Last week the ADD User Group (AUG) Pegasus/Service Committee met for their regular monthly meeting. This time, instead of a typical service topic, committee chair, Leslie Pearson of Paraco, changed the topic to a very timely one, “What are you doing in response to the coronavirus”. The call was a great opportunity to share ideas about how to deliver emergency services, while protecting the health and safety of employees and customers. A valuable, well-timed call to say the least.
Top of mind were the shelter-in-place restrictions already mandated for some and impending for others. Most companies were trying to have office staff work from home, and some were having discussions with older or compromised employees to keep them as safe as possible with altered work schedules and responsibilities. Overall, most companies were simply aiming to have as few staff on site as possible, while maintaining the ability to service their customers.
Some multi-site companies were also stopping all physical contact among their sites. There would be no traveling from office to office. Instead, all meetings would be held via videoconference or phone in order to ensure that exposure in one office would not compromise another.
Other companies had also closed their retail offices to the public, including vendors, and were asking customers to call in or use their web portals for service. Some had included messages about this on their statements to make sure their customers were well aware.
Changes in the Office
Some companies had gone one step further to limit exposure within their offices. Not only were they practicing social distancing, but had segregated departments into specific areas to avoid cross-department contamination. For example, the service department would enter through a different door than the delivery department and use a separate bathroom. People were even thinking about how air circulates throughout the building when deciding where to locate their groups.
Many companies also had disinfecting wipes and hand sanitizer scattered throughout their buildings for regular cleaning. Employees were also being asked to eat at their desks instead of in a shared dining area.
Service Call Precautions
When it came to their service calls, a number of companies were canceling non-essential calls or at least not scheduling any new non-essential calls. Many companies were reaching out to customers before appointments to ask for social distancing when on site and to ensure that the location was free of the coronavirus. If a customer location was exposed, some companies would reschedule for at least a week beyond the normal 14-day quarantine period to ensure safety. They were also using the Customer Log feature on E3 to note the results of the call and be reminded to follow up when needed.
If a service tech had to go to an exposed household, companies were taking extra precautions. Some were providing protective gear, including disposable gloves and wipes, and educating their techs on their proper use. In general, service techs were being instructed to be mindful when on site and practice all the CDC recommendations.
In keeping with social distancing when on site, some companies were also no longer requiring customer signatures after a call in order to avoid contamination. This extended to both signatures on paper and on the Pegasus tablet.
Other changes to better protect employees were also being made. To avoid having employees touch the same surface, one company stopped using a time clock to clock in and out, and, instead, began using an app.
Some companies were considering shifting the timing of normal yearly tasks, since non-essential services were being delayed and employees might have more available time. For example, if they normally do inventory in May, now they were planning to start those tasks a month or so early.
Other companies were giving employees 10 days of extra time off should they or a family member be infected with COVID-19 or if they were exposed in any way.
Meeting the Challenge
Overall people agreed that these are challenging times that require pivoting away from normal procedures. Of course, the situation is uncomfortable, concerning, and less than ideal, but the changes are helping to ensure the safety and health of their employees and customers, and will hopefully help lead to a flattening of the coronavirus curve and the continued good health of those around them.
About the AUG Pegasus / Service Committee
The Pegasus/Service Committee is one of the many committees on the ADD User Group (AUG). Led by Leslie Pearson of Paraco Gas, this committee meets monthly to discuss service challenges and successes and to learn from each other. If you would like to join this network of ADD users, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.