The coronavirus pandemic is impacting everyone differently. If you are planning now to reopen your business, we recommend you take these 6 important steps before you open your doors.
1. Ensure A Safe Environment For Customers And Employees
First and foremost, businesses must follow all government and other guidelines to ensure a safe environment for employees and customers.
Once you have taken these extra measures and are ready to open, you can begin to think about how to recoup lost revenue.
2. Update Your Online Listings
One of the most important steps you should take in the reopening process is to update all of your listings.
Otherwise, customers may think your business is still temporarily closed or has limited hours.
You should update critical business information such as:
- Business hours / temporary reduced hours
- Contact information (welcome any questions)
- Any special offers to attract customers back
- Extra safety precautions being taken
- And more to keep customers informed, for example on your:
- Google My Business
- Google Posts (COVID-19 Google Posts will appear at the top of your business profile, making it more visible for consumers to access when they find you)
- Facebook / Facebook Groups
- Bing COVID-19 features
- Yelp’s COVID-19 Advisory Alert
And across every local business directory where you can list for free, e.g. newspapers, magazines, chambers of commerce.
3. Refine Your Customer Return and Retention Plans
Some customers won’t be ready to come into your business yet, or if they are, will likely expect contactless payment options and services. So it’s important to refine your plans to attract and keep purchase-ready customers.
Let them know if you are still offering online ordering, off-premises pickup, takeout, in-premises pickup, delivery, no-contact delivery, or in-house shopping.
For hotels, let people know if you are giving free or discounted accommodation.
Be creative with special offers. For example:
- Create contests, and giveaways to attract new and existing customers who can receive free swag or a discount.
- Partner with other local businesses which are reopening and offering discounted prices to customers who visit both businesses.
- Offer your customers rewards for every new customer they refer.
- Set up digital member or gift cards (on Facebook for example).
- Allow customers to create personalized gift boxes from a range of products or categories.
- Set minimum and maximum quantities at fixed- or per-item discounted prices.
4. Share The News With Your Existing Loyal Customer Base
Strict guidelines for re-opening has made it hard to know which businesses are open or not. If your business is reopening, announce the great news to loyal fans who have been waiting to hear from you!
You should ramp up your communication efforts. Email your customer database regularly and publish frequent posts across your social platforms leading up to reopening. And then also the first few weeks once your business has opened. Consumers will appreciate the relevant updates that show you have not forgotten them.
Your social media channels should also exist as a platform for customer service. So make sure that they know they can receive a quick response from you when they need it. By utilizing apps such as Facebook and Twitter, you can invite loyal and new consumers to be a part of your business’s conversation and generate more buzz.
5. Announce your New COVID-19 Policies
It’s essential for your business to show consumers what steps you’re taking to keep them safe at this time. While businesses are reopening, the fear of COVID-19 among customers still remains.
Show them you are taking extra steps throughout the reopening process to keep individuals safe by announcing your COVID-19 policies. These new policies should be added on your website, and through email newsletters. Here are some specific COVID-19 topics that customers will be interested in learning about:
- Capacity availability – Make sure your customers are aware of new occupancy rules after opening day. This will help to avoid any confusion for customers and prevent large gatherings.
- New safety policies and procedures – Your customers may be wondering where they will have to wait if your business is at maximum capacity. Or if face masks will still be required. By addressing these policies, you can help customers come prepared to comply with your business’ new rules.
- New COVID-19 services and products – Is your business still going to offer COVID-19 services such as no-contact delivery or off-premises pickup? Informing customers of such services and products will help to encourage visitors to come to your business, especially those who are still wary at this time.
6. Be Ready To Respond to Online Q&A and Reviews
Increasing your communication efforts and responding to reviews through, for example, Google Q&A, TripAdvisor, Facebook, Twitter, and TrustPilot should be an integral part of your reputation management procedures.
Throughout lockdown due to COVID-19, these platforms have had to implement many changes to prevent businesses from being reviewed unfairly due to the pandemic.
It’s critical for your business to be prepared to respond to all reviews. As businesses start to reopen, many will potentially experience hiccups and adjustments during this transitory phase. Reviews will be one of the first places where customers will express their concerns and opinions. By ensuring every review has the right response from your business, showing that you are concerned, you can smooth over any potential issues or identify areas of your business to give more attention to.
No matter where your business is in its timeline, it’s never too early to prepare for your grand reopening. Taking the above steps should help with re-generating revenue.
No time as you are busy making operational preparations? Or not enough available staff right now?
FinTech Management Services is ready and willing to help. Especially if you are a past or present user of our applications and services.
Please do not hesitate to make contact with us and let us know what you need.