HomeServe shifts Chattanooga staff to work from home, launches online repair advice amid COVID-19 crisis
April 28, 2020
True to its name, HomeServe USA has rapidly shifted its Chattanooga staff to serve its customers from the employees' homes, rather than the company's congregated call center on Lee Highway.
In just 10 days last month, HomeServe scattered its 500-employee call center in Chattanooga from the $5.5 million open office complex built less than two years ago to the individual homes of the telemarketing workers. While doing so, one of America's biggest home repair services kept answering phones and dispatching repair crews across the country.
"It was a remarkable shift in such a short period," said Myles Meehan, senior vice president of marketing for the Norfolk, Connecticut-based repair service which acquired Servline in Chattanooga at the end of 2019.
The shift to teleworking at home for most of the HomeServe staff comes as the company is also trying to aid other workers to limit in-person contacts with other people to control the spread of the coronavirus. With more people home-bound and reluctant to bring others into their homes, HomeServe announced Tuesday it is launching a new remote home repair assistance option known as Telefix.
The new service, which the company began testing last week, allows qualified technicians to remotely examine, diagnose, and even offer repair guidance to help homeowners solve common home repairs without stepping foot into the home. The free remote Do-It-Yourself guidance is designed to build good will during the current challenging economic environment and, where consumers choose, could lead to more referrals and decisions to employ HomeServe to dispatch repair crews to fix plumbing, electrical, or heating and air conditioning problems.
"As homeowners do their part to 'flatten the curve,' we've found that many of our customers are limiting who they let in their homes given COVID-19 social distancing guidelines," HomeServe USA Chief Executive Officer John Kitzie said. "Yet with sheltering in place also putting increased demand on home systems, there's been an associated uptick in some home repair issues that require service. Given these two factors are today's new normal, HomeServe is adapting its core business to meet homeowner needs. Telefix, a remote repair option, offers a peace-of-mind solution to common home repair needs during this unprecedented time."
Help is available Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. EST by calling (833)-TELEFIX (835-3349) or visiting www.telefix.com for click-to-call capability. HomeServe's trained repair management specialists, who are also now working from home, will schedule a session with a technician who will help homeowners diagnose the problem and walk through a possible repair over the phone or via video when available. If a remote repair is not possible, homeowners will have the option to schedule an in-person repair.
Meehan said HomeServe continues to dispatch about 1,200 repair jobs a day across the country. Although down from its usual volumes due to concerns about the spread of the COVID-19 virus and economic uncertainty, Meehan said many of the calls are for urgent needs. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has designated the home repair workers as essential and HomeServe officials said repair crews being dispatched to go inside of homes for repairs are trained in social distancing protocols and have the appropriate personal protection equipment.