The situation still looks bleak for the trades and their field services businesses. Most of the US remains in the midst of various forms of quarantine, and only the boldest of customers are keeping scheduled appointments. All of us at FieldPulse remain cautiously hopeful that "normal" life will return soon enough. And when it does, it will be time to pick up the pieces and begin the process of rebuilding our businesses. With time on our hands, here are some of our thoughts on what to think about over the next few weeks.
Certainly no one expects the memories of this crisis to fade quickly, even after the health emergency is over. We expect that attitudes toward physical proximity and physical touching will change, especially with customers who deal with health problems. Expect fewer handshakes and requests to limit your time inside homes and confined spaces. If you plan on continuing to use a manual, pen-and-paper process for your forms, documents, and payment methods, you should be prepared to use and offer nitrile gloves and change them in front of your customers for their peace of mind. Of course the most assuring businesses will implement technology tools to make the customer experience as contact-free as possible. Even if you require a signature on your mobile device to process payments, you may wish to carry single-serving styluses or disinfecting wipes to reassure the customer that his or her health is of paramount concern.
We even wonder if a "coronavirus free staff" will be a marketing ploy, as cynical as that sounds. We know of a germophobe or two in our lives that isn't afraid to ask if anyone in your operation fell ill or if your teams are symptom-free when they ventured out into the field that day.
Our team expects a whole lot to return to normal. We still expect an incredible customer experience to matter most. That includes quality workmanship and craftsmanship. The only way you will be able to rebuild your business is with satisfied customers who share their satisfaction. Reputation is everything in this business.
Many business owners will feel the pressure to recover quickly through aggressive or opportunistic pricing. But we're advising businesses to keep pricing competitive during the recovery. In the trades, reputation is everything and it is very difficult to change. Focus more on value and quality than on price, and the rest will fall into place.
Uncertainty and economic peril can take their toll on any business owner. And while it probably doesn't feel like the situation will ever be normal again, it is important to understand two things. First, you're not alone. Millions of people have already lost their jobs and millions of business owners like you are in the same exact situation. We will figure out how to get through this. Above all, it is critical to keep an eye toward the future and remain hopeful. We can get through this. And we will. Let's all try and stay positive, continue to work our butts off, and positive outcomes surely lie ahead.