Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, HVAC and plumbing company operators have had to adjust their business practices drastically. Standard business practices, including customer payment methods and in-home technician protocol, have all shifted to maintain ongoing operations. While some of these changes may have seemed temporary at first, many are beginning to realize that most of these new practices are here to stay.
Now that we're officially one year into the pandemic check out what's considered the "new normal" for HVAC and plumbing contractors.
Increased Customer Demand for Upgraded HVAC Systems
After gaining a better understanding of COVID-19 over the past year, research led experts to the discovery that the virus not only spreads through direct contact but through aerosol droplets as well. Due to this discovery, indoor locations that do not feature adequate ventilation are now viewed as potential hotspots for infection. With good indoor air quality relying on proper ventilation, high-grade filtration, and even humidity control, many consumers are looking to upgrade their now seemingly outdated systems.
Consider offering upgraded HVAC systems and services to meet this customer demand better if you haven't already. Simple upgrades such as the use of MERV-13 or higher air filters can reduce the flow of airborne COVID-19 particles. Likewise, you should consider extending your product offerings by adding portable air cleaners to the list. High-Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) portable air filters offer customers a more targeted system of filtration around the home. Research has also shown that increased humidity can help slow the spread of COVID-19 indoors, so consider offering these compact humidifier technologies as well.
For more in-depth COVID-19 reduction service, look into offering UV germicidal lights and bipolar ionization air cleaning systems installations. These systems work hand in hand with current HVAC systems to neutralize airborne virus particles. As for the plumbing industry, the growing demand for touchless technology, including faucets and toilets, is expected to help users avoid direct contact with typical high-germ areas.
Enhanced In-Home Technician Protocol
Although we are now very much in the motions of vaccination distribution and declining infection numbers, customers may still be a bit uneasy about HVAC and plumbing technicians within their homes. Along with the established COVID-19 protocols, HVAC and plumbing businesses should expect to continue following best prevention practices when inside a customer's home for the time being.
PPE, or personal protective equipment, will help continue to protect both your technicians and customers from the risk of infection. Face masks, gloves, and shoe coverings are all simple resources that your company will need to remain stocked on to ensure happy and healthy customers and technicians. Protocol for effective sanitizing before and after home visits should also continue to be followed to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
If you haven't yet, further minimize technician-to-customer contact by using readily available field service management software and additional communication methods. Whether a text or voice call, giving customers the heads up of technician arrival can allow both parties to prepare appropriately. Not only can this ensure the safety of everyone involved, but it can boost overall customer satisfaction.
Increased Use of Remote Communication
Along with enhanced in-home protocol, HVAC and plumbing company operators should also expect that the fewer workers required to pack into a customer's home to complete a task, the happier and more comfortable customers will be. Across countless industries, the adoption of video calling and remote guidance has increased significantly to tackle concerns that typically require a team. As for the necessity of team gatherings and meetings, remote communication software such as Zoom and Google Meets are being used to gather teams remotely and safely while still ensuring all necessary points are adequately discussed.
Also, field service management software has enhanced remote communication between both customers and HVAC and plumbing technicians. For example, rather than packing your technicians into a small office each day to collect work order details, field service management software can be used to distribute and update all necessary information remotely with the touch of an app. Furthermore, this same technology can be used to collect customer payments remotely, eliminating the need for close customer-to-technician contact.
Updates to Company Marketing Materials
Along with the recent shift in customer expectations and enhanced system and technician practices, your marketing efforts may need to shift as well. Throughout the pandemic, it's been crucial for business owners to share the steps they're taking to ensure safety between customers and their team.
Adding such details into your marketing can help boost customer comfort, helping to raise the overall potential of them choosing your services. Likewise, with the desire for upgraded HVAC and plumbing systems or products such as upgraded filter installations and touchless plumbing upgrades, expect the need to advertise these new services. Effective advertising can help quickly sell a customer on the fact you offer the best up-to-date services in the area and care about their health and safety.
Business Success in the New Normal
After more than a year into the pandemic, businesses across the nation have seen significant changes to their daily operations. To ensure a positive customer base, we'll need to extend these operational shifts for a bit longer (if not indefinitely). While the world continues to get back to "normal," stay ahead of the pack by adhering to these best practices.
Director of Operations at JB Warranties