Every few weeks during the COVID-19 pandemic, I stock up on groceries. Under usual circumstances, I’ll do one weekly shop, but end up picking up a few things I forgot at a nearby store or stopping by a health food store for some speciality items. Now, I try to shop as infrequently as possible for essentials, so I needed to choose one place.
For me, the one place was Trader Joe’s. I felt they created the most comfortable environment for me to grocery shop. When I arrive, the line to enter extends to the front of the pet food shop next door. While the line makes some patrons decide to leave, most don’t mind. They’re only letting 25 shoppers into the store at a time. Most shoppers wear masks and on the ground outside the store, an employee has marked where to stand to maintain a safe distance.
When it’s finally my turn to enter, an employee in a mask greets me by wiping off a cart and passing it to me. My local Trader Joe’s put these measures in place well in advance of many other nearby stores. To me, this signaled that customer (and employee) safety is a high priority to the store.
In my area, I had the choice of dozens of stores. So, why did I choose the way I did? Trader Joe’s was the shop that ultimately met my personal expectations. Many customers will be making choices like this in the coming months.
Even as statewide reopening plans go into effect, customers will continue to limit how frequently they go out. How do you ensure your customers feel comfortable enough to choose your business when they go out? We’ve compiled a list of how to concisely tell customers what to expect when they visit your business and what details are the most important to include.
- Develop a message that works across multiple channels.
We’ve all received a few too many emails recently from businesses we never expected to hear from. Make sure you’re not annoying your customers by only sending necessary communications about your reopening.
Ensure you’re sending a unified message across platforms. Not only will this add clarity to your message, but it will save your staff a lot of time. Use your message to update your homepage, social media sites, and email newsletters. Rather than sending a special message, you can add details about your reopening into content customers would already see, such as social media posts. If customers frequently login to your website, consider adding a short popup directing them to a blog post or webpage outlining your further details on your return to business plan.
- Establish a feedback loop.
For customers who visit your business, create a way for them to safely provide feedback on the quality of their experience. Customer satisfaction is so important during this time and your customers will have insights that could greatly impact how successful your reopening is. Ask for feedback about how comfortable customers felt when visiting. Show customers you care and improve brand loyalty by taking action on their feedback. You can’t please everyone, but you can start implementing new measures as you start to see trends or recurring themes.
- Share what visiting your business will be like.
Share the information your customers actually want to hear as concisely as possible. What will visiting your business be like? What precautions are being taken? Will the customer stay in their car? How many people are allowed in your shop at a time? Will employees be wearing masks?
Here’s an email I received recently from a small, local clothing store, Simply Chic. They’ve started a personal shopping program as a way to stay open without having customers inside the store. In their email, they made it clear what using the program would be like for a customer.
- Practice what you preach.
This is critical. Make sure that your employees feel as safe as your customers. Check out this article to ensure that you’re ready to bring your employees back to work.
We want to help you prepare your employees and customers for reopening. For more resources, tips, and tricks, check out our Getting Back to Work page.