2020 Peak Season: How to Prepare for the Post-Pandemic Surge
May. 27, 2020
The world’s been turned upside down these past few months. And while this has been many companies’ toughest challenge yet, it’s time to get back on track and prepare for the post-pandemic demand. It’ll come with tons of questions, challenges, and precautions, but it also presents a unique opportunity to make big improvements to your business and customer experience.
After two months of severe restrictions, contractors are about to be faced with a massive demand for their services. Businesses have put existing HVAC issues on hold as they’ve gone into lockdown. Some buildings have shut down their equipment altogether to save money. Scheduled maintenance is now several months behind.
The situation seems overwhelming, and it can be difficult to manage if you haven’t taken steps to handle it effectively. Below, we rounded up a few ways to take advantage of this crucial transition period, so your business is both prepared and stronger for it.
Regularly assess what you can do, and do as much as you can.
Not only to stay afloat and keep your team working but to clear the way for the rush of jobs as more restrictions are lifted. Take advantage of buildings’ limited occupation during this time, and tend to regular maintenance, as well as bigger projects that were otherwise being put off. For instance, now would be a great time to tackle replacements for equipment hitting the end of its lifecycle.
The goal here is to avoid overwhelming HVAC systems when they fire back up to normal operating levels. Remind your customers to keep their systems running, and offer solutions in the meantime that will ensure a safe and efficient return to work.
Check-in on your customers.
Businesses are opening up at different rates, so it’s important to stay on top of each customers’ operating status. Find out who’s opened up, who’s staying down, and who’s taking it slow. Let them know what you can do for them given their individual situations, and remind them you’re there when they need you.
This is also where visual documentation can come in handy big time. Use technicians’ photos and videos from prior jobs to support service recommendations. Provide these insights to your customers to boost your sales and move necessary repairs along.
Leverage data to make informed decisions.
According to ACHR The News, “Businesses typically find that 10 to 20 percent of its customers, products, employees, and operational activities produce 150 percent or more of the profits.” Knowing how to pivot your business and make the best decisions comes from first having the right data, especially when we’ve seen how significant the implications of that data can be. Run the reports, and act strategically.
The News also has a useful exercise for sorting out which of your customers to focus your efforts on. When you’ve uncovered the most profitable work, dedicate the necessary resources to those customers to ensure success. And when it comes to the customers draining your profits, strategize where you can cut costs, and perhaps propose renegotiating the relationship.
Don’t forget your other key metrics.
While profit’s important, there are still other things to consider when optimizing your workforce to meet your demand. Using your FSM software, generate reports that offer different perspectives on your clientele and workforce effectiveness.
Take a look at which customers are using you for what jobs and how frequently. Assess the efficiency of your technicians — who works best on what jobs and for how much. Dig into the processes themselves to pinpoint where you can save time, dispatch fewer techs, reduce second truck rolls, etc.
It’s easy to miss key data points when we get too comfortable, but one thing COVID-19 gave us was discomfort. Now’s the time to channel that into forging better systems, protocols, and decision-making moving forward.
Customers are going to be understanding.
Because of the strain of this pandemic, customers are more prone to understand and adapt to changes in business operations. Amazon Prime customers have accepted that the 2-day shipping they pay for may not always apply these days. Patients are putting elective medical procedures on hold so that hospitals can handle the influx of those with coronavirus.
Regardless of individual decisions to wear masks or avoid certain places, everyone is generally of the same opinion that things need to change in the future. Businesses need to adopt stricter standards, and the process of returning to some version of “normal” won’t come easily.
Maybe you spent the past two months implementing new technology, and your team’s still getting accustomed to it. You most likely have a wide range of customer protocols to follow, on top of what you’ve established internally. Jobs that have been on hold are behind, and it’ll naturally take longer than normal to get work done. Your customers have likely seen these challenges at play in their own lives, and they understand there’s only so much you can do.
What’s most challenging about this time is that the world’s never been in this situation before. There’s no one that can guide us and tell us exactly what to do. However, try to keep in mind that we’re all experiencing this global event together, including every contractor and every customer. What’s important is that businesses manage expectations, provide transparency, and continue to cautiously press on without sacrificing quality.
If you’d like to learn more about how BuildOps is helping commercial contractors navigate this uncharted territory today, click here to schedule a personalized demo.