This article first appeared in the North Wales Daily Post business section.
As the nation navigates through exiting lockdown, businesses that require close contact with clients or have communal equipment will have to work harder than most to bounce back.
Gyms, personal trainers, Pilates and yoga instructors and physiotherapists are just some examples of companies in the sports and fitness sector that have felt the impact of COVID-19.
However, the biggest challenge could be on the horizon. As the government’s financial support comes to an end and the UK is declared ‘open’ again, how will the public feel about touching gym apparatus handled by multiple other members? Or visiting a chiropractor?
Frequent, clear and effective communication will provide much-needed extra reassurance to put their mind at ease knowing you have their health as the number one priority.
Understand the most common concerns facing your clients. Send an email survey to your customers, phone a wide-ranging selection and review wider industry market research.
Tackling the priority issues will help build immediate trust. It also shows that you have taken the time to understand their queries and are doing everything you can.
Publish changes made to your operations prominently on your website’s home page as well as in key sections including member sign-in and service information. Share across your social media and any other owned communication channel such as email and print newsletter.
Create content in a variety of formats that are widely-engaged with by your audiences. One piece of information, for example the client journey when they arrive for their appointment through to leaving your premises, can be communicated via a blog post, short video and a visual graphic.
Consider writing a press release about how your business has adapted to the coronavirus. The media value positive stories and securing editorial of your success could also encourage new enquiries.
Paid social media is another tactic that can help place your key messages in front of current and potential clients.
Once your doors are open again, request regular feedback to double-check there are no further amendments you can introduce. Share updates as and when to illustrate this is an on-going process and you are taking all matters seriously.
Repurpose any positive feedback, with permission, to enhance your position as a company that cares about its customers’ health. Third party endorsements from existing members adds credibility to your story.