Are you getting ready to reopen? 5 things to look at while you prepare

We’ve all been on this long (long) weird pause. It’s given many of us time to plan, time to think, time to reassess our business offerings, marketing, and processes.
Our clients have sent us dozens of success stories over the past few weeks and months – and we’ve all learned a LOT as we’ve navigated them through new challenges, new methods, and a whole new way of thinking about business. Now, as we all face this brave new world, a few things are clear.

We are going to spend a lot of time waiting. Lines and shopper limits are now the “transitional normal.”

Online priority isn’t going away. See above – while we are having to wait in line to get into stores, online shoppers will be able to drive up and get curbside service. Miss that bus at your peril.

Just about every industry can (and will have to) innovate something, somewhere. The only businesses that can still do business as normal are those that were already low-touch, and ever we (us included) are having to innovate on how we do some things. Planning and a crystal ball are necessary.

So how do we make that transition easy? With New Brunswick already well into the reopening phase, we’ve guided our local clients successfully through the last few weeks and have some tactics to share:

1. Is your website ready for the new normal?

Easy fixes:

Review and update your SEO strategy to allow all clients to find you easily before advertising.

Make sure your e-Commerce process is as quick, convenient, and cheap as you can make it – the less overhead you have to pass on to your clients the better, and the easier the process is, the happier they’ll be.

All info that customers absolutely need (put yourself in their shoes) needs to be front and centre on first page, which means eliminating or moving less essential info rather than just adding to a cluttered content flow.

For the rest of the information and functionality on your page, ensure it only takes three clicks for customers to find everything you want them to see. If it’s not going to make you money, it can be back burnered for now. (For most sites we audit, this will mean a structural redesign or at least a redesign of menus and other UX standards.)

2. Is your marketing set up for your customers’ convenience?

Easy fixes:

Have you determined the audiences who make you the most money? They are the only people you need to be talking to. A cold audience will come, but right now, aim for the warm and hot.

Are you posting consistently on the social media platforms your audience uses most – with the message they want – at the times they’re online? KEY WORD IS CONSISTENTLY.

Are you working ahead on your calendar while you have some downtime so a) it isn’t a daily chore anymore and b) you can react quickly to changes? Then implement, measure, and react.

3. Are your processes streamlined for your customer’s convenience?

Easy fixes:

Simplify everything. Even more than you have to. Basically imagine your entire customer base is 4 years old on a sugar high and make it so simple they can’t mess it up and so pretty they keep looking.

Make sure your processes are made with both your staff and your customers in mind. A stressed out staff won’t give good service, and customers don’t have a ton of patience for disorganization these days.

4. Is all of your crucially important info posted front and centre?

Easy fix:

Make sure your procedures are in a pinned post on your Facebook page, in a highlight on Instagram, and in a special section above “the fold” on the landing page of your website. Add extra info to your e-commerce page and contact page for even better service!

5. Is your message consistent with the moment, and is it being practiced from acquisition to delivery?

Necessary fix:

Everyone is under stress. It’s natural. That being said, your job – especially if you are not an essential service – is to lessen the stress of customers, not add to it. If your marketing promises safe, friendly, convenient service, then make sure the experience matches the marketing.

Make sure your staff is on board with your policies and that they have the mental bandwidth to explain them patiently again and again. Each customer will have the same learning curve, and each staff member will need extra breaks (and possibly treats) to keep up their morale as they face an impatient lineup of customers who all think things should be easier for them.