While the past 18 months may have been challenging for many of us, it certainly wasn’t without its lessons. One of the biggest things we’ve learned is just how valuable it is to address health and safety.
Businesses were quick to implement safety protocols early last year to ensure customers felt at ease — but, as more states and businesses do away with mask mandates and fully open their doors, some customers want assurance its safe to return.
Companies need to ease the concerns of the more cautious and at-risk members of society. This should go without saying for service companies such as yours.
I spoke with a few contractors to find out what they learned over the past 18 months, what safety protocols they’ve implemented and — most important — how they’re communicating that to their customers. Here’s what they had to say.
What’s your approach to health & safety?
Eric Knaak, Isaac Heating & Cooling: While we have always focused on client and employee safety, we are more diligent when it comes to unseen hazards such as virus and contact related issues.
Darryl Robinson, Robinson Air: We have a different view now on coworkers calling in sick. We used to not think anything about a tech showing up with runny nose and raspy voice since the mentality has always been “come to work if you are able to work.” Now, we’re more likely to tell them to go home and get better before they come to work.
Brian Stack, Stack Heating & Cooling: We have definitely encouraged cleanliness and sanitation more than in the past. We also make sure the technicians are diligent on jobsite and customers’ homes with regard to cleanliness and mask wearing. This will be the new norm in the workplace.
How are you communicating your health/safety measures to your customers?
Knaak: Via our website, e-mail, text messages and phones. Our contact center also has a H&S questionnaire that customers go through prior to calls being run.
Robinson: We let our customers know our technician will show up at their door with a mask if they like, but only require them to continue to wear a mask if the customer is wearing one or requests that the technician wear one. We let the customer take the lead in whether they want to shake hands, or make any kind of physical contact. Our job is to make them comfortable.
Stack: We let our customers know by phone before the technician arrives that we take necessary precautions to be safe. We also ask customers if they or anyone in the home has been sick recently.
Have you seen an uptick in IAQ interest?
Knaak: There has been some … most came early on with MERV 13 filter requests.
Robinson: Yes, mainly from our commercial customers. It seems they too are interested in keeping their coworkers healthy to keep them working.
Stack: We have definitely seen an uptick in ionizer sales.
What’s the biggest lesson you learned?
Knaak: We learned that we can work remotely and that virtual meetings can be effective.
Robinson: The pandemic has made us realize how interconnected businesses are. It is amazing how the lack of production of a single line of circuit board can not only affect the production of one product, but also other industries.
Stack: We need to be better prepared for different situations that may arise. The pandemic has caused us to look at some of our processes and make changes so we are ready if this or some other disaster happens.
What safety measures will you continue to implement moving forward?
Knaak: As much contactless interactions with clients as possible, as well as awareness to symptoms from our employees that may require them to stay home. The office space environment will be different with less shared spaces.
Robinson: We’ve always worn shoe covers, which sets us apart from some of the smaller competitors, but now we’ve added masks and use them as needed, along with latex gloves. There’s nothing really special about what we’re doing. In fact, it’s the norm now. We are sensitive to the way customers want to be treated based on what type of precautions they are personally taking.
Stack: Making sure we screen our employees daily to ensure the workplace is a safe/healthy place to be.