While Covid-19 shuttered countless businesses and forced millions to convert their kitchen tables into remote work stations, the home services industry continued deploying technicians to fix furnaces, unclog toilets, and rewire homes. Trade workers became unsung heroes of the pandemic, performing essential services during unprecedented times.
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The uncertainty of the global coronavirus pandemic, coupled with lockdowns and travel limitations, influenced homeowners to invest their savings—and for Americans in many cases their Covid stimulus checks—into home improvement and construction projects, not on trips to the beach or big cities.
As Covid-19 cases rose, HVAC, plumbing, electrical and other service companies in the trades adapted to the situation by providing their techs with PPE including face coverings and hand sanitizer, promising social distancing, communicating safety protocols, and implementing other safety measures to reassure weary customers. Like frontline workers and healthcare providers, their jobs accelerated with the pandemic.
With the country opening up and states beginning to ditch their mask mandates now that vaccine eligibility has expanded to everyone and vaccination sites are everywhere, from health departments to grocery stores, you may suddenly find yourself fielding questions about your techs’ Covid-19 vaccination status. And depending on your company’s location, it could present a major undertaking, or a minor concern.
Attitudes vary widely across the country
When it comes to the Covid-19 vaccine, perceptions vary significantly from Texas to New York to Oregon.
For example, Vermont reports more than double the number of fully vaccinated people compared with Mississippi. As a business owner, the state-by-state vaccination numbers likely mirror your own employees’ vaccination rates, so you may offer a full fleet of vaccinated techs, or only a couple who received the jab. The same goes for your customer base.
It’s important to note that businesses have no legal authority to mandate employee vaccinations, and it’s truly up to each individual.
Some are wary of side effects, and if they had them after the first shot might not have returned for the second dose. Others don't trust the emergency use authorizations issued after rapid clinical trials, or face other issues like lack of childcare that keep them from getting the coronavirus vaccine.
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According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “The federal government does not mandate (require) vaccination for individuals. For some healthcare workers or essential employees, a state or local government or employer, for example, may require or mandate that workers be vaccinated as a matter of state or other law.”
But the concerns go beyond public health. If your business serves care facilities or customers who are concerned about themselves or family members, social distancing might not be enough. Though the spread of Covid-19 has slowed and hospitalization and infection rates have fallen, some customers, including those who face high risk remain wary of close contact with unvaccinated staff members.
For those customers, physical distancing might not be enough.
Give customers options to ensure peace of mind
As the tide finally starts to turn on the pandemic, it’s becoming strikingly clear that the home services industry didn’t just weather the pandemic—business is booming.
According to ServiceTitan’s Impact of Covid-19 pandemic on Service Industry report, “the demand for home services is expanding, with incoming calls up by 17% for the year-to-date (YTD) compared to the same period in 2019. Across the nation, revenue is up between 22% and 65% YTD compared to pre-pandemic 2019 levels. Shops of all sizes are seeing this substantial revenue growth.”
While the home services blitz accelerated during the Covid-19 pandemic, the trend shows no signs of slowing down. As a result, not having any technicians who have had either the Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson or Moderna vaccine can only hurt your business, because some customers will ultimately demand it, and they’ll be more than happy to call one of your competitors who not only employs vaccinated staff, but actively makes it known in promotional materials.
Crystal Williams, head of marketing at McWilliams & Son Heating and Cooling in Lufkin, Texas, and founder of Lemon Seed Marketing, a digital marketing agency, says it’s important to provide options for each customer. She notes her customers rarely ask about immunization status, but she employs a handful of vaccinated techs to accommodate each and every customer.
“My philosophy on this, and how we coach our team is, we try to accommodate with a vaccinated technician,” she says. “We will try to accommodate everyone, because at the end of the day, we're a customer service business.”
Williams says a company with a couple vaccinated techs offers a good start for accommodating each customer, but your customer base needs to know you provide the peace of mind, and your office staff needs to know which techs are fully vaccinated.
“If you have vaccinated technicians, put them on a list and let your CSRs know you can say, ‘We can send a vaccinated tech,”’ Williams says. “The dispatchers are the ones who have to juggle those things.”
Remember, at the end of the day, your customers depend on your business to make repairs, install new home systems, and solve their problems. Each customer requires different needs, and your ability to accommodate those needs, from dispatching vaccinated techs to communicating your safety protocols, can only help you reach more customers, and maximize your revenue.
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