The Work from Home Issue

When we planned our content for this issue of Trade Talk NW, we had no idea how different life would be here in the Northwest and around the world. We’re all adjusting to changes in our daily routine and thinking more about the health and safety of family, friends and co-workers. While this may be a time of uncertainty, the Network is here to help. In this issue, read on for ways to stay connected with your customers while staying safe.

Welcome to the Work from Home issue.
How to Serve Customers in Our Current Climate

Our new normal right now is very different than even one month ago. With the current issues we face together, how can we help our customers and protect our companies financially? No one has all the answers, but we hope to provide you with some thoughts on how we can truly connect with one another and keep our individual businesses financially strong.

Nearly every industry has been severely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, facing a loss of business activity and a loss of revenue. Even so, some enterprising companies are taking the initiative to reach out to customers directly to stay connected, rather than assuming customers are no longer interested. We can learn from their example; we should not suppose that our customers don’t need or want to hear from us. This is an opportunity to personally connect with customers past and present to see how we can help them.

  • Use technology to stay connected. For the foreseeable future, going to a customer’s business is off the table or heavily modified. Consider using safer methods of engagement such as email, FaceTime, phone calls, and video chat. Your customers are using these methods too, and will appreciate you reaching out to offer guidance, education, and support. And, this engagement can help you generate a pipeline of work for when business begins a return to normal.
  • Ask how you can help. In talking with customers, it is best to start with “how are you doing, and how is this affecting you”? Once you understand their situation, you can determine if there is an opportunity to provide assistance.
  • Schedule services in advance. A significant need for many companies will be a comprehensive cleaning of HVAC or lighting systems prior to re-opening. Take the opportunity to pre-schedule a time in the future when you can safely return to the property. Facilities may want to discuss an audit or even to upgrade equipment while there is limited or no staff in the building. There may be improvements they have put off and could be tended to now. Lastly, find out if there is still work being conducted where you could provide support or materials.

There are ways to be of service safely, in compliance with public health guidelines and social distancing requirements. If you’re an HVAC trade ally, here are three action items to discuss with your customers. And if you’re a lighting trade ally, here are three services you can offer now.

We are all in this together and our connection with one another is what will keep us strong and moving forward. Even if your customers may not have any work for you, they will remember that you cared enough about them and their business to call and see how you can help. That’s how trust is built, and long-term customers are retained.
Meet Andy Gerde

Field Specialist Andy Gerde is the go-to resource for trade allies doing lighting and HVAC projects in the greater Puget Sound and Olympic Peninsula regions. A field specialist since 2006, his previous positions were in the trade ally world, both as an account executive and a sales manager. His persistence and drive combined with his previous professional experience make him an excellent resource for navigating utility program offerings and brainstorming project solutions. A native of Seattle, he has lived in the Puget Sound region his whole life and knows his territory well.

Contact Andy to lend a hand on your next project. Not in his neighborhood? Visit our website to find the field specialist serving your area.
Introducing Our Virtual Workshop Series

To help you make the most of your work-from-home time, our 2020 workshops are going online. In place of in-person trainings, we’ve developed a slate of free, 60-minute webinars to help you stay current on technology trends and best practices. Curriculum content is for both lighting and HVAC trade allies and includes sessions on Connected Buildings, Networked Lighting Controls and Advanced Rooftop Controls. Virtual workshops are scheduled for April 17, 24 and May 1, from 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. Register here for one or more sessions.

Questions about the workshops? Call your field specialist for more information.
Join NEEA's Paid HVAC Research

The Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance (NEEA) is conducting a study to better understand the commercial HVAC business. They’re inviting commercial HVAC installers, salespeople, and business owners to participate in a paid one-on-one, 45-minute telephone interview. NEEA is offering a $50 gift card for completing the interview before May 15, 2020. To schedule your interview, please contact Michelle Bruchs at (503) 347-8462. Questions? Contact Lauren Bates of NEEA at (503) 688-5418.
Our COVID-19 Response

The coronavirus pandemic has changed how our industry, and the world, is doing business. The health and safety of our field team, trade allies and communities is our top priority. For the near term, Trade Ally Network NW is conducting our field work by phone or online meeting. Our team of field specialists has made a commitment to be available to you and your staff to discuss projects, answer questions and discuss utility program offerings. Please visit our website for materials and information and contact your regional field specialist with any questions. We will continue to monitor the situation and reassess plans as changes evolve. In the meantime, we’re here to help you so please continue to reach out at any time.
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Trade Ally Network NW is sponsored by the Bonneville Power Administration and its Northwest utilities.