The COVID-19 virus presents a difficult situation for field technicians and customers when a vital appliance – like a refrigerator — breaks down. A home visit is necessary, but what should be done to protect both the customer and the service professional?
The technicians and the items they bring into customer homes could potentially harbor the virus and place the customer in jeopardy. Meanwhile, how confident can the technician be that no one in the customer’s home carries the virus and has transmitted it to surfaces of their home?
In this blog, we outline preventative measures both technicians and customers should take to reduce the risk of contracting or spreading the virus. By sharing this information with both parties, service firms can put everyone more at ease while doing their part to “flatten the curve” of virus transmission.
Technician Health & Safety
Before leaving for a customer’s home, wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, dry them with a paper towel and then dispose of the paper towel. Immediately put on your disposable gloves for the job and use another paper towel to open your door.
As you then prepare to enter a customer’s home, follow these guidelines:
- Call the customer so they can open the front door for you. Try to avoid touching any knobs or surfaces as you proceed through the home.
- For any tools or items you bring into the home, do not put them on a table or a counter-top. Place a mat (ideally a disposable one) on the floor and then place items only on that mat.
- If more than one person is in the home, ask that only one person be nearby as you work.
- As you handle tools and other items, do not leave them on any surfaces of the home. They should either be in your gloved hand, in your toolbox or on the mat you brought.
- Avoid using the customer’s bathroom and sinks if possible. If you must, wash your hands thoroughly and put on a second set of disposable gloves, keeping the first pair to dispose of them.
- When work is completed, offer an electronic report documenting the work you have performed. If they insist on a written report, place it on a surface designated by the customer rather than handing it to them. Recommend that the customer immediately wash their hands after handling the document.
- As you leave the customer’s home, ask them to open and close doors for you so that you are not touching any doorknobs – be sure to take any discarded items such as gloves or mats (bring a designated disposal bag to every job).
- Upon leaving the home, dispose of the gloves you used and use hand sanitizer (which should be in your vehicle). When you return home, wash hands thorough and sanitize all tools or items you brought into the home (ideally do this in a basement, workshop or designated area, not where you and your family spend their time).
NOTE: In cases where signature is required to confirm work completion, many service firms are putting new practices in place that don’t require touching of pens, clipboards, styluses or devices. Consider giving technicians digital recorders to document the work done and/or have the customer confirm verbally that the work was completed to the satisfaction.
Customer Health & Safety
Providing health and safety guidelines to customers about an upcoming visit reflects favorably on the brand and service firm and protects both the customer and the technician. The following can be a starting point for customer communications.
- Prior to the technician’s visit, sanitize the room and surfaces where the technician is likely to work.
- As the technician arrives, open and close any doors for them to minimize exposure to any surfaces. Do the same when they leave.
- If there are other people in your home during the visit, ask that they stay completely away from the room the technician is in.
- The technician will be wearing disposable gloves, but anything they touch or leave behind, including the appliance being fixed or replaced, should be thoroughly wiped down with disinfecting cleaner.
- When the technician has completed work, ask if it’s possible to receive an electronic receipt and if you can sign off on the service call with a verbal approval or a phone call to the home office. Avoid handling electronic devices, clipboards, paperworks, pens or styluses.
- After the technician leaves your home, clean and disinfect any surfaces they may have touched. If any tools, parts or materials are left behind, bag and place outside and notify the service firm.
A Way to Keep Business Moving Forward
The COVID-19 virus is a threat and isolation is important, but certain parts of the economy must continue, including field service. Some repairs may be delayed, but others are critical, especially refrigeration, home heating and cooling and other functions. Providing technicians and customers with clear guidelines can ease anxiety for both parties.
While this new way of interacting may seem awkward for technicians and customers, it’s becoming increasingly clear that vigilance is a responsibility we all share. Providing guidelines shows respect, concern and professionalism, and that will stay with customers long after the virus is under control.
ServicePower is taking all necessary steps to ensure continued reliable service and support to our clients and partners. Please click here to review our statement on Business Continuity and Global Support Availability relative to COVID-19.