I had an internal debate on whether or not I wanted to write an article this week on Covid-19. For one, I am in awe of what’s happening in the world as much as the next person. And I most certainly don’t have answers, a real grasp on all of the ways this pandemic will impact businesses or even each of our lives, or even feel equipped to speak on the topic. That said, despite my hesitance in commenting on something that I don’t feel overly qualified to discuss, it also just feels awkward to forge ahead with our coverage and not address something that is so significantly weighing on everyone’s minds.
I realize there are companies within our audience for which this pandemic means your customers need you now more than ever, and the issue is more around how to safely and effectively deliver the service that’s needed. However, there are also companies within our audience for which this disruption will cause immense struggle. Moreover, there is the fact that this impacts each of us on a very personal level. We’re all learning more about the situation day-by-day and working to navigate this uncharted territory. While I’m not full of answers, I most certainly am full of empathy. Our human connection is more important now more than ever, and I hope that we can continue to use Future of Field Service as a platform to connect, learn, and grow.
For now, I want to share a few articles and resources I’ve come across that I believe are worth considering as you navigate this difficult time (it goes without saying, safety of your customers, workforce, and the general public should be considered first and all CDC guidelines followed):
- Consider Your Company Culture. As I said, this is uncharted territory for us all – but you have to think about how to protect, preserve, and evolve your company culture. Employees are fearful, anxious, and facing isolation. This article by Dom Nicastro of CMS Wire (the same last name is a coincidence!) provides good food for thought on some of the issues that will need to be addressed in this unprecedented situation. As he says, a company’s ability to pivot and flex is critical. He suggests that leaders need to “overcommunicate and be available.” He also discusses the need to balance practical steps to ensure continuity with the need for empathy and emotional support.
- Consider Your Technology Resources and Options. Hopefully your company already has a solid foundation of technology in place to enable collaboration and communication as teams work remotely – if not, you’ll need to quickly determine how best to accommodate this. For field service, there’s been an influx of interest in tools like augmented reality to significantly reduce the need for on-site, in-person visits and to better enable remote repair and resolution. AR can also be used for remote team training and collaboration.
- Consider Your Customers. As challenging as this crisis may be for your company, it’s imperative to continue to keep your customers at the center of your thinking and decisions. From protecting their safety in every way possible, to looking for ways to provide further human connection and empathy, I do believe that how you tackle this tough time will leave an impression for years to come. I’ve seen companies of all sorts thinking outside of the box on how to continue to connect with and provide value to their customers – from adjusting offerings to accommodate social distancing to providing free resources and connection through social media and video platforms. Think of how you can support your customers during this time, both in terms of how your service offerings need to be modified but also in what you can do to stay connected and add value.
- Consider Your Network for Connection. I’ve been a part of the service community for a long time, and I genuinely care for you all. So do many others. With industry events rescheduled and cancelled and travel bans in place, we can all begin to feel isolated and a bit stuck. But rest assured, I am here and committed to continuing to connect and discuss and learn alongside you. Our friends at Field Service News just announced a an ‘Emergency Symposium: Coronavirus and its potential impact on field service delivery’ happening this Friday, March 20th at 12PM ET as well as an ongoing digital symposium to provide insight and resources in a time that many events are being postponed. You can register for the event here. Let’s stay connected and support one another through this uncharted challenging time.