We are actually having a spring this year in the South. The weather has been great, considering most of us are stuck at home. So, outdoor activities (where permitted) have been great, but the sunshine and mild temperatures aren’t the best for the HVAC business. Spring is the time to survive and get ready for the busy season ahead. Safety checks and A/C tune-ups fill our calendars, but this year is different. We have a whole new set of circumstances to deal with as our nation struggles through this pandemic. So, how are HVAC Companies dealing with the Coronavirus?
The Impact of the Coronavirus
Our employees are on the front lines, going into homes and businesses on a daily basis. Heating and Air businesses are taking many necessary precautions to protect themselves and their customers.
We are all seeing HVAC companies post their new procedures on their websites, social media, and television commercials. Everyone in the industry is assuring their customers that safety precautions are being taken very seriously. Field employees are wearing masks, washing their hands regularly, and sanitizing everything possible. So, we all must make changes to adapt to our ever-changing world.
How is HVAC Distribution Adapting?
We know the coronavirus has been very tough on the HVAC suppliers/distributors. They’ve had to change so many aspects of their day-to-day business model. The distribution/contractor relationship is exactly that, a “relationship.” That means daily and weekly interaction between the owner and employees of the HVAC business, their local territory manager, the inside sales and counter people at the supplier. This has been hard to keep it business as usual when the normal interaction has been changed drastically.
Here is what we are hearing from a local distribution employee:
“From a distributor standpoint, COVID-19 has single handedly changed the way we physically interact with our customers on a daily basis,” said James Francisco, territory manager. Whether that is the separation at the counter taking an order, pulling/loading an order, or the limited interaction when delivering an order. That’s not to mention the sales or training side: All training classes have been moved to online classes and depending on the area sales calls have been by phone, email, or virtually online. When it comes to our customers, I do feel like this situation has challenged us to be flexible and work harder to get in front of our customers, especially when recruiting new prospects.”
Our goal as an industry is to keep our customers confident that we are doing our best to ensure a safe work environment for our employees and customers. Remember home and business owners will rely on us to keep them comfortable, especially as we move into the summer season. The more we exude confidence, the better off we will be as HVAC service providers.
Changes in Your HVAC Business
So, we all have made major changes in our daily operations. These changes are making our customers feel safe when doing business with our companies. The peace of mind knowing your company is taking the proper precautions can strengthen your relationship with your customers. Remember “Trust” is such a key factor to a homeowner or business owner when choosing an HVAC provider.
- All Field employees wearing protective gear (Gloves, face masks, booties)
- Washing and sanitizing their hands as often as possible
- No handshakes or “high fives” with the customer, keeping a safe social distance
- Paperless Invoices
- Video Chats with Customers
- Staying outside when at all possible
As we continue to understand more and more about the virus, our efforts will help diminish the spread. Many of the procedures will become the norm even after the COVID-19 virus fades away.
What are we seeing from a marketing perspective?
As a marketing provider for HVAC contractors, we thought it would be important to give some input from the marketing perspective.
“Coronavirus is changing the behaviors of consumers in many ways,” said Jim Gregory, digital services manager. “One effect has been a shift in market shares for different forms of media, especially in states with stay at home orders. Billboards and drive-time radio are losing share, while OTT, television, and social media are trafficked more than ever. Having a strong digital presence and effective video assets along with the right marketing team can help you transition quickly so you can stay in front of your customers.”