“We’ve got to use care and compassion with our teams,” Petersen stressed. “I encourage you to be proactive and positive. The more you stay positive, help them with resources and information, it calms anxiety.
"You want to be truthful, honest and keep people in the loop. Tough decisions may be needed during this time, but the things you do now to build your team are going to help you come out of this stronger. How do we want to be perceived when this is over?”
Compassion and controlling the perception of your business is important when it comes to interacting with customers who are also apprehensive. Make the customer feel safe entrusting their vehicle by sharing pictures and videos on social media demonstrating the safety measures and sanitization practices implemented.
Making sure customers have access to communicate with members of the team in real time when they reach out with a question and calling consumers to proactively check in also conveys the message they are appreciated and cared for.
Customer needs are changing quickly in response to the pandemic, and businesses that hope to continue earning business need to proactively adapt to those new needs.
Listen to the customer to ensure their needs are understood and met. Offer valet and at-home services to add convenience and value to customers’ lives, and set realistic expectations for how long a vehicle may be in the shop.
“Continue marketing, but adapt your communication style to be more proactive and empathetic," Parres encouraged.
Parres also recommended updating the business page and profile with current hours, implementing a new cover photo that reflects current processes and which departments are open, and pinning an FAQ post.
Social media is an invaluable means of communicating with clients. Post videos showing sanitization practices and reminding customers the shop is open. Videos should primarily focus on brand awareness, safety and security, rather than a sales pitch.