Open for socially distanced business!

We have been living and working with the challenges of essential safety measures to reduce the spread of Coronovirus for couple of months now. Last week the Government set out its roadmap for rebuilding and resetting life in the UK. For many businesses who temporarily closed or reduced productivity, this means they can now reopen or prepare to reopen following social distancing guidelines.

What strategies can now be adopted to ensure clear communication with customers?

Socially distanced environments.

We are all readying our working environments be it a shop, showroom, factory or office, for the return of staff and customers. Carrying out risk assessments and working out the safest way to operate our businesses ensuring we are following the 2 metre rule, which in many cases means limiting numbers, establishing one-way systems, erecting guidance signage and screens to separate tills and desks, and providing staff with PPE where needed. Not forgetting that staff and customers still need to follow the hand washing guidance along with the new Government advice that people should aim to wear a face covering in enclosed spaces, where social distancing is not always possible, such as public transport and in some shops [People are recommended to source non-medical face coverings to avoid impacting NHS supplies].

As businesses scramble to ready their workplaces and follow government guidance, it’s also important to consider how to communicate what is happening to your customers new and existing, before they return to your shop, store, or showroom.

Building customer confidence.

Whatever measures your business has taken or is taking, you will need to clearly communicate this with your customers. Customers whether consumers coming into a store or showroom, or other businesses using the services you provide, will want reassurance. The best way is to be transparent in your customer communications. Customers can empathize and help support companies facing difficulties as long as the communications are honest and transparent.

Re-visiting your business plan to re-look at how you can operate your business under social distancing rules is a big challenge, but it’s essential when getting ready to re-open that you clearly communicate your new way of operating directly to your customers. They’ll need to feel reassured that it is safe to visit and buy from you and that you are operating in the most ethical way. Businesses need to think about communicating and acting with compassion, while customers re-build their confidence around mixing with strangers again particularly in enclosed spaces.

It is all about gaining customers trust so you’ll need to demonstrate in your communication to customers that you are committed to providing a safe environment for both staff and customers. There is likely to be a fear around entering enclosed spaces such as shops and offices, for a while after lockdown measures ease, for both customers and employees.

Communicate directly with your customers.

Before you draft a message to go out to your customers it would be wise to consider whether your customer profile has changed during lockdown. You may still have a core loyal customer base who will return if you are a shop providing their favourite brand, however if your business has adapted or innovated during the lockdown, you may find you have an entirely new customer base to reach out to.  For example; have you had more customers buy from your online shop, established an online shop or have you set up a new click and collect service? With limits on numbers in stores or restaurants coupled with the initial nervousness of customers returning, you may find a proportion of customers continue using takeaway or online services. You may also find that the customers that turned to you while in isolation weren’t previously your customers, so you have a whole new group to communicate with.

With a plan ready for your business and a clear outline of both the measures you are taking and who your customers are, focus moves to how to communicate your message directly to your customers.

There seems to be a natural assumption that email might be the best way to contact customers, which has its merits when communicating to an existing loyal customer list if your business has this data. However if you don’t have the customer data and are emailing to a cold list you may find you get stuck in peoples spam filters and classified as unsolicited junk. Direct mail can deliver you better results.

 

bitmap1Mail is trusted: 70% saying it creates a better impression than email.1

bitmap1Mail is remembered: 49% more memory recall than email.2

bitmap1Mail delivers: 37% went on to buy after receiving DM.3

If you are a local business wanting to make your local area aware of your products or services, then doordrops or direct mail could be a more effective means of marketing for you. Local press ads or radio advertising can be more costly and not reach every household you wish to target.

With smart targeting direct mail can get your message directly into the hands of your prospects, unlike any other media. Receipt of physical items are more trusted, believable and more likely to promote action and now more than ever we look forward to the flutter of the letterbox with mail arriving.

And if data is a concern the Partially Addressed solution from the Royal Mail, allows you to target households based on postcode, using geo-demographics for accurate targeting without using personal details.

Open for business.

With Royal Mail's Covid-19 Open for Business Incentive offer (crucially offering postage credits to customers), making direct mail even more cost effective, perhaps now is a great time to add direct mail to your marketing strategy to communicate your new normal to your customers new and old.

If you'd like to find our more about how direct mail could help market your business, or need a little more info and help on the Royal Mail's Covid-19 Open for Business Incentive application, please get in touch with one of our team on the usual number 01284 718 900.

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