Reopening your business means, first of all, taking concrete action to make sure that, once your doors are open, your workplace is a safe environment for both your employees and customers. Alongside putting in place concrete measures to ensure cleanliness, hygiene and social distancing in accordance with government guidelines, it is equally important to communicate to your customers how are you planning to do so.
Creating a re-opening plan in the form of personal letters to customers is, therefore, a great way to inform and reassure your customers about the actions you have taken, the measures you have put in place and the initiatives you are supporting to keep everyone safe and supported during the reopening. If developed properly, re-opening plans are incredibly powerful tools that can restore customer confidence and boost loyalty towards your business.
Here are a few things you should consider whilst developing a reopening plan:
1. Develop it as an open letter
- - A reopening plan works better if developed in the form of an open letter to customers, where you use a conversational tone to speak about your approach to the reopening.
- - If possible, try to write the letter using the first person, as this makes it more personal and creates a stronger connection with the reader. The best option would be to have the letter signed by the owner of the business or by any relevant senior staff.
2. Explain your approach to reopening
- - Start by mentioning how the situation has impacted your activity, giving detailed information on how your service has changed in light of safety measures.
- - Address any significant change in your operations, such as opening hours, available services, and how you keep adapting to the situation as restrictions will ease.
3. Show your our commitment to care
- - Speak about how you are ensuring the safety of customers and employees. Mention every significant step you are taking to keep everyone who visits your store safe and the ways in which your store looks different.
- - Tell your customers how they can contribute to keeping the environment safe and what concrete actions they can take to reduce the risk of infection.
- - Mention how you look into available data such as local cases, short- and long‑term trends and guidelines from the government to keep adapting to the situation.
4. Show empathy and understanding
- - When developing the letter, don't forget to show empathy and understanding towards your customers, addressing how changes in your operations or services may cause inconvenience.
- - Address the need of those who don't feel ready to come to the store, mentioning possible alternatives, such as online shopping, outdoor pickup and drop-off service and contact-free delivery.
- - Thank your customers to keep supporting your business and acknowledge their efforts to support your activity and make the place safer for everyone.
5. Highlight the positives
- - Stress how changes in your operations have made the experience better for customers. For example, with a reduced capacity, there might be more room for everyone to move around your store. You could also highlight how your service is now more 'one-to-one' and personalised, addressing the specific needs of everyone.
6. Reinforce a sense of community
- - Show how you care for the local community, mentioning charitable initiatives, support actions and any other relevant activities you are promoting.
- - Mention how the pandemic has reinforced faith in people and how it has strengthened your values.
7. Make the plan visible
- - Once you have developed your plan, think about how you will make it visible to customers. Re-opening statements are typically included in a dedicated section of your website. The section should be easily found from the homepage and ideally linked from your business status page or notice banner.
- - Consider to include the letter in your customer e-mail updates and newsletters. You could, for example, provide a scheduled series of updates to your customers.
Examples of Re-Opening Safely Plans: