Governments worldwide are working on detailed plans for the “new normal” of life during – and after – COVID-19. Although different regions may be in different phases, it’s good business to plan ahead and be ready for what’s ahead. Here in BC, the provincial government has released a multi-phase plan for restarting the economy and these plans put the onus on individual businesses to plot their path forward safely, responsibly, and carefully.
As businesses begin planning for a safe restart and ongoing safe operations, a key question must be answered: How can you demonstrate to customers it is safe to do business with you? According to the Retail Council of Canada, 85% of consumers are going to need to see evidence of enhanced safety measures prior to resuming their normal shopping habits. Businesses that want to position themselves as safe and trustworthy in the minds of their customers must first create a safe environment for customers and staff. Smart retailers take this one step further, however; they see that these efforts and expenses efforts can be used to their advantage as well. They will create the safe environment that’s been mandated by the health authorities, but also leverage that effort into communicating that safety to their customers.
The easiest and most-convincing way to demonstrate your commitment to COVID-19 safety is through tangible, clearly-visible measures to prevent transmission. Tangible evidence of increased cleanliness measures go a long way to assure your customers that you have their well-being as a priority. COVID-19 struggles to gain a foothold in areas that are regularly cleaned and disinfected. Consider over-investing in cleaning measures to ensure any potential virus exposure from surfaces is quickly eradicated. These measures can include:
- Frequent, scheduled cleaning and sanitization of high-touch areas and communal surfaces (doors, shopping carts, baskets etc.)
- Employ sanitizing tools to capture overlooked surfaces, like Grizzly Sanitize sanitizing mats for entrance floors
- Modify operating hours to allow for deep cleaning at the end of each day, and implement checklists to ensure that no surfaces are overlooked
- Facility for customers to sanitize items like shopping carts themselves
- Communicate changes through ample signage to customers to highlight changes
Customers understand and expect business will take place differently than before. They will appreciate transparency from your business on the measures you are taking, as well as timely updates as you plot the best path forward. Consider the following best practices for communicating the enhanced safety measures, and other changes, you have put in place:
- Communicate your messages across multiple channels. This will ensure it’s widely received and reinforced with your customers
- Tweak your messaging – a pandemic in not necessarily the time to deliver the hard marketing sell
- Demonstrate clearly that customer health and safety is your number one priority. If customers respond with concerns, address them directly.
- Create and share an FAQ document outlining specific questions customers may have about your health and safety practices.
- Offer additional assistance to customers where appropriate