Remember when you carefully crafted those initial emails to your customer base regarding your COVID-19 response? It feels like a lifetime ago, doesn't it? Now, you've moved to notifying your customers about all the amazing policies and procedures you will implement to keep them safe as you’re open. These plans are all well and good, but you've got to make sure you walk the talk right off the bat.
If that sounds daunting, it's because, frankly, it is. This is uncharted territory for all of us. Lives are at stake. The world has changed, and you and your business must change with it right now. We won't have multiple chances to get this right. However, there's no need to fret: as long as you follow a few key guidelines, your business will live up to its promises and you'll retain your customers' trust. Let's go over a few tips.
Streamline best practices from the top down. All your employees—especially those who are customer-facing—must wear their masks correctly. As a supervisor or owner, you must lead by example and always wear a mask and gloves where applicable. This is especially true in the hospitality/restaurant industry. People are often choosing you now based on your published promises (like, every hotel website, everywhere). Make sure you keep them.
Make sure your mask always covers your nose and mouth. I’ve already seen a few food workers with their noses out. I get it, we all need to breath, but we all need to stay alive too. Sure, the mask might be uncomfortable, but trust me, a ventilator will be far worse. Here is a comprehensive guide from the CDC on mask wearing. Make sure your employees have access to a supply of clean or disposable masks so there's no excuse.
Avoid references to "business as usual." Even though life moves forward, there is nothing "normal" about this moment in history. Customers only want to use your services if they know you're taking precautions seriously, and being consistent. You can honor the moment we are in, and your customers, by showing you care and are going to go the extra mile for safety. It’s a matter of life and death, and you should treat it that way.
Remember that anyone can post to social media at any time. If any advertised COVID-19 precaution falls through the cracks in your business, it only takes one photo to create a PR debacle. And trust me, they will be coming. This is especially true in the hospitality/restaurant industry. People are often choosing you now based on your promises. Make sure you keep them. Anyone can snap a photo and post it in a Google review, or tag your business on social media. Avoid this by enforcing consistency in all corners of your business.
Margot Black is the driving force behind award-winning boutique agency Black Ink PR. With more than 20 years experience in travel, tourism, entertainment and fashion PR, her savvy hands-on multi-platform approach to each campaign, ensures real results every time. Find out more at blackinkpr.com