HOW TO COPE WITH THE RESTRICTIONS THIS WINTER By Dr Lynda Shaw, neuroscientist, business psychologist…
The COVID-190 pandemic has ruined many businesses. With less foot traffic and shoppers fearing the outdoors, it’s become incredibly difficult for us to maintain our stores. Thankfully, more and more people are starting to get accustomed to life in a pandemic and they’re taking extra precautions when heading out. While this is a great sign for many stores, it’s still going to be difficult to return to our previous levels of business.
So what can you do to thrive during the COVID-19 pandemic? Can your business survive in the future? Should you restructure your store and try something different? There are probably a lot of questions on your mind as you reopen your store to the public, so here are a couple of tips that can help you thrive during these trying times.
Start stocking important items
If you own a store that sells a number of different items, don’t hesitate to start stocking up things such as face masks and hand sanitiser to add to your product list. While it can be difficult to source a reseller or manufacturer, it’s worth having these items in your store for a bit of extra income.
However, you shouldn’t just focus on selling these items either. In fact, many service businesses are stocking up on things such as masks and hand sanitiser for their customers and staff to actually use. For instance, if you place a bottle of hand sanitiser at the entrance to your store or restaurant, you’ll inspire confidence and give your patrons peace of mind. Similarly, it’s important to protect your staff by taking hygiene seriously and offering them masks, hand sanitiser and wipes to clean the store with. With a good stock of these items, you can ensure that your store stays clean, hygienic and free from the virus.
Educate and support your staff
It’s also important to start educating your staff on the best practices to adopt in your business. For example, they should be more vigilant about who they let into the store if you have rules set up around wearing masks. They should maintain social distancing when possible to make customers feel more comfortable.
An important aspect that you also need to cover is how to respond to unruly customers that reject the rules of your business. If someone refuses to wear a mask or is aggressive against other customers, your staff needs to be prepared to confront them and ask them to leave. To support this, make sure you make your signage clear around your store. If possible, place a member of staff at the entrance to ensure everyone that enters has a mask. You can also give out face masks, or masks branded with your logo for a bit of free advertising. Your staff can also wear these masks as part of their uniform or to show that they work at the store.
Your staff are an integral part of your business and their happiness and comfort in the workplace are going to make a huge difference in the quality of your service. Make sure you don’t neglect this by educating and supporting your staff at all times. If they’re feeling uncomfortable about certain aspects of running your store during the pandemic, then don’t punish them. Instead, comfort them and address their concerns courteously.
Show your customers that you care
Lastly, it’s important to show your customers that you care about their well-being. You can do this a number of different ways but it greatly depends on the type of business that you operate. For example, if your business is a salon then you’ll want your staff to wear masks at all times and to provide a mask for your clients if necessary. You may also want to purchase face guards for your staff if it helps your clients feel more comfortable.
If you have a business that sells electronic devices, it’s important to remind your customers that you clean the devices on a regular basis. This gives your customers peace of mind knowing they can pick up, touch and try out those electronic devices. You should also be using screen guards that protect against droplets being spread around. These can be placed between self-service checkouts, to separate customers or even to protect your staff. Don’t forget that it’s also important to display signage around the store that reminds your customers of your commitment to their safety. Reassuring your customers makes a huge positive impact and helps your staff feel more comfortable in your store.