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Business as Usual In Unusual Times-How Our Essential Plumbing Business Makes It Work During the Global Pandemic

Authors: Mike and Vesna Kolakovic, Owners Mr. Rooter® Plumbing of Mississauga ON

During the COVID-19 global pandemic, essential businesses like plumbing have been key to ensuring people have access to the products and services they need to survive. We provide plumbing & drain service critical to preserving health and basic societal functioning.

From getting ready in the morning to washing dishes after dinner, our communities depend on their plumbing on a regular basis. We are dedicated to supporting our customers and the important work we do across our communities. But nothing has been business as usual.

As we move through a year where it’s more vital than ever to disinfect, sanitize, and prevent the spread of virus and disease, properly working plumbing and access to clean potable water are critical to world health. COVID-19 (coronavirus) is an evolving issue Mr. Rooter Plumbing is monitoring closely and its impact on our community. The news regarding the COVID-19 virus continues to change hourly. The health and safety of our employees, our customers and our community is our highest priority during this time. While we cannot control the unpredictability of this virus, we can take preventive measures to limit the spread and impact of COVID-19.

Understanding Our Role in the Big Picture
Properly working plumbing that delivers clean water and prevents disease isn’t a wish — it’s a necessity. Our mission is to keep our employees, customers, and communities safe. We
can do this by being diligent and smart with every business interaction.
By understanding that we have an important role to play in the health of our communities, we can empower our professionals to work with the pride and knowledge that they’re fulfilling an important job.

Hard soap solidifies as it dries out, which means that it can end up sticking to the sides of your pipes. Switching to liquid soap stops this from happening. Strict Adherence to Existing and COVID-19 Protocol Over the past 25 years our Plumbing Professionals have already been using best practices to maintain the health and safety of themselves and our customers.
● Professionals always park their trucks in clear view.
● We let our customers know the name of the technician prior to arrival.
● We use floor mats to clean our shoes before entering your home
● We put shoe covers on to protect your floors and prevent tracking in dirt
● After knocking on the front door, the tech takes 3 steps back.
● We provide you with an electronic invoice of the work performed
● We wipe down work area with disinfectant solutions at the completion of every service call
● We wear single-use gloves in your home or business FRANCHISE OF THE YEAR 2019

Additional Measure We Are Taking To Prevent The Spread Of COVID-19
● After knocking on the door, the tech takes 6 steps back.
● We all KNOW the proper coughing & sneezing etiquette and hand washing protocol
● We all have masks
● We use alcohol-based hand sanitizer when soap and water are not available.
● Plumbing Professionals are dispatched from home enforcing Physical Distancing
● We will wipe down all of our tools with disinfectant solutions at the completion of every service call
● Prior to first morning dispatch, the dispatcher calls us to see if we are healthy and able to work
● Although all of our team members are doing well, we do have a protocol in place in case someone does come down with symptoms

What You Can Do
● When calling in to book an appointment, please inform our Customer Service Representatives whether anyone in your home has been out of the country in the last 14 days OR if there is anyone in the home with flu like symptoms. Our CRS’s will do there very best to secure your call booking in advance when there is no risk in spreading the COVID-19 virus.

●Please be patient when calling in to book an appointment. If you get a message “All Circuits are Busy” please try again right away. Due to COVID-19, everyone is working from home & forwarding the work phone lines to their cell phones. As a result, the cell phone towers are getting overwhelmed & causing delays.
● By working together, and following the latest accurate information and guidance set by the Government of Canada and World Health Organization (WHO), we can all do our part to slow the spread of this virus.
● If there are any requests you may have prior to the Plumbing Professional coming out to your home, let our CSR’s know and they will do everything in their power to accommodate you.

Pre-Screening Customers Before Visits
We take no chances. Before a technician steps foot inside a residence, we do our due diligence through pre-screening to ensure a safe work environment. We ask the customer if anyone in the home has traveled in the past 14 days or has flu-like systems. If the answer is yes to either, we book out the service by 16 days. We also communicate our protocol to reassure the customer what we’re doing on our end to keep them safe.

Honoring Our Technicians’ Comfort Level
We employ 15 plumbers & their health & safety is of the utmost importance to us.. As such, we want to protect them to any extent possible. So, if a technician isn’t comfortable with a particular job for any reason, then he can pass on it without any worry that the decision will negatively impact his job.

Continual Communication
During this pandemic, each person’s comfort level with conducting business, or receiving service, is different. We’ve found that our customers are smart and ask a lot of questions, so we take our time to answer them. When they grill us, it also gives us a sense of comfort because we feel that they too are taking the right precautions, which helps keep our technicians safe. We work hard to ensure transparency and communication between the two of us and our employees, and between our business and customers. We want everyone to be comfortable with how we’re operating, and we continually communicate what we’re doing to mitigate risk and promote positivity and goodwill.

All Digital
We offer our customers solutions that may mean less social contact. For example, we could take payment over the phone for the customer to lessen the opportunity to give you their credit card number without having to hand their credit card to the service professional. As we interact with customers, we have also implemented a digital system to avoid personal contact. For example, we normally use iPads to collect signature, but now, instead of passing the device around, the tech can sign COVID19 on the signature line with the customer’s permission. We don’t accept cash and we no longer hand out hard copies of paperwork or business cards. All of our invoices are electronically emailed to the customer.

Consistency in Pricing
Unlike other service business, our prices haven’t changed during Covid-19. We work off of a flat rate book that’s the same for everyone – and can be easily compared with competitors. Customers like knowing we’re consistent with pricing and this has helped us hit a closing rate of about 90%, despite the reality that our overall call volume is still down. Our Technicians will come to your home to diagnose your plumbing problem at no charge to you & will always give you the exact price of the job before doing any work. Customers tell us that they love our transparency & we have found that it builds trust with our customers.

Strategic Advertising
We want our customers to know they can trust us, so we’ve engaged in strategic advertising through Facebook and payper-click campaigns. With the right messaging, we can let our customers and prospects know that we’re an essential service, we’re open, and we’re taking the right precautions to keep them healthy & safe.

Looking Ahead
Plumbing has fallen into the essential service category from the start, keeping customers, technicians, and communities safe requires dedication and focus & we are committed to do our part. While our business has definitely been impacted by the global pandemic, we are starting to see a rebound. And the level of service has evolved too. The key to success during a global pandemic is to stick to protocol, communicate your rules, and be consistent. Following these tips is a good start for any service business and can help you build a foundation for continued success.



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