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Virtual Future

By Randy Castricone

We don’t yet know how the Covid-19 Pandemic will impact us in the long term with our business. Who will survive, will prices be driven down, will homeowners choose repairs vs replacements etc. What we do know it that this pandemic has changed the way we do business. Whether you’re a manufacturer, distributor, dealer or account manager, like I am, the one thing for certain is we have been forced to take action to protect ourselves, our families and our staff from Covid-19 and the financial burdens many are facing.

Randy Castricone
Randy Castricone

During this time of uncertainty, we are introducing new and innovative ways to stay in front our customers. Dealers are having technicians facetime with the homeowners while doing service to maintain safe distancing. Distributors have introduced curb side pickup at supply houses. Corporations have begun having traditionally face to face meetings with their staff remotely via Skype or Zoom.

So let’s look at the positive for a moment while we embrace change. We all value our time and usually have very little of it to spare. While being pulled in 10 directions all day every day, finding a random hour in the day is quite challenging. Many times, sales calls between account managers and their dealers are cancelled at the last minute. But what if we have the ability to conduct a video call that is set in stone for a 1-hour window? Wouldn’t that be more enticing than having to sit in the office for a 2-hour window waiting for a rep? Having a virtual meeting means both parties can be more efficient in the exchange of information that needs to be delivered. Every dealer understands the value of having a good relationship with the account manager and vendor they partner with and vice versa.

Here are a few ways you can use technology to your benefit that you may not use now. Skype or Zoom can be used either on your laptop or cell phone. Make sure you have a camera on your computer to join these.

Account manager sales calls. Both parties should familiarize themselves with programs (what is to be discussed?) ahead of time so the calls are efficient. Account managers should email materials to their dealers a day or two in advance of the video call.

Contractor employee meetings. Train your staff on using video calling, including role-playing. Conduct weekly meetings with your staff from home instead of in the office. Dealer and homeowner interaction. Have your appointment scheduler or technician ask if the customer wants to facetime with the technician during the service call rather than meet face-to-face. This will create a trusting relationship between them, showing that your company cares about their wellbeing.

Adding these small changes to the way you do business will re-enforce your sustainability with homeowners and your staff, because during this time of uncertainty and job security these enhancements will prove to be more important than ever. Now is the time to step outside of your comfort zone and embrace the future, or new norm as some call it.

We will all get through this together. Stay safe.

Thanks for spending some time reading my thoughts.

About Randy Castricone

Randy Castricone moved from Buffalo, NY to Florida in 1990 and entered the HVAC field as a service technician. He worked through the ranks with 2 companies until 1999 when he opened his own HVAC company. Randy operated his company until he sold it in 2016. The next chapter of his life began when he accepted a job as an Account Manager for Trane, where he is still working. Contact Randy by calling 954-421-7133 or emailing Randy.Castricone@tranetechnologies.com.

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