worker is wearing it not just on the job, but throughout the travel to the location.
Hand wipes, sanitizer or alcohol-based hand wash to kill the germs, make sure every employee has it and knows how to use it.
Maintain 6 feet of distance with the customer, some of the installation and services don’t require the technicians to enter the home, the installation is done outside the home but if it requires the on-field worker to enter the home then the following 2 points need to be kept in mind
- Ask the customer if anyone in the house is ill, has any symptoms. ( this will be for the safety of the technicians )
- During the course of work inside the house, the worker needs to make sure that he does not touch too many things inside the house and ask the customer to keep the distance.
2) Many businesses have been shut down since the lockdown but some essential businesses still have not been put under lockdown as people require the services and the home service industry is one of them. Now many people are not aware of it, they don’t know if your business is running or has it been closed down for a brief period of time.
Now you need to make people aware of it and this can be done by making use of every social media channel, your website, you can run ads too. If your company is quite big then you should make your marketing team focus on this aspect primarily. If you have a good number of repeat customers you can send out emails to them.
3) When the customers make a call for any kind of services, ensure that you are asking them about their health, try to ask questions on
- The state of their health.
- Any recent travel history to other countries or even within the states.
- Anyone in the home having any kind of symptoms.
Ask them in a polite manner so that the customer realizes that you want to ensure the safety of everyone – the customer and the on-field workers.
4) Keep your on-field workers motivated because they are the vital cog in your business. They are the ones who are moving out in the field. They might have some kind of fear in their minds as they are out there in the field moving from one location to the other.
So if any technician is going through too much anxiety and fear it would be better to give him leave rather than sending him forward for the job.
Focus on providing them with all the sanitization requirements so that the tools and equipment are sanitized time to time.
5) Many small businesses might consider the option of cutting down the salaries of the employees ( back-office managers and on-field workers ) or laying off the workers. Let us address both the aspects
- Cutting down the salary immediately is not the right step as that would set up a bad mindset for the workers, they would lose the trust in you and your business values.
- Laying off the employees is definitely not the solution to the problem until and unless the number of calls has drastically reduced and the revenue is plunging deep down.
The reason why I am saying, it is not a primary solution is that summer is around the corner and there is going to be a surge in demand for the services. At that point of time, you would need your on-field workers to keep your business going. The best bet is to stay calm and wait for a few weeks until this passes and then the business operations will be back to normal.
Until then you can consider the option of giving unpaid leaves to some of them and make the staff understand the reason behind it which they would obviously understand in the present scenario and stand by your decision.
6) Focus on getting the emergency repair services done first and if there are businesses that are receiving a very small number of service calls then you can focus on maintenance contracts. In such a scenario you can reach out to customers who have maintenance contract with your business. This is one way how you could keep the business going if the service calls have seen a drastic impact.