Visiting the customer, even in corona times

Visiting the customer, even in corona times

Three servicemen about their experiences

Ringing the bell, shaking hands, setting to work, a cup of coffee and then taking your leave with a smile and another firm handshake. That is what a ‘normal’ house call by a serviceman usually looks like. But these are different times now. The corona virus forces us to be more sensible and safer in our contacts with others. Keeping a distance. Which is exactly what our servicemen are doing. In the meantime, they ensure that our customers stay connected.

Brief contact or a remote talk
Gezim Kelmendi, serviceman at VodafoneZiggo, drives hundreds of kilometres each week to remedy any hitches as soon as possible. Due to the tightened corona measures he has had to adjust his routine. Now he only goes to places if there is a really serious problem. "How I come to the door, has also dramatically changed these past few weeks. That is, if I come that far at all."

Gezim still sets off to customers, but once he has arrived he first calls them from his car. They then discuss the problem at hand. "In this way I can determine how brief I can keep the contact. Less social, but safety comes first. If it turns out we can solve the problem on the phone or by video calling, we opt for that. If necessary I lay a new modem or Wi-Fi booster on the doorstep and guide people through the installation procedure. I’m secretly turning all our customers into budding servicemen."

Gezim prefers to decide for himself. "Sometimes, situations can be quite complicated. In such cases, I do have to enter the house after all. Naturally keeping an appropriate distance. For my own health, but certainly for the health of the customers, who are often elderly. Especially with these customers, I notice that my visit is much more valuable than just repairing the faulty device. Once in a while, therefore, I stay a little bit longer than strictly necessary, seated on the other side of the sofa. To simply talk about the weather, the current situation or anything else that comes up. People value that genuine contact immensely."

Instructions through the window
Recently, serviceman Chris Terwijn was also in for a surprise during a house call. When he arrived, he noticed a warning sticker on the front door stating there was an oxygen tank in the house. "The man of the house turned out to be a lung patient. In these times and the risks of contamination it meant I could not go inside, not even at a safe distance. His wife, whom I met at the front door, was very understanding. But I did see the helplessness in her eyes.”

So Chris thought of a way to help these elderly people. “Giving instructions on the phone proved to be too complicated. Then suddenly, the neighbour turned up. He regularly visited them as a caregiver and was therefore able to enter. Through an open window I told him what to do. That ranged from checking the connections to replacing the cables. He did all that as a pro. We even managed to help them switch over from analogue TV to digital. A razor sharp image appeared. Happy and relieved faces. Never before had I felt such satisfaction when I left."

Telecom as a necessity of life
More than ever people realise the importance of internet and television. That is what serviceman Odion Belioso experiences on a daily basis when he visits customers. Especially in these hectic months people want to stay up-to-date at all times. For that, a functioning connection is critical.

A while ago, Odion set off to an elderly couple in a nursing home. At first, he wasn’t allowed to enter, but after consulting the couple’s daughter on the phone, an exception was made. "I was helped into coveralls, put on gloves and face protection and set to work. These are crazy times. Where you normally have a cup of coffee during your visit, you now take yourself off as soon as you can. For your own, but also the customer’s health."

That Odion and his fellow servicemen still go round to people’s houses, doesn’t surprise him. "Telecom has become one of the necessities of life now. That I get to help fix that for our customers is something I really value.”