Getting ready to re-open your business? 4 tips for communicating with customers during the pandemic
Whether or not your business has physical doors to re-open, making sure that people know “We’re open!” is a big deal. You want to get back into a routine that works for both you and your customers.
Even as states and cities lift restrictions, this will continue to be a difficult and potentially even chaotic time for many people, including you and your employees or coworkers. You need to clearly communicate and ensure everyone understands how the business will function. So here are 4 tips for announcing the re-opening of a business while still being sensitive to the current situation.
Target your messages
You’re excited to get going again. We know it’s tempting to blast out your announcement text to recent leads and active customers. Especially if you’ve totally closed up shop for the past couple months, you probably want to shout it from the rooftops. (We’re excited for you too!)
That being said, we highly recommend that you segment who receives what announcement messages and the number of messages they receive. You will have greater success sending more personalized texts by respecting the needs of different audiences.
For example, leads who came in right before you closed should receive different messages than a group of current customers. Makes sense, right? Leads might not have any idea how things previously worked at the business, but a current customer has past experiences you can build on when explaining the re-opening.
Many other businesses will also start ramping up their communication again. (Hopefully you’ve already been staying in touch with customers, and now you can simply continue those conversations and check in again.) You want to stand out and avoid looking like one of the many. Targeted texts that really speak to each audience will serve you much better.
Schedule multiple informational messages
Just like you would with another big event or occasion, plan to text people more than once to make sure they understand when you’re opening and how things will work.
Things won’t be like “normal,” so make sure you’re providing information that answers these types of questions:
- What day will the opening take place?
- Will there be limited services provided or select products available?
- Are the operating hours different?
- Will you be limiting the number of customers allowed in at a given time?
- Should people expect waiting times?
- How will you help keep everyone safe — both customers and employees?
You know your customers best, of course, so brainstorm other frequently asked questions and write texts that preemptively address them. Or at the very least be ready with answers even if you don’t include that information in your announcement messages.
Your first couple messages can talk about the specifics of opening, and any other messages can help you follow up and send reminders. As needed, publish all of your re-opening information on a blog or social media platform and include a link in your texts to the full details.
Ask for feedback on what customers need most from you
Even before you know an exact opening date, ask for feedback and how to best serve your customers. Find out what they prioritize right now so that you can do the same.
Do they need specific products or a certain service? Are they trying to take particular health precautions still? Would it be useful to have specific operating hours just for vulnerable groups of people?
You can easily incorporate these requests for feedback into your early announcement messages. You’ll also help your customers feel heard and appreciated by referencing feedback and requests in later messages. For example, let customers know that you got a lot of feedback about the availability of a certain product so you’re preparing with extra stock.
Hopefully you’ve been in regular contact with at least some of your customers, so any texts asking about their needs should fit right along with your previous messages.
Be patient and kind
This should always be your goal, but now is the time to take it a step further. Thank people for their patience and support. Reassure them that you’re doing everything you can to serve them and fulfill their needs while still keeping your team safe.
If feasible for you and beneficial to customers, offer special deals or flexibility in payment. Communicate these offers in your announcement texts as well as on social media or via email. These efforts will not be forgotten.
And of course, reply to any messages as quickly, thoroughly, and kindly as possible. Now is the time to go above and beyond! People will remember your dedication to superb customer service for a long time.
No matter where your business is located, we hope you are able to open your doors soon. If you’re a Skipio user, don’t forget to check the Resource Center for other articles and campaigns about business texting and communicating with customers during and after the pandemic.