As Encircle’s customer success manager, I’ve been very interested in hearing from our customer base over the last few weeks regarding their thoughts and responses to the COVID-19 pandemic. I’ve heard from contractors in Canada, the United States, and even Australia, New Zealand, and the UK - all of whom have been feeling the impact of COVID-19. I’ve noticed some trends in my conversations that I thought might provide some value and insight.
In a recent webinar, we polled our audience to hear what their concerns are right now.
Here’s what they had to say.
Following the webinar, I dug a bit deeper into customer concerns. These are my observations.
1. Customers are concerned about their teams' safety
Restoration contractors are not unlike other emergency first responders in many ways. As such, many contractors have found themselves and their teams on the front lines of this pandemic. Almost every contractor I’ve spoken with has mentioned that keeping their teams safe during this time is their number one priority. In order to accomplish this, contractors have been looking to minimize the number of visits to the field where possible.
I’ve been receiving a lot of COVID-19 Questionnaires from our customers with questions such as ‘Has anyone in your household traveled outside of the country in the last 14 days?’ or ‘Has anyone in your household recently showed any symptoms of COVID-19?’. Our customers are using Link by Encircle to collect this information remotely from the homeowner at the First Notice of Loss.
The answers to these questions help the contractor to determine the appropriate amount of PPE to use, the number of team members to send, or even whether the risk is worth taking that particular job on.
2. Contractors are uncertain about their business
Like many other industries, COVID-19 has raised concern for restoration contractors about the future direction of their businesses. Some contractors are seeing a large spike in potential business while others are worried that government regulations or ‘stay-at-home’ orders may have a negative impact on the work they receive.
In either case, I am recommending that customers implement remote workflows to ensure their business and staff gain the added level of protection they need. Our customers have been using Encircle Link to have homeowners take photos of the affected areas in their homes. Link photos allow the contractor to ask pertinent questions and understand the cause of loss and scope of the damages. Some contractors are also using these photos to generate an initial inspection report and submit it to the insurance company to evaluate coverage. This remote workflow allows each party to reduce their investment cost at the beginning of the claim by limiting the number of trips to the job site and decreasing the cycle time for decisions to be made.
By managing the costs and mitigating the risks with Encircle, our contractors are gaining that extra layer of protection for their business in uncertain times.
“I had a job yesterday where the homeowner was out of town. So we sent him a Link with all the paperwork that we needed signed. He did it while I was on the phone with him, and there it was”
— TOM SCHNEIDER , OWNER AT TCS RESTORATION SERVICES
3. Contractors want to make sure they are legally protected
While some restoration contractors are eager to suit up and respond to COVID-19 clean-up jobs right away, others are hesitant because of the legal risk they may be exposed to.
A contractor I spoke to mentioned that they are staying far away from any sort of decontamination jobs during this time for fear they may be legally responsible for any illnesses that might arise on that site thereafter. It is vital for any contractor that may be taking on these jobs to meet with their lawyer to ensure they have access to the proper documentation and contracts for this situation. Our customers have been submitting these types of contracts to myself so our forms team here at Encircle can digitize them and upload them onto the platform.
For customers who are looking for a COVID-19 Contract that helps mitigate the risk, Encircle is working with Ed Cross, "The Restoration Lawyer", who is providing contracts and legal guidance for this type of work. Our customers can then use Link to send these contracts to their homeowners remotely for review and signature. With the recent updates that our product team has made to Link (currently in beta), the contractor will be instantly notified on both the web and mobile platforms when a homeowner has signed their documents.
For more information on how Encircle can help during the pandemic, our team has put together a COVID-19 Resource page, complete with a strategy video, articles, workflows, and webinar signups!
I would love to hear about your experience managing jobs during this pandemic or discuss any questions you may have about Link by Encircle. Please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or give me a call at 226-338-6192.