The COVID-19 pandemic required home service businesses to respond quickly and flexibly. Categorized as essential even in lockdown states, home service professionals have to balance protecting the health and safety of their teams with the needs of their customers.
For many, that meant switching to new business models such as remote work. With automated processes and the right technology, it’s possible to move the majority of a home service business to a work-from-home model.
For most home service businesses, the processes needed to operate safely in the pandemic are new territory. So much of this industry is built on personal interaction — handshakes and strong company culture. Also, in-office culture is strong for most of these close-knit businesses so there wasn’t a need to consider what a remote work model would look like.
But as the pandemic swept across the country, the most successful contractors started rolling out processes, procedures, scripting and communications to help stay ahead of changing conditions. These included sanitation and safety protocols, along with technology to move office staff to at-home work.
Businesses had to help workers overcome the challenges this new model represents. With children home from school and spouses working from home, employees found themselves balancing their families with their work.
Team members can and do experience feelings of isolation while working at home. During this time, business owners and managers should be particularly mindful about communication, keeping the team connected and cohesive. Some helpful strategies to consider:
- Adjust daily task lists and workflows to allow for flexibility;
- Revisit technology requirements to ensure a seamless connection between coordinators and field teams;
- Revise inbound call scripting so all front-line coworkers provide peace of mind to homeowners about your company’s policies and procedures; and
- Utilize Zoom or GoToMeeting for virtual meetings and daily huddles.
Communication is vital to ensuring all employees are doing what it takes to keep the business alive. That means answering calls, billing, collecting, driving revenue, making follow-up calls and delivering excellent customer service.
Continuing to prioritize technician and customer safety is non-negotiable. Contractors can’t neglect the trust they’ve built with their teams and customer base. Maintaining trust is key to establishing a company as an employer and service provider of choice.
Serving clients, serving communities
Right now, home service businesses are being called upon to uphold their company values and deliver the best service they can, as safely as they can. It’s important to constantly develop new workflows and procedures to be good stewards of local laws while protecting their employees and communities.
The goal of the entire industry right now is to weather this time with strength and profitability so home service businesses can return to their offices and greet their customers in-person once again. Business owners must be able to navigate the changes needed to operate safely and come back stronger when this crisis is over. Implementing clear action plans will keep businesses operating and pave the way to brighter days stronger than ever.