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Q&A: Ensuring the Safety of Our Customers and Team Members During COVID-19

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is more important than ever to ensure the safety of not only employees, but also customers when non-essential work travel resumes. At AkitaBox, the Customer Experience team has worked hard to establish effective communication to promote the health and well-being of our customers and employees. 

We spoke with Judy Warzel Lelm, our Head of Customer Experience, to hear how her team has adjusted amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.



Judy Warzel Lelm

Head of Customer Experience at AkitaBox. Judy has a passion for organization and is dedicated to building a positive experience for customers.


Q: Why are you passionate about working in Customer Experience?

A: "It’s important to empathize with the customer, which should be easy to do since we’re all customers of something (a service or product). Creating a positive experience for our customers not only keeps our customers satisfied, but energizes our organization to continue to improve. I want to make sure that we're bringing customers the most efficient, clear and quick implementation possible because the faster we can get the software in the hands of our customers, the faster our customers can see the return on their investment."


Q: How has COVID-19 impacted the building management industry as a whole?

A: "COVID has had a reverberating effect on the building management industry. Early on many facilities teams were forced to shut down building operations, operate with reduced staff, and pivot maintenance activities to track and address disinfection. For us, a key part of our implementation is to be onsite at these facilities to collect asset and floor plan data. COVID blocked us for many months from doing that valuable work.

To support our customers during our travel pause, we engaged with them to explore a variety of different ways for them to continue getting value out of our software regardless of our onsite collection activities. We focused on getting floor plans modeled and access to our work order functionality, as well as exploring different ways to conduct our implementation process. Some customers were interested in having us guide them through asset collection led by their own teams, who were otherwise not fully utilized due to facility shutdowns. Other customers pivoted to our remote implementation approach. We’ve focussed on a high-touch model to make sure customers understand their options so they can make the best decision for their circumstances."

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Q: What steps are you taking to ensure the safety and health of your team members?

A: "Before getting into anything tactical, we spent a lot of time building guiding philosophies to drive our return-to-travel policies. First and foremost, we want our employees and customers to know that health and safety is our highest priority. Secondly, we want to be responsible citizens who understand our actions can impact the health and wellbeing of our colleagues, customers, and the general public. We are following a data driven approach to decide where and when we can travel in order to avoid biases from more subjective criteria. Specifically, we are following the White House Guidelines for Reopening and adhering to CDC recommendations.

We've also educated our customers as to what we're doing and we engage with them before we're even onsite to say, these are the requirements that we have, and we need you to partner with us to make sure that these areas are safe for us. We're also practicing six-foot physical distancing, contactless arrival if at all possible, or a reduction in escorts, which can be overcome by providing master keys if the customers are comfortable with that."


Q: What steps are you taking to ensure the safety, health and continued success of AkitaBox customers?

A: "Our goal throughout all of this was to be as communicative as possible. I think everyone is empathetic to the fact that in the age of COVID, things change every day and it makes sense why we may or may not be traveling to certain destinations. We are staying in touch with customers because we want those customers to understand that they're a priority for us. We haven't forgotten about them. They're still very much on our minds and as soon as we can get there, we want to be there, but their safety is of utmost importance to us.

I think the other thing is, when partnering with customers, understanding the rules that they are operating under due to COVID is incredibly important. We want to be sure we are aware of those rules so we can educate our teams to be prepared to follow those precautions, as well."


Q: What travel protocol has your team put in place to maintain safety during this time?

A: "Our leadership team in Implementation Services talks about this every single day, so it's just part of our lives now. It's our daily check in to make sure that we have a master spreadsheet that links out to reputable sources of data for that gating criteria. We aren't just relying on one particular website or one particular source, we're making sure that we're challenging the information that we're seeing to be as diligent as possible with that. I want to highlight that we so appreciate the understanding and flexibility our customers have afforded us. Our customers have been so incredibly understanding and respectful of our travel limitations and understanding of our policies too. I would simply like to extend my thanks and gratitude."



AkitaBox is the leading building management software provider dedicated to improving the way people manage and interact with the buildings they occupy. Founded in 2015, AkitaBox currently supplies accurate data management tools and implementation services to over 250 million square feet of educational, commercial, healthcare and governmental organizations in the United States.

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