Customers are venturing back out to shop, dine, and feel a semblance of normalcy. However, the consumer experience has changed since the onset of stay at home orders. Social distancing requirements, masks, and ubiquitous hand sanitizer are reminders of why we need these precautions. We know that emotions strongly impact purchasing decisions. Anxiety and frustration are common, and disappointed expectations can make things worse. Make your business feel good. It will help customers be comfortable now and build loyalty that carries into the future. Here are six tips for welcoming your customers back into a positive experience, even if things are different.
Make sure your business looks and feels clean
Many people are still very worried about their and their family members’ health. You can cheerily model healthy behaviors at your business to help customers feel safe. Calmly make your efforts to protect customers visible. Employees can clean surfaces while customers are shopping. Anyone at a register can frequently use hand sanitizer. Friendly signage can even be an opportunity to deliver messages about your brand’s values and care for your community,
Remind customers the rules apply to everyone
New Mexico currently requires masks to be worn in public. If you own or manage a business, you may have already observed that some customers resist this. Consistently insisting (politely, of course) that everyone in the store follows the rules helps communicate the fairness— and unavoidability— of your policy. Having signage may help to avoid extra conversations as well.
Be transparent about changes, challenges and delays
If your customers don’t know the rules — or the reasoning behind them — they’re less likely to follow those rules. To cut out annoying surprises, use complete honesty and transparency with customers before they come into your store. This rule also goes for any potential delays or supply chain shortages you may be experiencing.
Train employees to be helpful and answer questions
Customers are still adjusting to the realities of post-pandemic retail shopping trips. To minimize anxiety, designate some employees to help shoppers navigate your store, in addition to posting clear signage throughout the premises. Businesses should also tell customers how to best share their questions and concerns.
Set reasonable expectations
Even if your business has the resources to continue performing at the highest level, your vendors and suppliers may not have the same capacities. It’s important to be realistic about what’s possible and set customer expectations accordingly. It is better to under-promise and over-deliver than to inflate customer expectations and fall short. Here again, transparency helps!
Make it easy for customers to provide feedback
As the pandemic evolves, so must your business’s policies and procedures. Things may continue to change in the coming months, and while communicating these changes to your customers is essential, it’s equally critical to invite feedback.