As you prepare to get back to business, your operations are not the only thing requiring focus and change. You should update mindsets -- your clients' and your staff'. You need a Re-opening Playbook, to outline the vital steps to re-engage with your customers and to lock in again with your employees.
During the COVID-19 crisis, many people have experienced a great deal of change and stress. Mental health professionals explain that the reduction of freedom, normalcy, and the world as we knew it, was like the loss of a loved one. There is grief.
Today your clients and employees are likely at a state of anxiety and will be for some time. You need to recognise this. Help them transition out of that mindset and help them get excited about re-engaging with your business.
So, we’ve put together the below “Re-opening Playbook.”
The right timing and strategy will vary by company since decisions ought to be based on a true understanding of, and empathy for your specific customers and employees. Unpack these insights and make sure the correct tone and manner, are cues you have taken based on your customer, not others.
Set up methods to collect their input and feedback on an ongoing basis, and sense exactly what they need and want through the stages of re-opening. Involve them in the development of your opening plan.
Segment and Prioritise
Different people will experience different emotions, so you should plan specific engagement strategies for every individual segment of your customer base and employees. Start by differentiating between your core clients and employees who've been working, the emergency vs. furloughed/laid-off employees, and lapsed customers who have been away from your organisation in the interim vs. new employees and customers who you seek to attract.
Fuse brand and culture.
Develop and leverage the alignment and integration of your external brand identity and your inner organisational culture. Ground your brand and culture in an overarching purpose, that identifies your core values, beliefs and opinions for your organisation, and use this to keep you on track with your reopening plan. This will keep you honest.
If your brand has kept its appeal in the market, use it to inspire and motivate employees by reminding them of the resilience and the value that you created for customers. If your employees have rallied together throughout the crisis and are more unified than previously, celebrate this, never lose this, remind them of what they have been through and have overcome.
Getting back to business is probably going to take a while -- However, as you move throughout the Re-opening Playbook, stress will give way to enthusiasm, uncertainty to stability, and recovery to growth.