After being closed for several months or having your business activities dramatically restricted as a result of stay home orders, your county has finally given your business the green light to reopen, provided you take certain precautions. You might be ready to get back to business and establish a new normal, but are your customers? According to a May 2020 survey from Pew Research Center, 68% of Americans were concerned that restrictions related to COVID-19 would be lifted too quickly by local governments, potentially putting their health at risk. Those concerns can keep people from engaging with businesses even after companies in their area have reopened.
As a business owner, it’s up to you to convince people to return and to demonstrate to them that you take their health and safety seriously. There are several ways you can go about doing so.
Create and Communicate a Clear Plan
When making plans to reopen your brick-and-mortar location, it’s worthwhile to make sure that your customers are in on those plans and that they have a clear idea of the steps you’ll take as a business to keep them safe and to protect your employees. So far, a number of companies have used social media platforms such as Instagram or Facebook to clearly lay out their reopening plans to customers. Among the details you should provide in your plans include:
- When the business will reopen and what your opening days and times will be.
- How many people you will let into the business at a time.
- Where customers can wait if they arrive and you are currently at occupancy.
- Whether you will be offering reservations or appointment times and how customers can go about making an appointment or reservation.
- Whether you will be requiring masks or not and who needs to wear one.
- Whether you will have hand sanitizer or handwashing areas available.
- The type of payments you’ll accept.
Along with detailing your reopening plans, let people know that you are available to answer any questions they have about the process.
Make Social Distancing a Priority
Even if COVID-19 case numbers are on the decline in your state or county, practicing social distancing is still critical. Maintaining space between people will help to lower the rate of transmission and continue to reduce the spread of the disease. As your company reopens, there are several ways you can show customers that you take social distancing seriously.
If your employees will regularly interact with customers, such as by taking orders or ringing up sales, you might consider installing partitions at cash registers or in front of order taking areas. Instead of having servers go from table to table taking orders, set up tablet-based ordering stations. The tablets can be on the tables and customers can place their orders after they’ve sat down and had an opportunity to review the menu. Another option is to offer counter service, where people order from a cashier and a server brings the food out to them when it is ready.
To help people understand how to social distance, use decals or tape to mark six-foot intervals on the floor. If people will be sitting at tables at your business, use tape to establish areas for each table so that people don’t move chairs or tables closer together.
Offer Virtual or Curbside Options
As restrictions loosen, customers can begin to venture into places of business again but not everyone will feel comfortable doing so. To connect with the customers who aren’t quite ready to spend time with others in enclosed spaces or who might be more vulnerable to disease, it can be useful to introduce or continue to offer virtual or curbside options. With curbside pickup, customers order in advance either online or over the phone, When they arrive at your location, they call or text to let you know they are there and one of your employees can bring their order out. Virtual options that can work for some businesses include online consultations offered by lawyers, doctors or financial advisors or personal training conducted over video conferencing.
As you reopen your business, you might find that it’s necessary to pivot, find new sources of funding or expand your offerings. The virtual CFOs at New Direction Capital can help you recover from the effects of the pandemic and can work with you to make a plan for growth going forward. To learn more, contact us today.