Keeping Repair Shop Customers and Employees Safe from Coronavirus (COVID-19)
Like you, SHIFTMobility is monitoring the latest news about the coronavirus pandemic including what it means for us as a company, our families, and industry. Yet while we continue to get in the practice of “social distancing,” it’s worth noting that vehicles and their support structure remain critical tools for the function and wellbeing of our country. With confusing shortages of toilet paper making global headlines, many have taken a closer look at how it is these products make it to our local shelves; indeed, it is our nation’s long-haul truckers who are preserving the backbone of our supply chains, keeping our pantries stocked and us fed. Let’s face it, despite the need to limit social interactions, we still must go out on occasion for groceries or to check on a relative, and cars are our transportation of choice. In short, while vehicle traffic remains, maintenance does as well.
As an essential business, automotive repair shops are grouped in with pharmacies, banks, and others as critical institutions. With that said, what can you as a shop owner do to continue to best serve your customers while also ensuring the safety of yourself and your employees? While contaminants and viruses like COVID-19 can live on vehicle surfaces, the stray fossilized french fry hiding under the seat is most likely the worst a technician will encounter. However, it is good practice, and would bring peace of mind to your customers, should you institute a complimentary and thorough vehicle cleaning and disinfecting routine on every car that rolls into your service bay. Consumer Reports states that vehicle cleaning should include the “steering wheel, door handles, shift lever, any buttons or touch screens, wiper and turn signal stalks, passenger and driver door armrests, grab handles, and seat.” The report goes on to state that “nearly every interior surface of a vehicle can be cleaned with isopropyl alcohol.” Instituting a thorough cleaning of customer vehicles can go a long way to not only keep your employees safe, but give your customers the peace of mind they need in these uncertain times.
While the risk to employees from vehicle interiors remains comparatively low, employee-customer interactions should be exercised with caution. As a business owner, your employees are your engine and your customers your lifeblood, so make sure that you look out for them both. Follow all government protocols and recommendations and sanitize all high-use surfaces daily. “Businesses that remain open are encouraged to keep both employees and customers six feet apart, including while standing in line. But there are no specific limitations on the number of people allowed inside.” Much of the advice given to stop transmission of coronavirus in your business is common sense, such as ensuring employees clean their hands with soap and water while scrubbing for at least 20 seconds, but some habits are harder to break. In the shop environment, promoting good and consistent glove usage is now more important than ever. Similarly, if your shop uses a shared tool chest, ensuring that technicians clean each tool with a disinfecting wipe prior to stowing it away can go a long way towards making sure your team continues to operate at 100%. Place hand sanitizer stations throughout the shop, especially at the front desk. Ask employees to inform you at the first sign of any potential symptoms, and have them stay home should they feel under the weather. It’s important that you remain flexible.
As far as inspections, repair orders, and parts orders go, it’s never been a better time to replace those paper and pen forms with their superior digital alternatives. By investing in a mobile shop solution able to send and receive all manner of shop forms electronically, you’ll be able to limit any viral transmission that could be exacerbated by direct customer contact. With a solution like ShopLite, approvals and inspection reports that in the past had to be given in person or over the phone can now be sent and received directly from a user’s smartphone or tablet to your shop computer. Another upside? Digital information never gets lost or deteriorates.
As part of our response to the coronavirus and its potential economic impact on our customers and partners in the automotive aftermarket, we have made the decision to offer our Complete Shop Management Package FREE to all repair shops and services centers for the next 90 days. If you’re a shop, simply send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with the following information:
- First, Last name
- Company Name
- Email address
- Phone number
- Address, City, State and Zip Code
Following receipt of the above information, a SHIFTMobility representative will call you to setup your free account and provide training. We wish you the best and are here to support you through these difficult times.
Stay well and be safe,