Home Technology Specialists of America (HTSA), an international trade consortium of residential technology retail and custom integration specialists, has taken the unprecedented step of launching a series of special initiatives designed to provide multiple levels of assistance to consortium members. These initiatives represent a valuable mix of extraordinary aid and information dissemination, helping members to safely navigate the rapidly contracting U.S. economy resulting from the spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) epidemic.
This once-in-a-lifetime event combines a dramatic economic deceleration with a large government launched economic stimulus package containing complex and confusing requirements. Developments evolved very rapidly, often accompanied with misinformation and conflicting information.
“In a matter of just a few short weeks, it seemed to many as though the situation was spinning out of control,” said Jon Robbins, Executive Director of Home Technology Specialists of America. “But by analyzing the situation, drawing from our collective wisdom, and implementing new systems and processes – our members were better able to more effectively adapt to a fundamentally changed operating environment.”
Quickly Asserting Order
HTSA’s Board of Directors and management immediately recognized this historic moment in time and quickly convened a series of meetings to develop an action plan specifically for the purpose of helping members navigate the rapidly evolving situation.
This new plan was necessary to address the all-new critical needs of its membership to receive solid, vetted information and advice. In addition to this, it was clear that members needed access to financial aid and program assistance to minimize the negative impact of the economic decline.
Based on their plan, HTSA management immediately launched a series of aggressive actions designed to take control of a situation that seemed out of control – and to become the nexus of accurate information on necessary steps for members to take.
Five Major Steps
As it became clear that the U.S. economy was rapidly decelerating, HTSA management took a series of steps to mitigate the impact on its members. These steps include the following items…
VENDOR ASSISTANCE – HTSA has important and powerful partnerships with its vendor community. Management reached out to the consortium vendors to discuss the gravity of the situation and to mutually come to an agreement on various types of relief that these valued vendors could – and did – make available to all HTSA members. Because of the scale and impact of this partnership on their business, vendors were quick to respond when HTSA came calling.
TOWN HALL MEETINGS – HTSA managers realized that early in the spread of COVID-19, there was an accompanying proliferation of confusion, misinformation, and fear. In order to address concerns, collect information on local impact, and jointly discuss a new path forward, management launched a series of online “Town Hall” style meetings where all members were able to share their concerns, thoughts and suggestions. Those town hall meetings are continuing to be held to this day with multiple levels of dealer staff and management.
ONLINE INFORMATION CLEARINGHOUSE – HTSA launched a private group on popular social site Reddit for all HTSA members. The group uses this site to share properly vetted and carefully curated content on COVID-19, as well as important business matters in an organized and useful way. Also, members can freely interact and share ideas with each other on an ongoing basis.
EXPANDED ONLINE EDUCATION – Member training and education is one of the cornerstones of the organization and the group has led the industry in creating expert training and advanced educational programs for all of its members. HTSA is in the process of porting even more of its educational resources – including previous face-to-face courses – to online-based training that can be taken by members and their employees in this new work-from-home environment.
MEMBER FEE SUSPENSION – As a sign that “We’re all in this together,” HTSA’s Board of Directors have announced that – for the first time in its history - it is suspending member fees for the second quarter. The goal is to help members better adjust to the dramatic financial impact on their cash flow of the economic slowdown resulting from this pandemic.
A Dynamic and Evolving Situation
Members have responded with great enthusiasm to the efforts of HTSA to keep them informed and to help them deal with the changed economic and operational landscape. This proactive approach has helped its members better adjust and adapt, with a new and stronger go-forward plan.
“We will continue to closely monitor the situation and make further adjustments as necessary,” added Robbins. “Our main goal is to position ourselves for what will undoubtedly be a period of extraordinary growth on the other side of this COVID-19 event. I can assure you, HTSA members will be fully prepared and ready.”
To learn more about HTSA and its many membership benefits, see: www.HTSA.com.