Home Technology Specialists of America (HTSA), the 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 mix of financial 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.
“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.”
HTSA Board of Directors and Management Assert Order
HTSA’s Board of Directors and management recognized the historic nature of the COVID-19 pandemic 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 then 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 Steps Taken by HTSA Board and Management During Pandemic
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 management reached out to 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.
Town Hall Meetings – HTSA managers realized that early in the spread of COVID-19, there was an accompanying proliferation of confusion, misinformation, and fear. 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 on-going, 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, leading to 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 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,” Robbins added. “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.”