Someday this virus thing will be easier, then better and then over. I promise.
In the meantime, we can work on getting back in the game, and even creating some new approaches that make us better after this is done.
The first big note is that your community still needs new franchise owners entering the arena in spaces that have immediate demand. There are companies serving customers every day and their activity doesn’t stop due to stock markets or viruses. The larger portion of those brands at the moment are service oriented and core offerings. In time that will change and we will see food, gym, health and entertainment brands filling demand in communities across the country and around the globe.
Secondly, anyone already in the arena needs to get from where you are right now to open again and once open to work through whatever the opening process in your area is. Initially you may be limited on the number of customers you serve but you may have creative approaches you can use to add revenue.
Food operations have pick-up and delivery options. In our area the town is waiving sidewalk and parking lot license requirements to give restaurants more room outdoors to serve customers.
Retail can also do curbside and delivery. Also, use social media to give shoppers the visual experiences they would have had in person.
Salons can get creative in reformatting spaces, creating separation. Your customers have been anticipating your reopening!
Here is the big thing, the singular message your customers want to hear right now is how much you have missed them and what you will be doing to make sure they have a safe experience when they come back to you. You can never go too far overboard in making sure your customers, and employees, are safe.
I recently saw an amazing customer care post from a gym that is awaiting approval in their state for gyms to reopen. This franchise brand has been hard at work creating a safe experience for their clients and updating the facility to be ready when the time comes.
Their first step was to address the air and surfaces in the facility, to do that they are installing a Reme Halo system. This unit attaches to your existing HVAC system and cleans the air that passes through. But wait, there’s more! As it treated the air it adds a low dose disinfectant that will reportedly kill a virus in a sneeze before it travels 3 feet! And the air from the HVAC system now sanitizes everything it touches. While I would still have a strong sanitizing program, this is an added layer of protection.
For an opening salvo, that sounds like a winner!
For the customer experience they created a safe flow through the building to minimize time in close proximity. They leave the doors to the exercise space and lockers propped open to minimizes touches. They have cut back on the equipment in the room and will phase it back in when it is safe to do so. Hand sanitizer will be dosed out as you enter and leave. Masks are requested as you enter and leave, and the Halo system may protect in between. Staff will wear masks full time and a plexiglass divider has been installed in front of the receptionist. Staff will check everyone in. And I am sure there are steps I am overlooking.
Is all of that required? I am not sure I have heard of any state spelling it out that way. Is it smart? YES!
Telling that story over and over will assure their clients that they are leaving no stone unturned. Most clients will be cautious as they come back out into public and beyond the grocery store.
As you consider your opening, or reopening, look at your plan, what are you missing that you could add peace of mind for customers so that you get your revenue back as soon as possible?
Do a site evaluation: Walk in the front door like a customer, what do you touch? Who do you talk to? Where do you cross paths with others? Where do you share air?
If you are a service business, role play visiting a client’s home or business. Do you need a mask? Do you need to bring one for your customer? Do you need to make a display of gloves, wipes or spray sanitizer?
While we may go overboard with safety steps now it is so we can get back to normal as fast as possible.
There will be a day that we look back on this and try to hold on to the lessons learned. Until then go work the angles and find opportunity to thrive, not just survive.
Improvise, Adapt and overcome…
What will your success story be? Let’s go find it!
George Knauf is a highly sought after, trusted advisor to many of the top franchise ownership groups in the world. With over 25 years of experience in both start-up and mature business franchise operations he is uniquely qualified to advise individuals that have dreamed of Building their own empires. Whether you have an existing portfolio or searching for your first franchise, he can help you to pursue your dreams. Contact the Franchising USA Expert, George’s Hotline: 703-424-2980.