The current impacts of the pandemic have subjected many businesses to unforeseen outcomes and the Property Preservation vertical is also not an exception. The virus has wedged the global economy significantly with Field Servicers struggling to strategize effective BCPs. The Property Preservation experts do have definite proficiency in delivering speedy and accurate services even under challenging circumstances but with the present scenario changing daily they are encountering frequent speed-bumps on the service road. The ongoing situation has forced them to reexamine their policies adapting on an almost daily basis and navigating a crisis with no specific endpoint.
Let’s take a look at some of the approaches the Property Preservation companies can adopt to mitigate the COVID 19 impact on their business:
Display Agility: The companies should remain apprised of all the relevant changes that are taking place right from the federal to the community level. They should further ensure that the entire vendor network is aware of all the regulatory changes and necessary information related to shifting guidelines are being passed on every stratum.
Expand Quickly: The idea is to maintain a broad network of vendors instead of concentrating huge volumes on limited vendors. More vendors help create a flexible resource plan with workforce scale going up and down easily preventing significant impact at work. While workforce scalability remains a big challenge with unknown pandemic consequences outweighing the known, Michael Greenbaum – COO, Safeguard Properties, states that ‘the fundamentals still apply’. He further adds while there are a lot of uncertainties related to the forbearance impact and REO volume, the ability to act quickly still depends much on the capacity of scaling and shifting independent contractor networks at a quick pace.
Consider a Paradigm Shift: While expanded vendor network remains a key to address unavoidable field visits, it’s also important to differentiate between the essential services and the ones that can wait. This is because the pandemic has forced us into limited human contact and the reduction of site visits is the only way forward. Leveraging technology to boost the available resource output is presently the most effective tool. The companies should start investing in remote technologies that can diagnose on-site issues; this will help them save man-hours and achieve faster TAT.
Nonetheless, for the unavoidable field visits, ensuring resource safety is a mandate. Sanitizing the equipment regularly, maintaining a 6-feet distance between two field workers, wearing PPE kits and masks should be followed dedicatedly.
Video Technology can be quite a game-changer for companies. Implementation of advanced remote assistance can help them overcome the visual gap, which, in fact, the traditional service providers still face. While clicking the before-after photos of inspected properties remains a customary practice, field servicers should also start considering shooting before-after videos. The latter will come handier in not just saving time and ensuring accuracy, it will also safeguard the field servicers from paying multiple on-site visits (which is one of the most important measures to be taken in the current situation) and payment loss due to insufficient or missed pictures.
Instead of property inspectors visiting the sites physically, they can utilize Drone Technology for the time being to take care of tasks such as physical inspection, clicking photos, shooting videos etc. Although there are several obstacles in the commercial usage of drone, it can act as a proxy tool for unmanned inspection, for now, thus addressing the pertinent issue of social distancing.
Communicate with your Clients Frequently: While this applies to any normal scenario as much, this emergency has reinforced the need for client communication even more. Communication serves as the backbone for any disaster response, be it a flood, a wildfire or a pandemic. While everybody starting from a bank, a servicer, or a private property owner is aware of the current affairs through newspapers, television channels or social media, they still want to know what the ground level picture is. The Field Servicers should be able to provide real context putting the data into perspective depending on the current regulations of the cities, counties, or states where the property is located and the guidelines issued for property preservation and inspection in that specific region.
Get Ahead of Fluctuations: This is the ‘New Normal’ and getting a Long Term Strategy is the key. The clever solution is to make the existing resources apply their skills to the core business activities and get an experienced outsourcing partner to execute the ancillary activities such as Bid Creation, Invoicing and Photo QC. These sections might appear minor but any mistake(s) in these areas can subject your business as well as your client’s business to serious consequences. Outsourcing these jobs to committed experts will help the Property Preservation Companies ensure that all their back-office requirements are properly addressed to. Besides, the Flex Support Model will help companies address the scalability issue.