Updated: Sep 15, 2020
The Association for Business Psychology recently asked me to share insights and recommendations as retailers navigate the process of reopening in the face of fluctuating COVID-19 rates, safety concerns, and apprehensive customers.
Retailers can establish a stable business foundation by continuously focusing on the health of their customer relationships, especially in times of rapid change. As with any relationship, this means putting in the time and effort to understand needs, demonstrate empathy, and build trust with each engagement. When customers sense that a retailer "gets" them, respects them, and meets their needs, they reward them with their business.
Trust lies at the heart of healthy relationships, and consumer trust is the foundation for every brand, from Purell to Prada. As with any relationship, broken trust between brands (retailers) and their consumers must be repaired to keep the connection intact. Over several months, fears of contagion and extended closures have undermined consumers’ trust in retailers at a very basic level. Though not their fault, the burden of repairing this breach of trust lies with retailers. The actions they take now will impact customers’ perceptions for years to come. As shops and restaurants welcome customers back, here are a few suggestions for restoring trust and rebuilding customer relationships.
Reopening will likely be a challenging process that unfolds over the next several weeks or months. Check out the article to see practical ways retailers can successfully welcome customers back by showcasing their empathy and understanding as we all grapple with the new normal.