With COVID-19 business closures reaching further into the future, it is a good time to start working on how to get customers back into your business, once you are reopened; while simultaneously working on the best way to manage the changes brought about by the lockdowns.
Now is the time to build plans. A few weeks ago, we introduced BARCS, or the Business Administration Response Coordination System, and discussed how, regardless of whether or not you use BARCS, we strongly encourage everyone to build plans for today, tomorrow, next week, the week after next week, next month, and so on. Planning is essential, and while it can feel like the process is getting in the way of action, trust in the process. Those that react without planning may move more quickly, but they risk loss in inefficiency, counter productivity, miscommunication, and misunderstanding.
BARCS is designed to help manage this change and adapt to the constantly changing environment around you. The planning tool for a sustained incident like the COVID-19 quarantine would be a modified version of the Planning “P” (illustrated below). Our version of this tool is designed to work on a flexible scale, in a rapid time period, and can facilitate the generation of a “what, when, why, and how” plan. This plan takes S.M.A.R.T. objectives (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely) and walks you through the process of getting the staff on the same page, taking objectives and breaking them down into tasks, and evaluating the next steps. If you don’t take anything else from this post, that’s okay, just remember that planning is key, or as the expression goes – proper prior planning prevents poor performance.
We are not directly addressing what we suggest your response to this continued quarantine should be, nor are we addressing what you should be doing to get people back in the door, primarily because the tools and plans you use need to be unique to you and your company. Does your plan involve an SBA loan? Will your SBA loan be forgiven? Have you maintained your staff? Do you need to rehire? Do you have a product surplus? There are so many variables that come into play when managing a company level response that there is really no off-the-shelf solution. Rather, the best plan is to manage the change that this will bring with proper planning. Those companies that lean into the change with thought-out strategies will be the ones that are most prepared to manage the new normal.
What should you be planning for? Here are some suggestions of things that we would consider:
- Current Customer Journey Map– With so many of us now working from home, how are you going to keep a positive relationship with your customer base? Is e-mail a good tool for you and your customers? Or is there another way that you can connect that continues to foster the relationship and sales?
- The Next Customer Journey Map– What has this quarantine taught you about your physical customer interaction practices? Have you thought about the new awareness of social distancing and disease transmission and how that might impact a small retail space or cafe?
- Customer Connection– If the quarantine has shown nothing else, it has highlighted how good some of the tools available demonstrate the ease of use and efficacy for keeping the customer connection alive. Take a look at the tools out there and determine the best way to build these into the “temporary now”, as well for whatever the “new normal” holds. Virtual tastings, as an example, could be the wave of the future.
We (unfortunately) do not have a crystal ball, but with powerful and rapid planning tools it can look like you have one.
As always during these trying times, if you need help with business planning, winery planning, vineyard planning, customer experience mapping, BARCS, virtual tastings, or anything else, we are here to help you make it work because, without you, we wouldn’t be here.