The COVID-19 pandemic emphasized the importance of focusing on keeping customers safe and healthy while they spend time at your business. Although it’s crucial to do those things now, keeping customer health and safety in mind is an excellent business principle at any time. Here are some effective, practical ways to do that. Many of the suggestions relate to the coronavirus, but you could adapt them at other times, such as during flu season.
Use Clear Signage to Alert and Inform
Signs are simple additions to your business environment that help customers stay safe. For example, you might have some that tell people where to stand in the checkout queues to practice social distancing. Others might encourage people to get help from staff members instead of trying to reach items on high shelves themselves.
When giving visitors those gentle reminders, you’re showing them that customer health and safety genuinely matter. The signs suggest you’ve scrutinized the customer environment for things relating to safety, then provided relevant guidance for people to follow so they remain out of harm’s way.
Invest in Ongoing Staff Training
Your employees need health and safety education sessions regularly. Your workers play crucial roles in customer health and safety. It’s likely not sufficient to have them go to a single training session for a few hours every year and expect them to still remember what to do for the rest of the time. One excellent approach is to make training part of the employee experience, helping workers view the education as a perk.
Keep in mind that some of your processes may change, especially due to things like needing to do a deep-clean after a suspected coronavirus case. The evolving nature of that threat and others your business may face illustrates why it’s so valuable to make a permanent commitment to staff training. Doing this also allows you to mention the training when telling customers what you do to keep them safe.
Assign New Safety-Monitoring Roles to Employees
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, many stores adopted various new processes for everyone’s safety. Some tasked workers with wiping down carts and conveyor belts, while others put greeters at the door to help people feel welcome and encourage them to use hand sanitizer before entering. This approach shows individuals from the moment they arrive that keeping them healthy and safe is your aim.
Another benefit of giving workers specific duties concerning safety is that visitors won’t need to look far if they need to ask questions about the new processes or anything else related to your establishment. These are strange times for everyone, and having workers feature prominently in your business should help people feel reassured.
Ask for feedback from workers, too. They may notice some risks that didn’t cross your mind before or mention some things that make them feel at risk. Think of your processes as flexible and changing, not set in stone. Adjust them as required, especially as you learn from experience.
Stock up on Health and Safety Supplies
High-quality equipment and supplies help businesses operate safely while welcoming customers back. Hand sanitizer and face shields are some of the many things that protect your workers and customers during a pandemic. Consider getting branded personal protective equipment, too. It reminds people of your dedication to keeping the community safe.
Try to have at least one supplier you order from regularly, then several others as backups. Such products are in high demand now, and thinking ahead lets you avoid running low or out.
If the area where you operate instituted a rule about wearing masks indoors, consider having some disposable options to give out when needed. Most people should have their masks with them, but a few might forget them.
Explore Virtual Options to Complement the Physical Experience
The coronavirus caused many people to connect via teleconferencing apps rather than meet with loved ones or colleagues in person. Some even watched living room concerts or comedy routines through those methods to stay safe. You might also bring virtual elements to your physical business for the sake of safety.
If your business sells products that people typically want to try on — such as makeup or apparel — investigate how they could do that virtually through an app. A recent survey of women found that 80% feel unsafe trying on makeup, and 68% feel the same regarding clothes.
Those figures represented a slight uptick compared to earlier research from April 2020. Offering virtual solutions is probably not something you can roll out immediately, but it could be worth taking the time to make it happen.
Publish Videos Showing What Customers Can Expect
Many brands published blog posts breaking down what they did to keep their workers and customers safe. That’s a straightforward way to go about it, but you may want to go further by shooting a quick walk-through-style video of what your premises look like now that you’ve implemented new measures for enhanced health and safety.
It often helps if people can see the improvements in action rather than visualizing them after reading a few paragraphs about what’s different. When the public notices additions like plastic shields at the checkouts and plenty of hand sanitizer dispensers, they’ll conclude you take safety seriously and are worth receiving their business.
Offer Contactless Payment Options
Contactless payment methods keep your customers and staff members safe because they speed up the overall time required to perform a transaction while letting people avoid touching a keypad. Many banks and card providers set contactless limits, so people usually can’t choose that option for large purchases.
However, you could compensate for that restriction by offering people other choices. Could they register with an app you provide, then use that when buying something? If not, you might set up your system to let customers pay with a widely available option, such as Google Pay.
Establish Maximum Capacity Limits
Kroger, Best Buy and Walmart are among the well-known retailers that limit the number of people inside stores at one time. No matter what kind of business you operate, it’s smart to do the same to prevent overcrowding. Using people-counter software or hiring security guards can help you keep track of the situation.
Spend time ironing out the arrangements for people standing in line, too. Try to have them spaced out enough without blocking other businesses near you. Some companies also use virtual queuing systems. These allow a person to sign up via an app and get an alert when they can come inside.
Similarly to restricting how many people you allow at once, consider reserving hours dedicated to serving people who face higher-than-average health risks or are dealing with exceptional situations. Some categories may include health care workers, caregivers, older individuals and those with compromised immune systems.
Putting Safety at the Forefront Can Bring More Customers to Your Door
We’re living in a time when many people are far more concerned about health and safety than they once were. These tips will show them you’re doing everything you can to reduce risks at your business.