In my last article, “A Micro Approach to Stopping Covid-19 Killing Your Business”, we looked at three activities nearly every business can undertake to set themselves up for a successful Covid-19 re-opening.

I wanted to follow it up here, with some fantastic examples I’ve come across of businesses doing what I meant in this regard, because all come from everyday enterprises, across varied industries and all have one thing in common:

Their mindsets are about service because they all know cashflow comes from customers who trust them.

So, first up let’s recap those three activities nearly every business can use to transit out of lockdown:

  1. Regain consumer faith—Show that you’re COVIDsafe.
  2. Get an email address from every customer—but not for marketing.
  3. Put your reputation above everything.

Example 1—A restaurant

This long-standing Hungarian bistro very early on emailed its diners about a changeover from seated service to pick up. It was the first restaurant I came across doing this at a time when the big chains were still working out their strategies. And because I’d heard about it from a friend, it was a perfect example of what happens when a fan turns into an advocate—they spread the word. This restaurant used to fill its tables seven days a week across two sittings per night. Yet, it still had the foresight to ask for its customers’ email details over the years. It’s never too late to start, you should too.

Example 2—A specialty butcher

A week into the lockdown this well-frequented shop used its email list to inform clients of a genuine concern with staff safety. It cut straight to the point when it said: should one staff member fall ill, they’d have to close. So, tri-weekly emails followed directing customers firstly, to a pick up service and then to a full delivery setup—none of which were operational before the pandemic. Importantly, they weren’t shy while openly describing the logistical issues they faced. Guess what? Nobody viewed those emails as spam; this business continues to communicate by email and by Facebook as it plans a return to full in-shop service. It’s already telling customers of a soon-to-come brand new e-store too. A perfect example of trust-building by staying true to message, and one that will likely increase turnover.

Example 3—A toy and game shop

This niche establishment used both email and Facebook part way through the lockdown to also communicate a concern for staff wellbeing. When it announced a sudden changeover from in-store service to carpark pick up, it was already running a smooth international mail order. But its candour and humour ensured a continued face-to-face (or face-to car boot) relationship too. Last week, it announced the reopening of its retail store including clearly communicated customer protocols. Safety remains the key and it knows it’s ok to say so.

Example 4—A travel agency

This boutique firm used Facebook to communicate its team’s eagerness to serve clients while working from home. Its industry would have to be one of the hardest hit by this pandemic. Yet, while its competitors were still running TV ads showing travel shopfronts from another era, this agency was out speaking the truth that personalised service needn’t end though the journey ahead lay uncertain (which is kind of their speciality when you think about it, really).

Example 5—A health clinic

This specialist provider completely remodelled its practice with a wow-factor that initiated a one-way travel flow through its practice; it cordoned off individual seating zones by the chair and wore face masks during client payment interactions. No two clients could ever cross close paths while inside making visiting a truly impressive experience. Word soon got out.

Example 6—A small to medium-sized manufacturer

This recreational goods company had regularly communicated with its thousands of worldwide customers via a monthly email for years. Today, it announced a return to business coinciding with the re-opening of the Californian economy. Its communique told customers of the health status of its staff and of an impressive reconfiguration of its warehousing including a move to unique split-shifts, the opening of an almost 24-hour chat service from its premises, plus a full disclosure of its fulfilment expectations while adjusting to its new world. The amount of thought put into this refit was so fascinating to me, that it formed the catalyst for writing this follow-up piece.



Now, taking everything described above, can you see what’s in common?

That’s right. There’s not one suggestion of marketing, gimmickry or bull. Just sincere professional projections of concern for staff and customer care. You can do this too.

My advice, in addition to the PR I recommended in my prior article, is for you to also share your business’ pandemic-proofing stories on LinkedIn. As LinkedIn is pure B2B, I’m sure there are plenty of lessons many can learn from. And if you do, please cast aside any pressure you feel to sound super-polished—because LI isn’t Instagram!

Wishing you and your teams a safe re-opening and please stay alert. This pandemic isn’t over yet and despite the Dow going over 900 points positive-bananas yesterday, while Japan slipped into a deep recession—keep your wits about you. Things are not what they seem and very little right now is making sense.

© 2020 Adam Parker.

Picture credit: © 2020 Adam Parker.