With the trying and uncertain times – I wanted to share a few comments and excellent ideas from our dealers. (I promised not to mention any of them so I could share it all – in detail!!)
Communicate. “We have been in communications with our staff hourly. We are also communicating with our customers and community. We see a lot of businesses putting up similar corona messaging to every other business with general template info and links. Necessary but we want to convey even further at a personal level. We are also making sure we are telling our customers we are open. We are here. Everyone’s safety and well-being are of utmost importance. (Adding there isn’t a surface or door handle or credit card PIN pad that doesn’t get scrubbed often!).”.
Expectations. “Our team is thin and we are doing what we can to help out team members as they adjust to changing conditions in their own personal lives. Childcare, schools – these things can flip daily routines upside down and it will take time to adjust. We are with them through this without hesitation. We are also making sure our customers know exactly what to expect and that we are doing what we can. That said, we are making sure the phone doesn’t go unanswered. We have put a couple people solely on making sure we that the phone is answered the first ring and the person has all they need to be as attentive and knowledgeable as possible on what we are doing as a business during these trying and uncertain times. We are also proactively calling all our customers waiting on products and communicating the latest. People have been pretty understanding.”.
It is what it is – and we are doing our part. “We have instructed our team to give people space. When customers come in – make sure they understand that all they have do is yell a question and we can answer! Make some noise and we will come – but not within personal space. We are also making sure customers know where the hand sanitizer pumps are – and when those run out where the sinks are so they can wash their hands! We are not making it a game or a joke as this is serious – but we are making sure the current situation is not awkward while being mutually beneficial.”.
We are doing different things to help. “Schools are closed here. Many families depend on those lunches. We are offering free bag lunches and bottled waters and juices to anyone that drives up. No need to get out of the car. Our team members are feeling really good that they are doing “more”. We are always wondering what we can do in trying times – this is working wonderfully for us.”.
Video! “We are giving our team the tools necessary so if a customer wants us to give them a virtual “show” of a product they can make it happen. It’s not pretty – but we are already seeing it in action. We subscribed to a Zoom meeting account and are using this if the customer doesn’t have FaceTime which is getting used the most. We have it on an iPad and sales team can hold it, show the product, and talk to the customer just as if they are right here in the store!”
Our website has all our in-stock products. “We envision that customers will be doing even more research online. We spent all last week making sure our website has our current items we have in the warehouse labeled as in-stock. We should have been doing this all along… – but we are now making sure that if a customer does come in, they know exactly what we have. No wasted trip.”
The no-sweat delivery! “We are implementing absolutes during our product delivery process and communications. First is the team. We ask each delivery team member if they are at all sick or been around someone that has. The tough part is it is also allergy season, and this always raises havoc anyway! But we are trying to see through this and make sure our team is completely healthy. We also encourage them to be honest and forthright when asked. If they are not 100% healthy – we will find something for them to do. There is always work. Next, it is long shirts, gloves – booties, and safety glasses, every delivery – no exceptions. We are also making sure each truck has ample hand sanitizer and if/when that runs out, soap and water and clean rags! When we schedule the delivery, we explain this process to the customer. We also ask if they are comfortable with this and letting the team in their house explaining with current uncertainties we are over communicating. We would love to ask the customer about their health… but staying away from that one for the time being. In our conversation If the customer has ANY concern, we work to make acceptable modifications. If we come to an impasse – we agree to leave the products in a suitable location or hold at our warehouse free of charge until we can facilitate a delivery acceptable to the climate at that time. We plan to review this process and procedure daily if need be.”
If you have any helpful suggestion or idea that you are trying in your store(s) and would like to share – please feel free to shoot me a note at email@example.com. As mentioned – I am NOT sharing who and where to hopefully gain as much insight as possible from our dealer community!
Patience. Tolerance. Constant adaptability and agile change. We are in this together!
Be safe and Retail On!