Successfully providing on-site service during the COVID-19 crisis requires both increased communications and special precautions.
Be clear that you are putting the health of your crew and the health of the homeowner first. Your customers will feel more comfortable if they know what to expect from you and what is expected of them. Getting everyone on the same page will also make it more likely that you, your crew and your customers are all taking steps to keep each other safe. Here are some suggestions for ways to communicate with the homeowner before your crew enters their house.
- Download “Our Commitment To You” sales tool. This can be used to help reassure customers about your safety procedures. Share it with the homeowner during the bid or as a follow-up to your first call.
- Inform them of enhanced precautions. You and your crew have worked hard to develop protocols that let you continue service while staying safe. Be sure to share these details with your customers. For example, share your plans for sanitizing tools and surfaces, wearing PPE, and keeping appropriate social distance.
- Ask that they prepare the area of service. It is in their best interest to move items away from the surfaces being painted ahead of time. This will minimize unnecessary contact with surfaces in the home.
- Make a mutual wellness check. Call the customer the day before their service is scheduled and ask if anyone in the household has been diagnosed with or exposed to COVID-19. This is an excellent opportunity to let them know you conduct daily health monitoring of your crew and to reinforce the importance of social distancing precautions.
- Call or text before arriving. Let the customer know that you are on your way. This will give them the opportunity to open the entry door and prepare to remain 6 feet away from workers.
Having accurate, up-to-date information is key to providing excellent customer service in this difficult time. This includes staying informed of the latest workplace recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO). This also includes staying on top of the most recent work-related legislation at the local, state and national levels. Here are some steps you can take to keep your crew informed and empowered.
- Support the use of personal protective equipment (PPE) and single-use materials. Train all crew members on the proper use of PPE to minimize the spread of illness. Switch to one-time-use materials whenever possible, including single-use drop cloths.
- Follow the Take Responsibility for Workers and Families Act. This legislation mandates that all workers, regardless of employer size or occupation, are eligible for two weeks of emergency paid sick leave and 10 weeks of paid family and medical leave, among other protections. Adhering to this legislation and making other enhanced allowances for paid sick time helps employees have the resources they need to stay home if they become ill.
- Monitor your crew’s health and wellness. Begin each day by checking in with your crew to make sure they are healthy and following proper safety precautions. This could include a quick temperature check of every active crew member as well as a check to see if anyone has been at risk of COVID-19 exposure. If they show a fever or have been exposed to the virus, you may have to send them home. Take the time during this check-in to go over the latest procedures and expectations regarding PPE, cleaning protocols and social distancing.
Approach each situation with flexibility and understanding. There is no universal playbook that will work for every business or in every home. From technical capabilities, to health concerns, to personal values — everyone’s situation is unique. Finding the right solution for your customers, your crew and your business may take a little bit of ingenuity and even some tech savvy. Here are some ways you can adapt.
- Make it easy to select colors from home. Your customers can dive into color design from the comfort of their homes. Encourage homeowners to visit colorsnap.com, where they can download the free ColorSnap® Visualizer to preview colors in real time. They can also go to swcolorchips.com to get up to ten 2″ x 3″ ColorSnap® color chips delivered FREE.
- Offer virtual bids. Virtual bids are a great way to provide another no-contact solution prior to winning the bid. This could involve having the customer walk you through the job using the camera on their mobile device. Or, the customer could send images and the dimensions of the space they want painted.
- Offer no-contact service. You may be familiar with no-contact delivery, but you can also offer your customers no-contact in-home service. This gives them the option to remain in a different area from your workers at all times. This generally includes accommodations like:
◦ Mailing or emailing service agreements ahead of time;
◦ Communicating via text or phone while on-site;
◦ Mailing or emailing the invoice; and
◦ Accommodating no-contact transactions by accepting payment via mail or over the phone.
- Be open to requests for additional precautions. Whether you’re serving vulnerable populations or simply accommodating a customer who is extra cautious, the experience will be better for everyone if you are responsive to their requests.
It is a time of uncertainty for many businesses. But with some care and creativity, there is also an opportunity to step up and provide great service in the face of adversity.