Your customers miss you. Don’t miss the opportunity to make a memorable return.
We’re customers in our community. We’ve participated in carry-outs, deliveries, online shopping, and entering stores to purchase things, whether a want or need. We’ve been pleasantly surprised, and admittedly a little disappointed by our experiences; whether it be in-store or by fellow consumer behavior.
Although the desire for customers to possess your goods may exceed the pain to get them, that will not sustain the long term. That long-lasting loyalty for what you’re offering can very easily come down to their experience interacting with your business.
Here’s a list of suggestions to reopen with little investment beyond your time or resources to create a memorable customer experience:
- Communicate to your customers what returning will look like for them.
There’s nothing more awkward than showing up with no understanding of what the new process is to shop, check out, or pick something up.
We were very impressed with one of our local business owners, Gwen from Studio 31 Salons. She put together a clear step-by-step process for her salon so that they are compliant with state mandates to reopen. Knowing the drill, her clients will feel comfortable and knowledgeable about their return to the salon chair.
- Update all touch points of communication that are accessible to the public regarding your plan.
Your website, storefront signage, Facebook page, Google listing, and any other avenue of communication you may have from newsletters to mail, and email, can be beneficial to keep customers in the know. Remove your Closed signs and update your hours on your Google listing. Most customers will check online or call ahead to make sure you are open for business.
Black Wing Shooting Center has been a shining example of this. On the ball with their communication on all channels, Black Wing has made sure to explain their unique new operating procedures to their customers. The results led to steady business, heightened customer appreciation and comfort, and excitement for their services as they slowly and carefully reopen. You can find examples of this communication on their Facebook page.
- Talk to similar industry business owners and share ideas, especially if you have contacts in states that have reopened before us.
If you do not have any contacts who operate the same type of business as you in states like Tennessee or Texas, who have since reopened, seek them out online and research their communication. They may have thought through processes you have not yet. This can also position you as a local resource for your peers.
- Walk through your processes as if you were a customer and determine where disruptions could occur.
A simple role-play from your parking lot to your point of sale machine can give you the perspective of where certain steps must change and where new “wow moments” can be added. As an example, many businesses have closed their waiting rooms and now text you from your car when it is your turn to enter. As summer heats up, there may be creative opportunities for how they wait or even simply crafting fun texts to invite them inside. What are new ways to wait?
The one sheet of rules to follow for social, safe, compliant state mandates is not a cookie-cutter for all businesses. We have to learn new ways to shop, dine, and pay. Add in the unknown shortages of an item and conflicting views of the future, results can be high intensity and shorter fuses. Make your come back the best experience for your customers by being prepared.