Field Service During a Pandemic

Fred's Appliance Academy
March 26, 2020

We know there are tons of information being shared about how to protect ourselves from coronavirus. There’s much concern around mitigating the spread of disease to our Field Team & our Customers. We thought we’d take the opportunity to share with you what our field service team is doing to stay safe during these uncertain times. Considering the advice and implementing suggested procedures across our field staff has not been easy, but, we hope this article provides you the tips you need to help prevent the spread of disease while servicing customers in their home.

We’ve also all noted how protection supplies can be difficult to come by at this time. While Amazon is showing virtually no stock on items, there are some supplies that you can backorder. We’ve provided links to these products below. Amazon seems to be fulfilling these orders as promised.

Just so you’re aware, if you purchase items using the links in this article, we may collect a share of sales. This will support our Academy team during this time while we are no longer able to host hands-on classes due to Coronavirus. The prices are the same on Amazon whether you use our links or not. We hope you will consider supporting us!

In the Home Procedures

Step 1

Upon arrival at the home, we recommend advising customers to stay at least 6ft away during the visit. Do not touch or shake hands with the customer. High Risk customers ought to stay in another room during your entire service visit.  

Slip your Disposable Booties on upon entering. Do your best to keep your fingers off the soles of your shoes.

Step 2

Immediately wash your hands at the customer’s sink for at least 20 seconds. Here’s a great video on why it’s so important to wash your hands for at least 20 seconds. The best option may be to use a utility tub, as that’s likely the least used sink in the home. Have a paper towel handy before starting so you can quickly dry hands. Use a paper towel to turn off the faucet.

Step 3

Have gloves accessible in your pocket before entering home. Put gloves on your hands. We purchased a case for each technician. These boxes contain 1,000 gloves which equates to 500 service calls or approximately a 90 day supply.

Step 4

Have a garbage bag ready in your pocket before entering the customer’s home. Remove the garbage bag from your pocket, and open it up. (Opening it up first is important as you don’t want to have to try to open it up later on) Lay it on the floor near the appliance you will be servicing. Place your tool mat or protective blanket on the garbage bag. Then place your tool box or tool bag on the mat. We feel that having a backpack style tool bag right now is most optimal as it frees up your hands to perform these precautionary measures. This garbage bag will serve 2 purposes: a barrier between your equipment and the customer’s home & following service, the garbage bag can be used to dispose of your protective gear.

Step 5

Once repair is complete, and you’ve packed up all of your equipment, carefully remove your gloves. Here’s a how-to on removing gloves properly. Carefully place used gloves on the floor next to your garbage bag barrier.

Step 6

Carefully turn the garbage bag inside out and place used gloves inside.  Avoid touching the exterior of the garbage bag as you’re flipping inside out.

Step 7

Wash your hands again.

Step 8

Walk to the exit with the garbage bag in hand. Carefully, remove booties. Be sure to avoid touching the exterior of the booties and the soles of your shoes. Place the booties inside the garbage bag. You can then offer to dispose of the garbage bag inside of the customer’s trash receptacle outside. Do not take these used items with you, as you want to prevent the spread.

Other Important Things to Consider

  • Consider calling the customer before arriving to confirm that no one is in the home is ill.
  • Do not touch your face.
  • Do not request that customers sign any invoices.
  • Consider regularly wiping down the tools you use with alcohol/disinfectant wipes. A soapy paper towel will be the next best thing if you do not have wipes.
  • If you feel ill, don’t come to work. If you have symptoms similar to Coronavirus, get tested!
  • If you feel unsafe at any particular service call, leave immediately.
  • Consider immediately washing your uniform at day’s end.
  • Encourage customers to pay by credit card only.

How Can the Office Team Support the Field Team?

  • Ask every customer they speak to “Have you or anyone in your home been exposed to, diagnosed with, or showing similar symptoms to COVID-19”? If yes, reschedule the customer out at least 14 days.
  • Schedule on functional related service calls only; cosmetics can wait. This assists in limiting exposure to your Field Team & your customers.
  • Add verbiage to your online scheduling that talks about COVID-19. Feel free to review our verbiage here.  You’ll find it at the end of the service call scheduling form.
  • Consider adding a disclaimer at the beginning of the phone call advising customers to immediately cancel if they are ill. Feel free to call us at 888-453-7337 to hear our recording.
  • When texting a customer, consider adding to outbound text messages “Have you or anyone in your home been exposed to, diagnosed with, or showing similar symptoms to COVID-19?”

Other Important Resources

This is uncharted territory for all of us. Our goal is to share information to help our fellow peers in this industry. Note that we aren’t experts in this space, and this is ultimately just a guide and subject to change and evolve as this unfolds. We encourage each of you to share your ideas as we’re all in this together. Feel free to reach out to us if you have any questions or suggestions.

The Fred’s Team wishes you all the very best. Stay positive & keep your chin up.

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