What procedural changes are you taking to keep your technicians safe from exposure to COVID, and to reduce the spread of the virus in general? Here’s what we’re doing, but still running into challenges…
- Wearing masks around the shop, installed several hand sanitizer dispensers around the shop.
- Sending customers a signed agreement acknowledging that they’ll practice social distancing, wear a mask while the tech is on site, etc.
- Giving our Tech’s permission to leave any site should they feel at risk
- Reducing the number of jobs/day where the tech needs to enter the customers home
- We also tried “temp” installs in which we passed the cabling and router through a window and directed the customer through plugging them in correctly (this was a disaster and didn’t last long…)
For some background, I do everything from being a field technician to network engineering. Unfortunately in my experience, the majority of our customers really don’t give a crap about our guidelines. It’s putting myself and our entire team at risk. Just yesterday I started a new install and shortly after drilling my entry point, I could hear several 20 year old kids coughing and sneezing in the other room… It is a difficult conversation for our tech’s to deny a customer service when face-to-face on the “suspicion” that they might be sick…
Our county is just now seeing a MAJOR uptick in cases, and I was able to work with my team to push back all new installations. We have plenty of busy work for the time being (reaims, radio swaps, etc.) where we don’t have to interact with anybody…
Asides from providing your crew with hand sanitizer/masks, has anybody else come up with some clever ways to keep their techs and their customers safe during the pandemic? More importantly, ways to get new subscribers onto their network while minimizing time spent in the home?
Thanks In Advance,
Kung Foo Jezus
Check with your lawyer, but here in Sask, if a client lies to us during the previsit screening call and is actually sick or has someone whom is sick within the residence, we cancel that install for 20 days from that days end and report them to the health services. The way our health laws work, this is not taken lighty.
Further, we sanitize our tools after each use prior to going back to the truck. Masks are manditory and we have nitrile gloves. All workers whom need to enter a residence also have safety goggles as per normal.
If the client is willing to pay a higher install fee, you could get your guys some onetime use painters suits with booties and assign each tech a resperator full face mask. Think hazmat suit and mask but cheaper and not as hot.
We tried the temp installs too, wasnt pretty even after we pre hooked it up and sent it in through a window. Clients tend to open the window a few more times just to kill a cable. We tried an all outdoor solution with a plastic box near an outdoor plug, but it didnt take long for that to be considered a bad idea. Between them turning off the plug and the box getting unplugged, we just scrapped the idea.
You might get a few clients that will actually help by following instructions and being willing to suffer outages because the kids unplugged the box, but it seems that it is the majority of the time to be our fault that the power to the radio was lost
So no help to you there.
Thanks for your input. We considered the outdoor enclosure to an exterior outlet as well, however decided there would just be too much room for error. As far as taking PPE to that extent, I’m concerned it just won’t work for our tech’s… we are in northwest colorado where your layers need be changed constantly to keep up with the weather. We also do anywhere between 3-5 installs/service calls per tech per day, so this would mean thoroughly changing all PPE between every job. Burning through a mask/gloves after each job is not too difficult…
We are formulating a contactless “temp” install. Our proposed procedure so far…
CSR set’s customer expectation that this will be a temporary installation. Cost will be $99 (vs our usual $50) but this is to cover PPE, use of heavier grade cable, as well as a rollback in the future to properly install and ground the connection. CSR also set’s CX expectation that they may have to wait for a standard installation should the Tech deem the location not viable for a temp install.
Tech call’s the CX upon pulling into their driveway, and reiterate to them to stay inside while they survey the install. Company policy is NOT physically enter any customer’s home.
After the survey, Tech calls the CX and designates a convenient window to mount the radio near
Mount radio and pass a cable through window. Use direct burial, and pass it through a 6" section of 1/2" irrigation tubing to further prevent pinching.
While doing the router/cable handoff, provide CX with adequate 3/4" weather stripping for them to install themselves to prevent a draft.
Router will be pre-configured in installer truck using an inverter. POE will be double-side taped directly to the router with the Data to WAN patch cable installed (to reduce the human error factor on the customer’s behalf)
We’re hopefully gonna attempt this after thanksgiving, and after getting more team input. For the time being, we are going to continue postponing all installs…
Im in Saskatchewan, not too much different from you coldwise.
The excessive ppe was more of a joke as you are correct that it would be prohibitive to do so.
We evaluate each CX for reasonable safety and follow the provincial health guidelines and have been very good at not allowing techs to take risks. We do re-evaluate each CX prior to the tech getting there and remind them that the tech may choose to reschedule as each tech can veto an install due to concerns of health safety and we have not lost too many installs over it. Our techs are not abusing this either as part of their performance metrics is number of rescheduled installs. Most are understanding and usually have the residence clear of people to facilitate the install. Since we are a good deal cheaper than our competitors (big name incumbents) most of the installs are simply poe and radio swaps and reprogram the wifi router to work as an AP and switch (radio does the network control)
It seems that you have a reasonable set of precautions in place and are working the kinks out of temp installs, which suck but have become a sort of requirement.