Expanding eligibility, accessibility, and availability of COVID-19 vaccines has enabled the reopening of many businesses and ushered in what is widely being dubbed “the new normal.” When the pandemic was at its peak, businesses faced unprecedented challenges and new safety protocols that forced changes in operations and service. As a result, many businesses have observed an undeniable shift in customer expectations in regards to how service is carried out.
As we look to the future, many of your customers are likely to have heightened concerns about technicians performing service within their homes or businesses. As such, it’s best to integrate business processes that address shifting customer concerns and ensure that you’re providing a safe environment and peace of mind for your customers and your technicians alike.
Ensuring Tech and Customer Safety
The demand for service has increased significantly as restrictions have been lifted. That demand is likely to continue rising as customers continue to get more comfortable with the idea of having field technicians inside their homes and businesses to perform service.
In a recent survey, consumers indicated that they still expect companies to prioritize their safety, even as vaccination numbers rise. When asked about technicians carrying out service visits, 45% of respondents said they would prefer to know that the technician was vaccinated; 34% went so far as to say they would only allow the visit if the technician was vaccinated.
Consider taking these steps to show customers that their safety and comfort are top priorities for your business:
- Limit the duration of service visits and schedule orders during off-hours or when there are fewer people on site.
- For businesses, schedule service for outside of business hours when possible.
- For residential service, minimize interaction by scheduling service while other members of the household are at work or school.
- Segment your technicians by speciality to ensure they’re able to perform the necessary service on the first visit.
- Follow social distancing guidelines.
- Use email and text messages to communicate without person-to-person contact.
- Be sure you can accept contactless payments.
In addition to customer safety, pest control businesses also need to consider what they can do to keep their technicians safe in the field. There are several steps you can take to protect your technicians during service calls. Be sure to:
- Routinely disinfect trucks and other shared resources.
- Provide ample supplies of PPE, including masks and gloves.
- Ensuring your technicians wear the appropriate PPE on service calls also shows customers that you’re committed to their safety.
- Equip technicians with smartphones to take advantage of text messaging and service software apps that can support social distancing requirements and improve information sharing to minimize the need to come to office.
- Enforce any employer mandated vaccination policies and maintain relevant notes within technician records.
Communicate With Your Customers
As the new normal continues to evolve, the way you communicate with customers will also change to accommodate shifting policies and precautions to keep with best practices. Communication before, during, and after service calls is a critical part of delivering quality service, even when you have to limit facetime with customers. Use marketing tools to:
- Communicate any updates on questions that customers might ask prior to a service visit.
- Health-related updates.
- Requests for only vaccinated staff.
- Limitations on which indoor/outdoor services are available.
- Preferences for when to perform service, such as a time when no one is home.
- Update customers on service visit protocols.
- Provide information on your safety, mask, and vaccination policies.
- Update your website with your new policies so customers always have easy access to up-to-date information.
Building Trust by Performing Quality Service Safely
While a recent survey found that most consumers indicated they would be more loyal to a company that innovates new ways to offer remote support and eliminate technician visits, this isn’t typically an option for field service industries. To create trust, loyalty, and long-term customers, field service companies need to focus on implementing safety protocols and ensuring each visit is of the highest quality.
Providing high quality service starts with the initial call requesting service. Having the tools in place to take an order and accommodate customer preferences for vaccinated techs, masking, off-hours scheduling, adjustments to how services are carried out, or other requests is essential to building a positive customer relationship. Confirming appointments and asking screening questions allows you to take the next step to ensure your customer knows you are committed to their safety while providing service.
With heightened concern around physical contact, your technicians should be practicing social distancing and eliminating the need for physical contact to put your customers at ease as soon as they arrive on site. Technicians can:
- Limit the time they spend on site by reviewing the account and preparing appropriately before arrival.
- Capture relevant information and limit exposure in busy areas with smart devices.
- Use mobile apps to document findings, prepare and send reports, receive signatures, and contactlessly collect payments.
As we settle into the new normal, policies and procedures that were once standard in providing field service are no longer sufficient to protect your employees and customers. Successful companies will be those that continue to safely service customers and build loyalty by readily integrating new processes and best practices as we continue to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic.
To learn about more specific ways you can better service your customers with PestPac, check out these Community articles:
- Keep track of which technicians are vaccinated and which customers requested a vaccinated technician through employee profiles and customer records.
- Grant employees the time to go and receive the vaccine by blocking your technicians’ schedules using time blocks.
- Use digital forms to capture important information from your customers (including whether they would prefer a vaccinated tech to service their home), have them agree to your updated safety policies, and more.
- Notify customers of upcoming services and help them prepare for a safe visit with CallAhead.