For the past few months, businesses have had to find new ways of working. Many have had to close their main door and find a back door or even online ‘window’ to open to customers. If your business was brick and mortar, a restaurant, retail store, or beauty salon for example, you felt this in a big way. But even if your business was office-based or even already home-based, you were still impacted. As we head into various stages of reopening, it’s important to recognize that the word ‘REOPENING’ means different things to different people. It can mean physically opening your storefront again after being closed. Communities are now reopening parks and other recreational or social activities. Businesses are beginning to reopen offices so that employees working at home can renter the workplace. It can also mean just life reopening to a new normal.
As businesses begin reopening in a variety of new forms, now more than ever, communication is critical. Here are the ways that you can increase communication with your customers during this reopening phase.
Clear, Concise Reopening Communication OUT
Communication out to your customers is critical for several reasons. First, you want to remind your customers that you are here! You are open in new ways, how they can find you, what hours you are open. Second, you need to assure them that their safety is your #1 concern. Third, you need to communicate any new ways of working.
Email Customers Early & Often During Reopening
Before they start coming to you, be the first to start the conversation. That means communicating OUT to them. Email is one of the best ways to do this. Hopefully, you have an email list where you can do this. But if not, get started now! It’s never too late to begin and you can use an email list provider, such as MailChimp.com to get started for free. You can easily create landing pages through MailChimp where customers can opt in to receive emails. It’s simple to use their templates for free and start today!
Be sure to send out any and all information that you have, even if it’s not final. Be honest if you are working through the details as people appreciate that. But also ask for input if it helps you to make decisions. Set up a quick Google Form to gather customer concerns or preferences and link the form in your email. Then communicate OFTEN. Send any updates to customers as you have them. There really is no such thing these days as too much communication.
Website FAQs to include Reopening Information
If you have a website, create or update your FAQs to include any new information on hours of service and safety measures your business is taking to protect employees and customers. Then make sure to communicate that FAQ page out to your customers through emails, social media, or even QR codes on physical signs or on products.
If social media is one way that you communicate or promote your business, then be sure to send updates there as well. Include links to your website for FAQs or to an email sign-up Landing page.
Open Lines IN Before and After Reopening
While communicating proactively out to your customers is important, so is making sure you have lines open for customers to contact you. This can be through social media, email, live chats on your website, or with a LIVE person to answer phone calls, such as a Virtual Receptionist.
What Customers Need to Hear
As discussed earlier, reopening communities and businesses will vary across the board and depends on what stage your state, city, or community is at. It’s critical to be very open and honest with customers. Here are some general ideas about what to communicate.
- WHEN your business is reopening with specific dates for different phases (if you have them).
- HOW your business is reopening. This is your SAFETY information. Safety is your #1 concern – for both employees and customers. Be sure to communicate any and all safety measures the business is taking.
- WHAT is new and different about how customers will find your business or interact with your business.
For more information on what customers want to hear during this time, check out this article from Inc.com.
How to set up a Virtual Receptionist
A virtual receptionist is a live person that sits in a different location to answer your calls. They are live humans that care and can interact. They are not automated or recorded voices. This is especially important during this time when consumer concerns are at an all-time high.
Often a Virtual Receptionist a service that is an option with a Virtual Office package. They can answer your calls, transfer them to you, or take a message on your behalf. This live receptionist will handle customer calls with professionalism and responsiveness. High priority calls can be forwarded to you or messages can be taken. You get an online inbox with messages that you can review and prioritize.
You can give your Virtual Receptionist access to all of the FAQs related to your reopening so that they can more intimately address customer concerns. For new customers, this really helps to make the best First Impression! A virtual receptionist really adds a sophisticated and professional vibe to your business, and assures your clients that they are in the best hands.
Finally, with so many customer concerns, phones may be ringing more than typical. Having a Virtual Receptionist to answer this spike in calls, gives you more time to focus on high priorities – to focus on the reopening!
A live receptionist can make your business more professional and credible. We can help you catch potential clients and investors, and you won’t miss out on any important work. At Starthub, you have a dedicated inbound business phone number, where your personal calls and business calls won’t interfere.
Your business calls are just as important as the rest of your business.With a virtual receptionist to answer all of your calls, your clients will feel like they are a priority to you. You can rest assured that your virtual receptionist will add professionalisms and credibility to your business, which will be reflective of your hard work.