Communicating Health and Safety Protocols to Your Customers: June 2020

During these unfamiliar times of COVID-19, vigilant consumers are seeking out businesses who go the extra mile to ensure the safety of their customers and staff. Since some of the steps such as increased cleaning, taken to ensure safety is behind the scenes, it’s important to communicate to your customers what steps you are taking in a variety of ways.

Help foster peace of mind by publicly sharing both the steps you are taking, and those you ask your visitors to take. This includes additional cleaning and sterilization you are undertaking, like disinfecting tables and chairs between use. It can also include reductions in capacity or restrictions on the amount of people allowed into a store at one time. If you require or encourage the use of masks or hand sanitizer upon arrival, let your customers know ahead of time and their visit will become that much smoother.

As Ontario makes its way into phase 2 of re-opening on a regionalized approach, it is becoming increasingly evident that the travel market will be entirely localized. Staying local, whether that be in your own town or neighbouring areas, will be promoted by the provincial government  in the upcoming months to help restart the heavily hit tourism sector. When people look to Ontario’s Highlands for a getaway, let’s do what we can to reassure them that their health and comfort is top of mind. In an increasingly competitive market, this is a good way to stand out from the crowd and show how important your customers are to you.

Share your safety protocols with your customers through these easy steps.

Post on Social Media

There is a lot of buzz on social media lately surrounding the move into phase 2. Some Ontarians are already counting down the minutes until they can sip a drink on a patio, visit a museum, or take a mini getaway to de-stress. Whether these customers are local or travelling from another part of the province, a great way to reassure them is by posting your safety protocols on social media.

An excellent example from a retail business in the region comes from Carousel, a children’s store in Carleton Place. Ahead of re-opening, they posted a list of their protocol, like hand sanitizer use, Plexiglas installation, and a maximum occupancy, and pinned that post to the top of their Facebook page. Even as they continue to post, this pinned post will be the first thing their customers will see upon visiting their page.

Other prime examples we’ve come across include patio re-opening guides from Michael’s Table  in Perth and Heather Lodge in Haliburton.

Update Your Website

When a potential customer is researching where to visit, they’re very likely to visit your website. Share an update on your website that can easily be found, either right on the home page or on a new COVID-19 page which you can link to in your menu. Whichever way you choose just make sure it’s easy to find!

Haliburton Sculpture Forest has re-opened with new safety protocols designed to keep their visitors safe. Not only did they communicate this on their social media, they also included a website update clearly displayed on their home page.

The experience at overnight accommodations will be entirely different than it was before. How will your customer check-in? Are common areas like restaurants and beaches open? Will there be regular housekeeping? What kind of cleaning between customers will be in place? Perhaps this list is a bit long for social media, so your website is the perfect place to display it. Grail Springs in Bancroft show their new travel protocol ahead of their re-opening this July via a pop-up on their home page.

In-Person Updates

Not everyone who walks through your door has seen your website or social pages, especially in the retail or restaurant industries. It’s a good idea to post a concise list of protocol in your business, particularly those that your customers are expected to follow, like using hand sanitizer and following directional arrows. Post a simple print-out on your front door so visitors can quickly review it before entering. Accommodators may find value in a printed version on display at the front desk, which customers can read while checking in. We’ve seen this checklist which was created by the local health unit. You can create your own simplified version in Microsoft Word with your logo and it will do the trick!

For maximum coverage we recommend you take all of the above steps to informing your customers about the steps you’re taking to make their experience both pleasant and safe.

Happy Wandering,

Sara Dunbrook
Digital Communications Specialist

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