As state restrictions are lifted, many businesses and organizations are wondering, “if we open the doors, will our patrons return?”
Whether we voice them or not, we all have opinions about the best way to reopen our communities, businesses, and organizations. Now is time to test your assumptions about your customers’ readiness to venture out by doing some customer discovery. Customer discovery will help you learn what customers expect and need from your organization as it resumes business. As you discover your customers’ needs and expectations, you and your employees can determine how to best address these and if they can be addressed in logistically and financially feasible ways. You can then use this information to guide you in the timing and ways you approach reopening.
For example, perhaps after talking with your customers, you discover that they majority of them aren’t ready to venture out. They have been happy with your delivery or take-out options, but would be more likely to purchase from you more frequently if your business communicated regular updates about current products and specials. So, you create a more reliable system to update your website and communicate with your customers. Then, you can observe if this approach works and adjust accordingly: do you see an increase in sales for delivery or take-out or do you notice your regular customers frequenting the business across the street that has opened its doors to patrons?
During the quarantine, many of us learned about new businesses or organizations because they were there for us in ways that are old standbys were not. Many of us discovered new loyalties, as we considered what we wanted our communities to look like on the other side of all this. How you, as a business or organization, build on these new or changed relationships will determine your success in this next phase. Continuing to have conversations to discover what’s important NOW to your customers; continuing to innovate in order to be responsive to customer needs, and continuing to communicate what your organization is doing and how you’re doing it—is the way to navigate the next phase in this pandemic journey.