Our world as we know it may never be the same. All of our lives have changed significantly in 2020. We hear the phrase, ”The New Normal” a lot these days. But what does that really mean, and how does it impact our industry, and most importantly, your business?
As we continue to navigate these uncertain waters, and look to the future, we must prepare for a “no longer business as usual” environment. HVAC companies that are proactive will present customers with new approaches and services that are responsive to where we are today.
Even after the government lifts stay-at-home orders, there will be a lot of uncertainty about letting outsiders into our homes for many months ahead. The key is to communicate your safety protocols, and how well-trained your employees are to help ensure customer safety. THIS is the new normal.
You need consistent messaging regarding the importance of caring for your customers’ and employees’ safety. This consistency should be on your website, in your direct marketing, and in all your customer interactions.
PPE: The New Norm
We need to rethink the way we interface with our customers. Even as shelter-in-place rules begin to loosen and the economy opens up again, as a society, we all will have to be recalibrate how we interact with each other.
For HVAC service and replacement companies, this means making PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) a part of how we do business.
Be sure to train your field people on the proper use of PPE, and keep your trucks stocked with masks, glove, and various cleaning products.
This is key to reassuring your customers that you won’t introduce potential contaminants into their home. Once in the home, your employee should explain what he or she will be doing, and how they will help ensure any surfaces they touch are cleaned and sanitized.
The New Normal: Virtual Sales Calls
“No contact” estimates are being advertised all around us from many industries including HVAC. Have you implemented a “Virtual Sales Call” approach? The technology is pretty simple, with free and low-cost applications like Zoom, Skype, and GoToMeeting. What’s most important is you have a script and written processes for how you conduct your virtual sales calls, along with the “Low Contact” visits needed to take measurements, and test and assess system operating conditions.
Your customer can certainly send images from their smart device, giving you a peek at their equipment, possibly even the ductwork – if it’s easily accessible. But in truth, there is nothing like actually being in the space.
Also, it may be difficult or even dangerous to send your customer into an attic or crawl space. And remember, a sales call without static pressures and temperature testing could easily miss key issues with the customer’s existing system.
Low Contact Service Calls and Remote Monitoring
You’ll want to have processes in place to minimize customer contact during service calls. This includes initial virtual diagnostics with videoconferencing and making sure that during the service call the customer not be in the same room as your technician.
It’s important to relay to your customers the importance of not skipping their scheduled maintenance as well. By putting off a fairly quick and painless maintenance visit they could actually cause a much more expensive and “higher contact” emergency repair call.
The “New Normal” may also be an opportunity to make remote monitoring part of your offerings. By remotely monitoring key performance measurements you are able to see potential breakdown issues and/or performance degradation without in-person visits.