The COVID-19 pandemic is upon us, and I’ve had many conversations in the last day with contractor clients about how best to communicate with customers. “Social Distancing” is a new concept in our lives, and apparently the most effective way we collectively can stem the spread of the virus. The key question, of course, is whether social distancing will cause customers to start postponing appointments, tossing your schedule into chaos and, worse, canceling jobs.
A clear, transparent communications approach that describes how your company is responding to the virus is probably your best antidote.
Get Out in Front of It
Every business of every kind should have a policy for protection of both employees and customers. Guidance from the CDC on this is here: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/guidance-business-response.html
A clear policy on best social distancing practices your team will adhere to would appear to be critical.
Consider summarizing your policy in a client facing way, such as this:
HOW WE’RE RESPONDING TO THE CORONAVIRUS
[Your business name] is a home service company, but we’re also local community members ourselves, and like you have been monitoring the evolving news regarding COVID-19. Our employees and technicians are taking additional precautions before, during, and after each of our appointments, and we are regularly reviewing our company-wide health and safety protocols to follow the latest recommendations from professional health organizations. We understand that homeowners and families want to stay safe—we do, too—so we encourage any customers with additional questions or concerns to give us a call.
Prepare Your Customer Service Representatives
Folks answering the phone need to be ready for the inevitable calls. Make sure they fully understand your policy, and can explain what you are doing to keep your team healthy.
Prepare Your Crews
Decide for yourself if you want to make changes to your crew’s approach inside the home. At least one contractor we know has given crews specific training on how to avoid transmission. Since many jobs in our industry require respiratory protection regardless, make a point of emphasizing that. Depending on the specifics of the job you are doing, you may also want to emphasize the benefits to indoor air quality.
Be Ready to Answer Customers’ Tough Questions
- What is the chance one of your employees coming into my home is infected?
- When in my home, what do your people come in contact with?
- Will your crews use bathrooms or other facilities in my home?
- What is your cleanup process after the job?
- Do your crews wear protective clothing and respiratory equipment?
- How are you screening your employees for potential infection?
Some Communications Options You Might Consider
- A prominent universal message about your approach. Place this on your website home page and link to it in your email signature.
- A page or blog post about your Company Policy
- Dedicated email newsletter / announcement
- Dedicated social media post (not boosted – not an ad, but if you’re active with your customer base or community on social media it’s worth acknowledging it organically with those people with whom your business is already connected in some way)
See our Energy Circle Coronavirus Resources page. We’ll keep adding relevant materials here.