Today, many more business types can open up their doors to customers for the first time in a while. It is vital that not only is your business ‘covid secure’ i.e. a safe place to work in, visit & do business with, but also that you have communicated your measures clearly with your customers – created a Covid Statement for your website, booking sites, shop etc.
There are Government guidelines about how to work safely in a whole variety of different workplaces. Stay up to date here [link to guidance].
The purpose of a good Covid Statement and communications with your customers is to give them a quick and comprehensive understanding about how much care you are taking of them in your business. Like a good access statement, it is a clear communication with your customers so that they can make up their own mind about whether they feel confident to visit you, shop with you or do business with you. It is also vital that you have clear communications that can be picked up by Google enabling your business to provide the answers users are looking for now.
Remember, you Covid Statement is just about your business. There will be common threads for you all e.g. social distancing, but the way you manage that will be unique to your business. If you’re not sure, share your ideas and plans with your Member’s Club community in the Slack space or in our Facebook Group to get feedback.
- Stay up to date. Make sure that you’re up to date with the latest Government Guidelines always. Perform regular risk assessments based on guidelines as they change, write them down and log them with a date & signature. A Risk Assessment should always include:
- Identify potential hazards in your business. List them
- List who might be effected by such hazards including employees, contractors, customers, you. Highlight who is most at risk.
- Propose solutions about how you can mitigate those risks starting with the highest risk first. This should include both physical steps you might take & how you would communicate how people can take care themselves.
- Write down all your findings and a proposed date to re assess the risks. This might need to be more often if legislation & guidance is changing quickly.
- NOTE: if you have vulnerable people in your business or visiting your business, you may like to make a specific risk assessment for them.
- What to include. This will depend on your business. Some of your businesses may be more complex than others. It will depend only our building, services and customer base. However make sure you include the following key headings:
- Show you’re up to date. Reference that you have carried out Risk Assessments and that these are ongoing. Talk about how you’re staying in touch with latest advice, best practice and guidance.
- Gain some recognition. Many organisations, insurance companies & legal bodies are offering charter marks or certificates for their sector that shows you have taken a quick test or followed their sector specific guidelines. This might be a nice addition.
- Be clear about how social distancing will work.
- Clean hands procedure. Are you able to offer reassurance about how you wash your hands or how customers can?
- Modified purchasing. Are you able to offer modified payments like contactless or can you deliver products and services in a new flexible way.
- Operational changes. There may be part fo your business that has permanently changed. Be clear about why this has happened and how it will benefit your customers.
- Break down the information. Not everyone can, or wants to, read a full, detailed Covid Statement, so break down the key areas into posters, notices, images and videos for your business premises, van, social media, packaging or online shop. For example, you might have social distancing posters in your window and as an A board outside. You might have hand washing/sanitising stickers near your toilets or around food service. This means there are multiple, easy ways for your customers to understand the measures you’re taking.
- Keep your voice. What you need to remember is that your statement, communications and information about covid still needs to be in your brand voice. If you’re a cosy cafe with smiley faces & homemade cake, you won’t want to cover everything in intimidating yellow stripy tape or scary posters. Equally, don’t be too relaxed and laidback because no visible information may be even more worrying for some. Your tone needs to be professional but still be from you to help build relationships and trust for the long term. Again, a video of you going through the measures might have the biggest impact & help keep things personal.
- Make sure Google knows. Customers are now searching for safe places to enjoy a coffee or do business with someone. They’re looking for businesses that are keeping them safe. Make sure you’re using key words and phrases on your website. Maybe add your Covid Statement as a separate page that can be ranked and have its own meta title. Tag (Alt Tag) all your poster images so that Google can read them. Title any videos the same way.