As businesses across the UK re-open it’s likely that as a business owner or manager you have already undertaken measures to ensure social-distancing as well as ensuring you meet new government guidelines in response to COVID-19.
As we settle into the post-COVID “new normal” there is also a great opportunity to rethink how you interact with customers and employees. Not only ensuring the safety of the people you work with but building the resilience of your business and increasing orders.
If you’ve emerged from lockdown and your business has survived, congratulations. However, instead of simply introducing the minimum requirements, have you thought about how your business could work more efficiently? As staff return to the office and workshop, are there ways you could maintain flexible working for them and save your business money? Could new ways of working mean you take more orders? Perhaps most importantly, could your business survive further lockdowns?
Here are a few tips to build a resilient business and ensure your organisation doesn’t just survive during this time, but thrives:
1. Capitalise on a surge in the home-improvement sector
Home brands Furniture Village, CarpetRight, Ikea and others saw a surge of over 100% in searches during lockdown (Source: Internet retailing). House-selling website Rightmove reported its busiest day in its history in May 2020. This suggests that while people have been spending more time in their homes, they’ve also been thinking about how they can improve them. So while your initial reaction during this uncertain time may be to cut costs and save money, using budget to advertise your company could offer a fantastic return on investment.
2. Options, options, options
Opinions on how much ‘normal’ we should be returning to are hugely varied among the general public at the moment. The best way to deal with this? Give potential customers options. Your show room might be open – which is great for those who feel confident enough to visit – but for those who don’t, give them the option to get a quote remotely. With our packages, customers can send you measurements of their current windows and doors by email or tell you them by phone. You can then take advantage of our powerful, flexible and fully parametric drawing board to design everything from sliding sash windows to timber bifolding doors, giving your customer a clear idea of what to expect without asking them to leave their home. The system also includes ironmongery picking lists and the ability to list other none-standard items too – so why not then set up a video call to talk through these options with your customers?
3. Enable staff to keep the perks of lockdown
While no-one is pleased with the current situation, it’s also been reported that only 9% of Britons want life to return to ‘normal’. Are your staff among them? No commute, more time with the kids, a chance to rekindle hobbies; the perks of flexible working have never been more evident. Happy staff are more productive, work ‘smarter’ and make more sales but for small business owners it can be difficult to find ways to allow for this as you look to rebuild a successful enterprise. Our ‘integrateCRM’ system enables remote working without sacrificing efficiency or risking personal data breaches. Whatever your office staff need to respond to enquiries, follow up orders or produce quotes they can access everything, from anywhere all within a safe, protected system. So you don’t need to worry about staff members taking paperwork home or enquiries getting misplaced and they can get through more enquiries during their working day.
4. Give potential customers a gentle reminder
If you’ve had enquiries which haven’t converted into sales, now is the time to contact them. This doesn’t need to feel ‘tacky’ or ‘gimmicky’ – letting them know you’re back in business is a genuine reason to contact them. If you have additional information such as lead-in times, new options or opening times then include this on your email or letter too. You can easily identify outstanding enquiries with our ‘integrateCRM’ system – making this personal and authentic marketing method quick and easy too.
5. Be ready for another lockdown
While we all hope the worst is over, until we have a vaccine talks of local lockdowns and second waves will be ever-present. Could your business survive another quarantine? While joiners and installers cannot work remotely, with our software, your office staff can. ‘integratePRO’ even enables you to track production so if part of your team are at home and others are on site you don’t need people going between the two to monitor progress. Office staff can review progress for customers from their kitchen table! Our customers have loved using the software for stock forecasting and usage over the last three months – allowing them to work with suppliers effectively without the need for a manual stock take.