Don’t look now, but Black Friday is right around the corner. Any bricks-and-mortar retailer will tell you that on this busiest shopping day of the year, everything in and about the store must be perfect, from product displays, signage and lighting to the HVAC system that maintains a comfortable and welcoming environment.

Of course, Black Friday is only the beginning, for it kicks off the holiday season—the crucial month-plus that makes or breaks many retailers’ years.

This Thursday, turkey will be gobbled, stuffing will be stuffed into hungry mouths, pumpkin pie will be eaten, and bad football will be watched. Very soon after, stores will open for business, and the rubber will truly meet the road. From an HVAC standpoint, stores on Black Friday must be comfortable, and units must be ready to function optimally, even in times of peak shopper traffic. In terms of lighting and electrical, all lights must work—there should be no breaker issues and no lamp outages. Likewise, signage – inside and out – must be 100 percent functional. If or when issues do arise, they must be dealt with immediately. Waiting two days for an HVAC service call is never acceptable—and that’s especially true during the holiday season.

For facility managers, you are indeed entering crunch time. And when crunch time hits this Friday (or Thursday evening, for some retailers), you need to have your team – we call it your extended network – in place, ready to respond quickly wherever and whenever issues arise.

If your company has retail stores throughout the country, ask yourself: If the rooftop unit (RTU) in your Topeka, Kansas store suddenly breaks down Friday morning, do you have a primary technician in place who can quickly dispatch to the store, diagnose the issue and fix it? Do you have a secondary option? Tertiary options beyond that? What if your third and fourth options are all out on emergency calls, or simply not answering their phones? What then? Are you compelled to do a vendor search on the spot while foot traffic in that Topeka store dwindles because of no heat?

The stakes are just too high to leave anything to chance—especially with multiple stores in many locations. That’s why it’s so vitally important to have your extended network in place—year-round, certainly, but especially during the holiday season. Your extended network should be comprised of team members that cover all your bases, no matter where your stores are located; it should have primary, secondary and tertiary options; and each team member should uphold your standards of quality when it really counts.

At CLS Facility Services, we maintain one of the strongest extended networks in the country for all our clients. That means that if you have a ballast outage in your flagship Manhattan store, or five lamp outages in your Fresno, California store, we have the ability to fix those issues now, rather than after it’s too late. Our extended network includes primary, secondary and tertiary options—and, we’ve vetted each one beforehand, so we can send them to your Manhattan or Fresno store with confidence. We’ve researched them, worked with them before, confirmed that they hold the proper certifications, and have confidence that they will ask the right questions while on site, properly diagnose the problem and make repairs quickly, thoroughly and cost-effectively.

Grade Your Network Before the Turkey Hits the Pan—Then Call Us to Learn More

Again, with Black Friday and the holiday season right around the corner, we strongly urge you to evaluate your network, identify where and when service calls may be needed, and act on that information immediately, because if you wait until later in the week, it will likely be too late.

Finally, it’s worth noting that the holiday season is actually a great time of year to test out new vendors. If you have a need – from a PM to an emergency call on Thanksgiving Day or Black Friday, call the professionals at CLS—we’d love the opportunity to respond, do what we do best, and prove ourselves to you during this crucial time of the year for your business.

In our next blog, we’ll touch on why it’s so important for your outsourced facility management provider to assign a specific customer service team to your account. Until then, if you are looking for a facility management company for 2017, learn more about CLS Facility Services by contacting us at 800-548-3542 or by filling out our contact form.