Preparing for the Re-Start
Like you, I am not 100% sure when the emergency nature of the COVID-19 pandemic will be “over,” but I am certain it will end! Whether that is in 15 days, 30 days, or longer, we’ll have to wait and see.
Regardless of when this happens, we can and, should be, preparing ourselves and our businesses to emerge as the best organization we can possibly be so that we can get off to a fast start and thrive!
So, what are things that you can you be doing?
- Evaluate your situation: If your wash is still operating, make sure you are communicating all precautions and safety measures being taken, as well as any modifications to business hours, etc. Yelp and Google are offering COVID-19 Update feeds to keep your customers informed about any changes they need to know about. You may also need custom signage to communicate these safety precautions or instructions on-site. Stress the importance of vehicle sanitation – can you offer a day of free washes to first responders and medical professionals? If your business is temporarily closed, make sure to communicate with your customers and club members and ensure all of their billing questions and concerns are answered. Use this time to work on preventative maintenance at your facility and projects that have been on the back burner. Fine-tune your community outreach programs and get creative in ways you can give back. Stay “Top-Of-Mind” to your customers and community, so when you do re-open, they have not forgotten about you.
- Keep marketing: This WILL end at some point, and you need to be ahead of the curve when that shift starts to happen so that your business bounces back as quickly as possible. Here is a great excerpt from Harvard Business Review article that discusses this point, “Maintain marketing spending. This is not the time to cut advertising. It is well documented that brands that increase advertising during a recession, when competitors are cutting back, can improve market share and return on investment at lower cost than during good economic times.” Keep an active presence on social media: offer a fun contest to keep your customers engaged and post short messages about ways you’re improving the wash and looking forward to serving everyone again soon.
- Prepare for changes in processes: While no one can predict the future with certainty, it is likely that some of the adaptations we have made during this crisis will stick around, for a while or permanently. Whether that is emphasizing personal hygiene, having employees work remote, or having fewer meetings, conferences and trade shows, things will be different. Preparing for these new realities now can give you a jump on your competitors. Moving forward, you might want to keep hand sanitizing stations at the vacuum stalls, keep up with frequent sanitizing of pay station touch screens and other high-touch areas, embrace technology that will allow for more digital wash club enrollments and LPR, etc.
- Prepare your business to come out strong on the other side of this crisis. Start thinking about promotions you can launch when you re-open to regain any lost members and capture new customers. Use this time to update your website, clean up the facility, take photos, create video content, plan for charity wash season, write relevant blogs and FAQs, recruit top talent, and polish up your business goals so you can hit the ground running.
Regardless of what you decide to do for your business, FCS is open and here for you. Like you, we are adapting to working remotely, following the restrictions and adjusting.
We are all in this together and I am confident that we can emerge from this better, stronger and smarter than before.