With the national “stay at home” recommendation over and many states loosening restrictions, companies across America are reopening. This reopening looks different depending on the type of business you are in.
For example, a hair salon in Florida is reopening by serving one customer at a time. Both the stylist and customer have masks on and the stylist is wearing gloves. Another example is a dentist in Oregon asking patients to wait in the car until the receptionist can call them on the phone to come in for their appointment, ensuring only one patient in the office at a time. Still other examples include restaurants reopening as take-out only establishments.
What to Think About Before Reopening Your Doors
There is no doubt that the world of business has changed in the face of COVID-19. However, with businesses returning to the marketplace, there is a need to rethink “normal.”
Here are three things to consider before you return to “business as usual” after stay at home orders are lifted in your area.
What Has Been Working?
Lifting a stay at home order is not like flipping a switch from “off” to “on.” For the past nine weeks or more, people have been told to stay home and save lives. They have been asked to wear masks and gloves and to think and think again about whether a trip is necessary.
These thoughts and concerns do not just go away when the government of an area lifts an order. The concept of gathering with multiple people, touching items that have been touched or breathed on by others, and getting an intimate service like a massage or hair appointment may still be too frightening for people.
With this in mind, consider what has been working to connect you with customers. Continuing to provide these services and sharing what safety measures you are taking can alleviate the concerns of those clients who are still too uncomfortable to visit your facilities in person.
Can You Survey Customers?
Take the guesswork out of customer concerns. Create a survey for customers to fill out. This is a great place for your customers to express what makes them anxious, what would make them comfortable, and allow you to have a sounding board for new ideas.
You may want to do more than one survey to really dial in what service or product would appeal to your customers, so you may want to provide an incentive like a giveaway to ensure customers remain interested in providing their thoughts and in voting on your ideas.
What Metrics Measure these Changes?
You should be creating statistics for changes you make to your business as you go along. So, if you do make a change as you open your doors and update your business strategy, be sure to establish and track metrics for each new change. This may be as simple as taking note of the date and change so that you can refer back to it as you review the data later on. However, if you are planning to make a big change, be sure to create a metric that will measure the effect of that change on your company as a whole.
A Note About Communication
During times of change, it can be difficult to ensure adequate communication with both employees and customers, but that communication is vitally important. In fact, it’s much better to over-communicate than to under-communicate.
An example of under-communication is: a company is opening their doors once again, so they send an email out to customers saying they are back in business and one to employees telling them when to show up.
An example of over-communication is: a company is reopening. They send an email to both customers and staff indicating how the reopening will happen, what remote services will remain available, and what safety measures will be put in place. This is replicated on social media. A customer service survey is established, along with a feedback box/feedback Slack channel for employees.
Sharing the whole story with customers and employees is both comforting and helpful. It allows everyone to establish the norm and to provide feedback so that your business can adapt and make all feel welcome.
Here at Business Success Consulting Group, we are continuing to do virtual meetings and virtual consults all day, every day. If you are working to get your business back on track, we are here for you. Contact us today and find out how we can help!