Adapting Your Business for the New Normal

Experts weigh in on how to excel during the COVID-19 pandemic in virtual training videos

Adapting Your Business for the New Normal

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The shifting reality of society is changing business practices across the nation. For plumbers, drain cleaners, relining professionals and anyone providing home services, adapting your business for the new normal is critical for future success.

In a series of recent virtual training sessions presented by COLE Publishing, several marketing and field service management professionals shared their thoughts on what home service providers can do during and after the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

A common theme throughout the videos is staying positive and adapting.

“Don’t let people worry you to a place of paralysis. Don’t be paralyzed by your fears; be motivated instead,” says Russ Duker, senior vice president of Zip Solutions. “That is the single biggest thing you can do for your business as a leader. You have to think positive.”

Along with staying positive, concentrate on the message you are sending customers.

“I think there’s a level of mistrust that consumers have right now with any type of business that they have to interact with,” says Aimée Deraco, chief operating officer of YDOP, a digital marketing company for home service providers. She stresses the importance of speaking openly about what your business is doing and what precautions you are taking to keep consumers and their family members safe, especially when having to enter their homes for a repair or other service.

Both Duker and Deraco focus on the importance of not resisting change. As things change around your business, it is important to allow yourself and your business to adjust with them and to stay balanced while doing so.

“Now is the time to prepare; now is the time to adapt. The thing you can adapt with is price and efficiency,” Duker says.

He explains how businesses can increase profit by offering customers choices and that customer retention is a good measurement of price options and efficiency.

Personnel matters are another area where you should be willing to adapt.

“You always want to be hiring, you always want to be training and you want to update your pay system,” Duker says.

Developing a system that incentivizes technicians is a great approach, but doing so should be done in parallel. The things that incentivize the technicians should also incentivize the owners.

“When he loses, you lose; and when he wins, you win,” Duker says. “It goes the other way too.”

Deraco explains that she has already seen businesses making short-term changes that will positively impact the business long-term.

“We’ve seen a lot of small businesses in the plumbing industry offering discounts and waived fees for their local customers as a giveback to the community,” she says. “The message within the discount is that they know people are out of work and a lot of plumbing issues are unforeseen and not something planned in a budget.”

This is a great example of adapting your marketing plan and building your brand.

“The value of the customer over time is more than going to pay back what you might be losing in discounts,” Deraco says. “Any little thing that is unique or different is embraced by people right now because life is so different. When you do something good for the community, when somebody is delighted by a company, they’re sharing it and telling their friends about it.”

Marketing done right

According to Duker, there are two parts of proper marketing: branding and the call to action. Once you establish your brand and know who you are, communicating your brand is essential. To do that, you need to spend money but spending money on advertising isn’t enough. Tracking ad performance and revenue production is essential. It’s also easier than ever. Services like pay-per-click or Google Local Services will track where the call came from, informing you which ads are being seen and used each time a call comes in. 

“On Local Service ads, you only pay when someone calls your business,” Deraco says. “More and more people are using service ads. Plumbing is actually one of the best costs per leads and the highest converting industry within Local Service ads that I’ve seen so far.”

To take it a step further, Duker recommends recording phone calls to track closure rate. Getting the phone call is only one part of getting a sale from an advertisement; closing the sale comes from employees answering the calls correctly and professionally.

“It really is a time for you to shine. We’ve seen some of our clients who were struggling a bit who stayed in this and in some cases even put more budget toward their marketing and now are finally seeing the fruits of their labor,” Deraco says. “They’re almost getting their sales back to where they were before this because they are showing up when people are looking for their services, and they’re doing it in a way that makes people feel comfortable.”

To view the full-length training videos, check out


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