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Essential businesses have faced an array challenges in keeping their employees and customers safe.

Among these, home service companies are presented the uniquely formidable task of having to enter people’s homes in order to do their job. Plumbing, HVAC, pest control, and other maintenance companies have to successfully communicate the steps they are taking to retain confidence internally and externally. Here are some things to keep in mind to help you do just that:

Don’t Panic

You will need to set the tone for your organization. It is understandable and acceptable to be frustrated. Use that to be cautious and prepared, and resist the urge to make decisions that will negatively impact your long-term business because of short term issues. Make a plan for the next month, six months, and beyond to cast a vision for where you want to be coming out of this.

Communicate Early and Often

This message is relevant across business sectors. You can’t wait for someone to ask what you are doing to prevent the spread of the virus. If there is any doubt that you are doing absolutely everything you can to create a safe environment, you’ve already lost. Information needs to be available before it is requested.

Avoid long-form updates; Information needs to be digestible quickly and easily. Video and graphic content goes much further than simple text, and don’t let production value concerns stop you from connecting with your audience in an engaging way.

While you don’t want to constantly send out these longer memos, have a dedicated place where all information is available and make it known to constituents where it can be found.

Consider All Potential Mishaps

Make a physical list of all possible scenarios where there is potential for an employee or customer to contract or spread the coronavirus. This will become your guide for what policy changes need to be enacted going forward.

    • How can you reduce face-to-face interactions?
    • In the case of significant slowdown, how can you support employees that need to be furloughed or laid off?
    • How can you shift your payment or quoting methods to a more digital interaction?
    • Imagine that every customer and employee is at a high risk.
    • What course of actions will be taken if a worker or customer tests positive?

Embrace the Digital Transformation

If you were considering implementing technology into your day-to-day practices, now is the time to fully dive into its potential. In an industry where face-to-face interaction is the norm, use this time as a chance to revolutionize the way you do business.

    • Handle quotes and transactions online before visits.
    • Online scheduling.
    • Communicate updates and company news via social and other online channels instead of traditional means.

Be Prepared for These Changes to Stay

When making these sweeping changes to your business operations, avoid thinking that this will be temporary. The way you conduct business during this time will represent new expectations further down the road from customers. When your first priority becomes the safety and wellbeing of employees and customers, other positive effects will follow suit.

Above all else, over-prepare and over-protect everyone involved. You won’t be faulted for taking precautions that may seem unnecessary to certain individuals. However, you open yourself up to risk with even the smallest shortcoming when it comes to guarding someone’s health. Crowdsource your internal and external audience to better understand what will make them confident to perform their job or do business with you, and you will find that they will become the greatest champions for your brand going forward.