Safety: This critical OCS selling point should not be neglected by operators

March 15, 2022
What does safety mean in today's OCS industry.

Quality coffee, great service and a price that makes sense – these have been the fundamental OCS selling point triggers since the very beginning of the OCS industry. In December, I added one more trigger, driven by millennials and Gen Z – sustainability. Now, as offices begin to repopulate, there is a new critical selling point that needs to be added to the list – safety.

What “safety” means

What does “safety” mean in today’s context? It means making sure that workplace decision-makers know that your company is committed to keeping everyone safe, both your employees and their employees. It is easy, convenient and even comforting to de-emphasize the importance of safety and simply wave it off as mask mandates are lifted. That is a big mistake.

Making clients comfortable

David Baker, regional vice president of Premier Vend Group, said that his company consistently talks to clients about safety and has company drivers and techs still wearing masks. “We also see the value of touch-free equipment, even though touch points are clearly not a cause of COVID-19,” said Baker. “It is a matter of making clients comfortable and keeping people safe, from the flu, from COVID and whatever might be next.”

Being responsible

“Our clients are insisting that our staff be vaccinated, and they have been talking about that as a priority for a long time,” said Justin Kleinman of Corporate Essentials. “We made the decision that we can't manage who can go where because of vaccination status, so all my employees are fully vaccinated. If they're eligible for the booster, they're getting the booster.

“I think from the standpoint of just being a responsible employer and partner, I'm trying to keep everybody in my organization safe. We all hate the situation at times, but we're keeping safe, and we want to keep the customer safe,” he added.

Taking a cautious approach

Industry consultant Steve Closser of Translucent said he has seen a major change in attitude among employers when it comes to safety. “When I was growing up in the restaurant business and even in our business, if you called in sick in the past, we used to tell people, ‘You better be really sick if you’re not coming in today!’ You couldn’t call in sick on the day of your funeral. Obviously, an overstatement, but that’s the kind of thing employers used to say,” said Closser.

“Now, if you don't feel good, companies want you to stay home,” he said. “We had an incident a couple of weeks ago, one of our employees, and by the way, every one of our team is boosted and some people on our team have had two booster shots. This person woke up in the morning, just didn't feel right and the client said, ‘This can wait until tomorrow. We will just start tomorrow and push everything back a day.’ They were very understanding. Safety was the most important thing, and everyone was happy to see that employee the next day, feeling 100%.”

Strong selling point

Guy Cordero, northeast regional vice president of CRH Catering, said his company is communicating their focus on safety, cleanliness and touch-free equipment, especially with new customers, adding that safety is an important selling point. “We are not mandating vaccinations, but we are encouraging it and incentivizing employees to get vaccinated,” he said. “We are also mandating masks at this time for our employees when they are at a location, in our warehouse or in our office.”

Eliminating a central excuse to stay home

Facility managers that I have been speaking to agree that safety is important and that the emphasis on smart buildings is gaining momentum. One administrator said safety is cited by employees as a major reason why they want to continue working from home.

Setting the tone for comfort and confidence

“Clients appreciate our commitment to safety,” Kleinman said. “Setting the tone to make the customer feel safe – I think it is very important to the relationship and the confidence that they have in doing business with us as opposed to Amazon or some delivery service. Knowing that they can be comfortable with our staff, it is one more thing a facility manager can check off their list.”


Industry consultant and contributing editor Bob Tullio is a content specialist who advises operators in the convenience services industry on how to build a successful business from the ground up and advises suppliers on how to successfully connect with operators. Tullio’s YouTube channel, b2b Perspective, is designed to “elevate your business in two minutes.”

On Tuesday, April 5, from 1-4 p.m. at the NAMA Show in Chicago, Tullio will be presenting a pre-conference session entitled, “Selling Convenience Services: Strategies of Elite Performers.”

For more information on the services that Tullio offers to operators and suppliers, visit his new website at or contact him at [email protected].


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