We’re fast approaching the one-year mark since COVID-19 threw a wrench into all of our lives. Few of us expected things to go on for this long when the possibility of a pandemic first hit the public eye in early 2020 -- but now it seems like things are finally turning a corner. Last year saw a monumental global effort by leaders in the multiple medical industries to quickly create highly effective vaccines for COVID-19. And while vaccine distribution has hit some hurdles along the way, the U.S. is poised to deliver hundreds of millions of vaccines by summer’s end.
If your business hasn’t had its office reopening yet, this accelerated vaccine rollout may allow you, your employees, and your customers to re-enter those doors before long. Before you charge ahead at full speed, though, you’ll want to be prepared for the various customer questions, concerns, and complaints that are bound to land in your lap during this transition. Here are some steps you can take to make sure you’re able to successfully handle customer feedback when you finally reopen.
Don’t Diminish Your Disinfection and Cleaning EffortsAs effective as these approved COVID-19 vaccines may be, it’s important to note that they are not magical solutions that will suddenly send the virus into oblivion. For one thing, a significant chunk of Americans still aren’t thrilled about getting the vaccine at all, and many who do want immunization can’t currently receive their first dose due to various rollout restrictions. On top of that, researchers are still trying to determine whether vaccinated individuals are still capable of transmitting the illness to those without immunity. And, of course, no vaccine is 100% effective (though the best COVID-19 vaccines are historically effective -- up to 95%).
So, while this mass vaccination effort will greatly reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission, this novel disease will remain a threat for some time to come. As such, this is no time to become complacent with your cleaning and disinfection measures. You might hire disinfection services to perform a deep cleaning prior to reopening and retain them for routine disinfection during operating hours for the time being. If nothing else, you should retain a steady stock of COVID-19 supplies to keep your workplace as sanitary as possible for all staff and customers, so everyone feels safe and secure inside. By making a clear display of your commitment to customer and employee safety, you’ll reduce the amount of negative feedback you might receive from concerned individuals.
Prepare for Pushback
The COVID-19 pandemic has pushed plenty of people to their limits for one reason or the other. While some are highly concerned about contracting the disease itself, others are equally (or more) concerned about the various restrictions imposed by local, federal, and commercial mandates. When you reopen your business, you should expect some customers to complain about matters such as continued social distancing or mask-wearing protocols, especially as more and more people get vaccinated. Likewise, other customers might become frustrated or concerned with those around them who refuse to wear masks properly (or at all) and/or stand too close to them. Either way, you’ll need to devise a strategy for keeping everyone calm, safe, and confident in your business’ commitment to health and safety, which we’ll discuss next.
Make Your Messaging Clear
The best way to handle feedback related to reopening is to make your messaging clear from the very start. Before entering your business, every customer should know what’s expected of them, why these expectations are in place, and what you as a business owner are doing to keep everyone healthy and safe. You can express these things in a number of ways: you might place clear, concise signage outside your entrance and around your workplace regarding mask wearing, social distancing, hand sanitization/washing, etc.; create social media posts and update your website to inform readers about your policies and practices regarding COVID-19 (i.e. did you install an electrostatic air filter to maintain cleaner air inside your building, did you reorganize your store’s layout to optimize social distancing, etc.?); and train your employees to inform customers about these efforts, preparing them to answer any questions or complaints that come their way.
After the trainwreck that was 2020, your business cannot afford a reputational crisis, no matter what form it may take. By maximizing your business’ cleanliness and sanitation, arming yourself for questions and criticism, and clarifying your stances on customer expectations, building maintenance, and other COVID-19-related matters, you can handle customer feedback more productively while ensuring the ongoing health and safety of your employees and customers.
Need help solidifying your reopening strategy? Let The Budd Group provide you with the resources you need. We provide everything from facility management/support services, surface cleaning/disinfection, air filtration installation and repair, general maintenance, and so much more. To learn more about our services and values, give us a call today at 800-221-8158!