I’m excited to reopen my catering business in town! I’ve done the work to update my kitchen space with all the required safety protocols and have been inspected by the City of Hoboken Health Department. So, I am ready to start cooking for my clients again but what’s your advice on the best way to reach out to my customers and let them know that it’s safe to purchase from my business?
– Abbey B.
This is a great question and one that is certainly on everyone’s mind. The answer is all about striking that balance between the need to reopen businesses and the need for people to feel comfortable and safe.
I’m going to offer an approach that more broadly covers businesses, in general, but you know how to contact me if I can help give you any more specifics for your particular instance.
We can break that down into a few steps:
Understand that your customers may not be ready to come back. Even though medical experts and industry leaders tell people that it’s safe to move into the next phase, not everyone moves at the same pace. And that’s OK! By now, I’m sure you’ve implemented new business procedures for online or contactless sales. Emphasize that those are still in place for anyone who is more comfortable doing business that way. Sure, people can walk into your store but, if they don’t want to, reassure them that you still can take care of them.
Educate people on exactly what precautions you’re taking. There are so many news articles and stories out there about different precautions – it gets both confusing and overwhelming for people trying to figure it out. Tell your customer base exactly what new systems you’ve implemented and explain clearly how it benefits them.
Also, prepare them for how these new procedures will change their experience once they are inside your shop, restaurant or business. It won’t be “business as usual” and we, as humans, tend to have a hard time with change. Be upfront about increased wait times, that some items might not be in stock, etc. The more you can prepare customers for the new experience they will have in your businesses, the better.
Don’t just talk about it, live it. Use social media to show the plexiglass you have at your counter. Post photos and videos of how you’ve changed the layout of your business, for example, to accommodate social distancing. Getting new customers, and getting old customers again, means that your message isn’t “we’re open!” but rather “here are real-life examples of customers buying our product”. That way, people will feel more comfortable coming to do that themselves.
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