Hairdressers and barber shops were among the businesses to close their doors on March 23rd 2020, when lockdown in the UK officially began.
That was over 14 weeks ago and with the search term ‘DIY haircut’ soaring in google search trends in March and April, it’s fair to say it’s been a difficult period.
Thankfully however the government confirmed this week that these businesses will be able to reopen on 4th July 2020 – so we’re preparing to say goodbye to the mullet.
Businesses will need to reopen while adhering to various safety guidelines, but as the hair and beauty industry employs over 250,000 people in the UK, it’s important these reopenings are a success.
Since there can be no business without customers, a large part of this success will depend on your business’ comms plan. So to help you make your comms plan as effective as possible, we thought we’d highlight a few ways SMS can be used to enhance business post-COVID19:
Come back with a bang!
You need to let your customers know when you’re reopening and explain how and when, you’ll be taking appointment bookings. Though social media and email can be great communication channels, with the humble SMS your messages benefit from an unrivalled open rate of 95%.
As these messages, potentially above all others, are vital to a successful reopen it makes sense to ensure as many of your customers receive and read them as possible. And those 160 characters can go further than you think. So if you have any exciting reopening plans, you can detail them in your messages to help generate a buzz among customers.
Use SMS to support safety guidelines
As businesses will need to reopen with safety guidelines in place, you need to make sure you communicate with your customers any new protocols they need to follow. For example, if there are restrictions around numbers allowed in your waiting area at one time, and you may mask that customers wear a mask.
Here an SMS Web page could be really effective as you can visually show customers what to expect on their visit. Furthermore, as the coronavirus has caused a lot of uncertainty there may be some customers who are slightly uncomfortable about returning.
A recent survey said only 48% of individuals said they would feel fully comfortable returning to a hairdressers or barbers. So communicating what measures your business has implemented to ensure it is safe for customers and staff, could go a long way.
Communicating with your customers
The various guidelines for reopening are currently being confirmed, but some have said that to maintain social distancing, salons may be looking at a maximum capacity of 50% compared to pre-lockdown. Clearly safety is the first priority, but this does mean it will be important to keep communicating with your customers, especially those who are struggling to get an appointment.
This is where the mighty SMS can help. A quick bulk message to thank your customers for their patience could prove valuable. What’s more, SMS can also help you manage various admin tasks which may help free up some time. Below we’ve listed just a few SMS use cases to help your salon or barber shop post-COVID19:
Bulk SMS really is as easy as 1, 2, 3 and it allows you to contact all of your customers in just a few clicks. Should your salon decide to introduce longer opening hours, or open up more appointments, you can easily update your entire database within minutes. What’s more, with SMS you are sending your messages straight to the mighty mobile phone, which individuals pick up an average 58 times a day. So you can be confident your message will be seen by your recipients.
Engage with your customers
Especially in cases where you are planning on reopening with a restricted number of services, or are thinking about increasing your opening hours, it’s worthwhile using a tool SMS surveys to collect customer feedback.
This way you can use recipient feedback from the SMS survey, to help you make informed business decisions. Furthermore, as mobile conversion rates are up 64%, you will receive the largest response possible to help you structure your back-to-business strategy.
Upon reopening, appointments are going to be like gold dust. Appointment slots will need to be carefully spaced to maintain social distancing, so where possible, you need to try and avoid customers missing their appointment slot and ensure they arrive on time.
For this, a simple reminder could be really beneficial – particularly early on, while customers get used to the new set up. And since 90% of all SMS messages are read within 3 minutes, you can be sure your message is delivered and read almost immediately.