In a previous post I talked about 3 printing tips to help your business survive COVID-19. In a nutshell, the key to it is effective communication. From the moment your customers arrive at your door, they need to feel like they can safely can comfortably access your products and services. Today, I will share a simple technique to help you know what signage you need to build customer confidence. The technique is simple: look at your business through the eyes of your customers.
Your Regular Customers Need to Feel “Normal”
Meet Linus. He has been a customer at your shop for years. He continues to come back because your place is familiar to him. Consequently, he knows what to expect from your service and products. When he is in your shop he knows where to find what he needs, and he is used to paying the same way every time.
Now, imagine that you are Linus. If anything has changed since the pandemic, he will need to know without being surprised or disappointed by what he finds. Think about what he expects from his previous experiences, and prepare signage to alert him to change.
- Will fewer customers be allowed inside?
- Has there been a change in your services?
- Will he still find his favourite product or service? If not, will it be back? When? If so, has it changed?
- What new “rules” do you have in place?
- Have your hours changed?
- How can he access his favourite parts of your store and maintain social distancing?
- Will he line up for payment differently than he did before?
- If something is not available through the “normal” channel, is it offered another way? eg, take out, online, at a specific location
- Has anything changed in your return policy?
Pretend to be Linus (think of one of your best customers…it will help) and literally walk through your store or restaurant. Go through the process of finding the product and going through the checkout. Think about what questions he will have and note what signage he needs to see and understand. Plan to use a social distancing stop sign or “wait here” dot to let him know where you want him to stand now. Linus already knows that you have great products and services. He trusts you. Your job is to maintain that.
Welcoming New Customers
Meet Lucy. She is a new customer who has never been to your shop before. Unlike Linus, she has no previous experience of your services and doesn’t know what to expect. For her, the questions will be a bit different. In addition to all the questions Linus will have about how your business functions, to build customer confidence in Lucy you need her to see at a glance that your shop is a safe place for her to be.
- What are the points of contact in your shop and what have you done to ensure her safety?
- Is it safe to use your cart/or basket?
- Can she bring her own bags?
- Does she need to wear a mask?
- Can she have her leftovers wrapped up to take home?
- Do you have sanitizer available?
- How often are your washrooms cleaned?
- If you are allowing limited numbers into your store, how can you help Lucy find what she needs quickly?
- If she needs help or has a question, where can she get help?
Think about everything Lucy will see or not see. Linus comes to your shop often and knows you are great. You may get away with handwritten signage and simple tape markings on the floor for him. Lucy, on the other hand, will form her opinion of your business on what she sees. For her, professional signage and lines marking appropriate social distance on the floor will start to establish your reputation as a company who cares.
The New Normal
No doubt you are tired of hearing about this. But we all hope that the situation we find ourselves in will not go on forever. As COVID-19 (hopefully) passes, you will be able to expand your services back to “normal” levels. More than anything else, you need to communicate that to all of your customers. Use posters to announce when you will accept cash again, for instance. Temporary stickers can be used on plexiglass barriers to announce the reintroduction of favourite dishes or drinks. Window clings are a great way to let customers know about promotions.
The best thing you can do to build customer confidence is to put yourself in their shoes. See your business they way they see it. Communicate! Put signage everywhere to ensure that everyone knows what to expect or how things have changed. As thing move back to more normal service levels, announce each step as it happens. Give your customers something to look forward to and a reason to come back, often. And when another step has been taken, make sure they don’t miss out.