by Jim Hinshaw
So here we are at the end of the year, finishing up the second year of the pandemic. Not that we are celebrating, other than the fact that we got thru the second year. The purpose of this article is not to look back, but rather realize we are in a different sort of year, and this holiday season is going to be a tough one for many.
It is possible that you have team members of your company who have been hit with the Covid, some may still be suffering with the disease. It may be that some are not with us anymore. The same is true for our customers, they may have lost family members, the disease hit the older population hardest, and the holiday are when we traditionally gather for family meals and celebrations. That may change this year for a lot of folks.
We also see some consumers who are still cautious, many are afraid to go out to public places, even when masked. And they are not comfortable when a stranger (service tech or installer) comes into the home to do any sort of work. Even if they are wearing a mask, some ask if they are vaccinated, actually ask for a team member that has been vaccinated to be the person coming to their home.
So this new reality brings some new challenges to our business, from dispatching to setting up installs and even the sales call, they want to know how the company feels about the pandemic, what are they doing to protect them (at least in their home). We may get calls asking these questions, or more on a regular basis. Not preaching here, not trying to take a side, just stating what the marketplace reality is.
What this means for us is this, we are in new territory. The member coming into the home now must realize that this holiday season may be a sad time for the homeowner. They may have lost a loved one this last year, some may have family members still in the hospital, some in critical condition. When we automatically say: happy holidays; realize that it may not be for some. When they say, not able to get together, still in quarantine, etc. you can reply I cannot imagine how you must feel, but will be thinking of you this year.
On the other side of the holiday season, here are some ideas on how you can help make this a happier holiday time for your community. If you have the ability to get with your family, enjoy the time together, you are fortunate. Be available to your local families, check out the senior centers, churches, retirement homes to see how you can be involved. There are many in your neighborhood that will need to see a friendly face at the end of this year. One of our Service Nation VPs, Tom Peregrino had a company (he sold it last year) over in Grandbury, Tx. He had asked God to bless his company, God asked him what he would do to give back. Tom said he would provide service and maintenance work for the widows in town at no cost. After a few years, Tom had an idea on how he could take that to the next level. He had a sit-down meal for all of the widows in town.
Last year that meal at Thanksgiving time had grown to 170 widows, they had to rent a hall, get a catering company to feed them all. His service team all came as well, they even had calendars made up in a movie theme, each service tech dressed up as their favorite actor. James Bond, Indiana Jones, Patrick Swayze, just to name a few. The techs then autographed the calendars, it was an amazing time.
Our church just north of Dallas in Double Oak, Tx is putting together meals for school kids. Turns out many of these children have no meals at home, their only daily food comes from the school lunch program. So we are putting together boxes for them to take home for the holidays, so they have at least some food while school is out. If you ask around your community, I am confident you will find a group that needs your help. Step up, get involved. Many of our members offer services or even entire systems to the people in the areas that are not able to fund a system on their own. Some dealers have gone to the local fire department or church groups to see who needs their help. My advice is to use someone outside your company to make the selection, so it is not your responsibility.
Our company is also involved with a no-kill animal shelter, a charity we selected from several we reviewed. We are collecting food and toys for the animals that are in the shelter, which is overfilled this year, since many families had to give up their pets while in the hospital. Lots of dogs, cats, and a lot of other animals are in need. Our team voted to adopt this shelter, we are involved in it as well as a couple of other organizations such as Toys for Tots.
My wish for you this holiday is that you have some family time, plenty for food and fun while enjoying the company of those you love. Make this a great season, and when possible, reach out to those around you to help them enjoy the season as well. Thanks!