As you all probably know, Monday, May 4th was an important date for all street-front retailers. Indeed, it is on this date that businesses that are not located in a shopping center were able to make their official reopening (except for Montreal, which will be on May 19).
That’s great news! It gives hope that a return to normal life is just around the corner. It also takes a lot of pressure off all the people who are experiencing anxiety related to the economy right now. Even if, as we know, we’re not out of the woods, it’s still a little balm in these difficult times.
Some find retailers fortunate to be able to reopen their doors before other businesses, but it won’t be an easy task! They have to adapt to the new reality of strict health rules in an environment that is difficult to control. And even if you want to start the wheel again as quickly as possible, it is, unfortunately, difficult to accept many customers at the same time in a store where space is sometimes limited.
So we decided to lend a hand to all our retailer friends by offering ideas for strategies to put in place to facilitate their return to this new reality never experienced before. It’s our gift to you!
1. Manage in-store visits by making appointments
As mentioned before, life does not necessarily return to the way it was before, as if nothing had ever happened. In fact, people will be able to go to the stores, but you have to manage the comings and goings of your customers as much as possible to avoid having too many people at the same time in a closed area, which is your store. This creates queues to enter which can often create frustration and dissatisfaction among your customers as the wait can sometimes be long.
This is why a simple and effective solution is to offer people who have a very specific need to make an appointment in advance with one of your in-store advisors via a Web form. Some will need advice for a specific purchase, others will need to make a return or exchange, in short, most people who visit your store will have a specific reason to do so, so why not take the opportunity to manage these requests automatically?
This solution will allow you to better predict which employees to bring in each day, according to customer requests, to better manage your inventory and not create frustration due to waiting outside the store, when the maximum number of people is reached inside the store. It’s part of the customer experience and it’s by managing these frustrations effectively that your customers will be satisfied and will definitely return to shop with you.
In addition, by applying this solution, you will be able to get an overview of customer needs and keep track of all this. These traces, which are their contact information as well as the reason for their visit, can be very useful to you later on to recontact your customers and perhaps set up a retargeting, cross-selling or up-selling strategy, depending on your technological capabilities. In short, this is valuable information for taking action on the Web following their visit.
Customer experience is the key to customer satisfaction and you can make the most of it despite the situation by offering a tailor-made service to each of your visitors thanks to this solution. All it takes is web forms to make appointments and an email or SMS solution to confirm appointments and thank your customers after their visit or in-store purchase.
In fact, we would like to take this opportunity to announce that Dialog Insight has launched, this week, a free turnkey solution to help you better manage queues in your stores! It’s our way of doing our part in the community and helping our local businesses. We are working hard for you!
If you are interested in this solution, visit this page (lien vers page de destination RSVP) to learn more and contact our experts, they will be able to help you sort it out quickly.
2. Customer service requests management
As we said earlier, the customer experience is the key to customer satisfaction. And customer satisfaction means good customer service. Unfortunately, with the current situation, many companies have had to put their customer service departments on hold to focus their efforts and resources on core activities such as production or online sales, for example.
If this is the case for your company, a possible solution would be to manage your support request via an online form (yes, again!). The function of this form would be to sort and categorize each request. Then, forward it to the right people according to the client’s specific need afterward. This solution can be used for order management or ticketing as well. This allows you to set up a process that is easy for the customer to use and improve their experience with your company.
Why is that important?
Small gestures should not be neglected because they are the ones that make the difference. Nothing is the same anymore and consumers are now developing new habits that will stay with them for a long time (for the most part) and the choice of a particular brand is one of them. So don’t risk losing customers because you may never see them again. On the contrary, customers who are satisfied with their experience in these difficult times will be more likely to remain loyal after the crisis. Think about it!
3. Don’t neglect web strategies and digital communications
If we see a positive side to the crisis we’re currently experiencing, it’s that companies that weren’t on the web have, for the most part, woken up to the importance of having a presence there. Well, just because outlets are reopening doesn’t mean it’s time to abandon your digital strategy. On the contrary, the web is essential and most people who buy in stores have already done a web search before making their decision. It’s a very important part of the purchasing process and it’s important to be there to not be forgotten.
This makes it all the more important to have an integrated, multi-channel strategy. If you’re starting out on the web, focus on consolidating your first channels before embarking on a fully multi-channel strategy… take it one step at a time, you have to know how to walk before you can run! For example, you can work on your e-commerce and email strategy. Then, when you have satisfactory results and master these two channels, try to extend your reach with web push notifications for example!
For those who are already well established on the web, the integration of additional channels allows you to reach more people at different touchpoints. Just because one person opens all your emails doesn’t mean that everyone is like that. On the contrary, some may prefer to receive a shorter message by notification or a message directly to their phone. In short, reach out to your contacts where they are. Obviously, each communication is not necessarily made for all marketing channels. So you will have to adapt them according to the communication format while offering a constant experience through all the adopted channels.
Adapt your strategies
On the other hand, with the reopening of the physical stores, you will have to review your various digital strategies to adapt them to the new situation. Among other things, you should do an analysis of your results during COVID-19. Analyze your emails, your social media publications, your online sales, etc. Try to understand what worked well for you during the last 2 months as well as what did not work so well.
Also, do a comparison of your results before and during COVID-19 to review your alignments and be able to test more things. Then adapt your content. Start from what worked, but adapt it to today’s situation. Try to keep the same reassuring tone and language you used when your stores were still closed. If you choose to change your tone, the important thing is that the transition is smooth. Don’t go from a reassuring and friendly tone (during COVID) straight to a serious and corporate tone (post-COVID), do it naturally if you have to.
For businesses that simply stopped sending communications during their closure, you should immediately think about recovery strategies. Communications that explain your situation and interesting offers to get you off to a good start. It’s important to do it at your own pace. But don’t neglect the importance of having a clear recovery strategy for your digital communications primarily.
Review your automated marketing sequences
Also, you should review your automated marketing sequences that were put on hold during the lockdown. See which ones can come back to life and don’t forget to adapt your messages and offers to the new reality while continuing to reassure your customers. Of course, you will also have to do the same with the sequences that you set up specifically for COVID. And if you didn’t, it would be a good way to take repetitive tasks off your hands that are just as important for customer satisfaction. This is a great opportunity for you to get started!
Having a good global digital strategy allows you to stay in the minds of consumers, but most of all to boost your sales. And everyone knows that all sales are welcome right now! These strategies also promote customer engagement and satisfaction with your company, making them more likely to become loyal to your brand. That’s why, if you don’t already have a clear digital strategy, it’s time to start thinking seriously about it.
In conclusion, as you can see, these relationship marketing strategies are essential to a smooth recovery, both for you and for your customers and future customers. By the way, they are often forgotten, but forms are tools that can save you a lot of trouble, especially right now! They can simplify many processes and optimize your customer service by providing consistent service and seamless experience for your customers with your brand. Managing your flow of in-store visits or customer service requests will be greatly simplified and you will save a lot of time thanks to our tactics mentioned above. And these are just examples, but you can adapt them to many other situations! It’s up to you to let your imagination run wild.
Furthermore, don’t minimize the importance of regularly reviewing your various marketing tactics. So whether it’s your web strategy, your digital communications, or your automated scenarios (especially these days). It is important to question yourself and to base your reflection on your data, which are tangible.
The best part is that all the solutions mentioned in this article are sustainable. You will be able to continue to use them to simplify your processes, even after the return to normal life! Isn’t it beautiful?
You are not alone
We know, all these tasks seem to take a lot of time to set up. We understand that you already have a lot on your plate with the reopening, but don’t hesitate to ask for advice. This is a very challenging time for all of you and we are aware of that. Asking for help to review your strategies can take some of the pressure off and give you more time to think about it.
However, Dialog Insight can support you in many ways. Visit this page to see how we can help you with your various reopening tactics.
Nevertheless, we wish good luck to all retailers, we are with you and above all, as Auntie Gertrude would say, be careful!