COVID-19 has hit everyone hard. Even those who have avoided getting sick have seen businesses closing around them, possibly lost a job, been furloughed, or had hours reduced, and been instructed to stay at home whenever possible.
Your business is no different and you’ve likely been working hard at coming up with a plan to either shut down entirely or modify operations. But, are you keeping your customers in the loop? You really should be, and here is why:
Are you closing entirely? Conducting business remotely? Offering delivery or takeout? If you don’t clearly indicate how your business is responding, how are your customers supposed to know?
Many businesses have modified their offerings to comply with government orders and social distancing policies but still kept the doors open in some capacity. The ones who make it clear what is still being offered and publicizing this to their existing customer base will be in much better shape than the ones who don’t.
Even if you aren’t hands-on with your business’s online presence, it’s still worth making your plans clear. A reputable web designer or digital marketing firm would be happy to put up this notice for you, if your regular webmaster is closed or hard to reach, and will likely charge less than you are expecting.
Communicating your plans to your customers accomplishes more than just keeping them informed. You also inspire confidence that your establishment will survive and generate goodwill for the courtesy you show in keeping your customers updated.
Think about it from the customer’s perspective. Who is more likely to be providing a good experience when things reopen: The business who has kept them informed every step of the way, or the one who stayed silent leaving them to guess?
Equally important will be ringing the bell loud and clear when your operations are returning to normal. After all, your customers may have gone a bit stir crazy at home, so they’ll be eager to come out as soon as all the “Stay at home” orders have been lifted. Make sure they know exactly when you are open and ready to serve them again
A key thing to remember when communicating with your customers is that you won’t be able to reach all of them the same way. Some may have signed up for your email list, some may be followers of yours on social media, and some may be checking your website. It’s important that any changes you’ve made reach ALL of these people.
But, communicating to everyone doesn’t need to take a huge amount of effort. A quick notice posted on your website, which you then link to in an email blast and social media posts can both spread the news of your closure and also direct everyone to any parts of your business that are still operating. And of course, when your business returns to normal, make sure you use all these channels again!
So, make sure you keep your customers updated! After all, you probably don’t want them assuming you are closed when you have some operations continuing, or trying to buy from you when you are completely shut down. Make things clear for your customers, and they will appreciate the gesture even after the pandemic has ended and everything has gone back to normal.