Posted on: 09 July 2020 (updated on 20 July)

Guiding your customers and clients as businesses reopen

Coronavirus restrictions in the UK are slowly easing, allowing customers and clients to visit businesses that are starting to reopen.

To be able to safely welcome people into your business, you will need to give them guidance on how your business is operating whilst Coronavirus continues to be a threat in the UK.

Guidance on managing customers and clients

Minimise contact

Minimising contact seems to be the most effective method of combatting COVID-19, which makes it less likely for the virus to spread. As the threat of COVID-19 is still very real, these steps will give your customers the guidance they need on how to behave at your business:

Reduce capacity

Think of the amount of space that you have at your business and only allow enough customers and staff in the premises that can safely social distance; keeping 2 metres apart. You should take into account your overall floor space and any pinch points where customers could cross paths.

Promote hand hygiene

Have hand sanitiser or handwashing facilities by the entrance to your business and encourage visitors to use them when they enter and leave your business. This will kill the virus and reduce the chances of spreading the virus.

Discourage touching things

When someone enters your premises, discourage them from touching anything. This could be products in a shop that they are considering using, or opening doors for a client so that they don’t need to touch door handles.

Review facilities

Some facilities at your business may be unsuitable for purpose currently, such as a customer toilet, where many shared surfaces could harbour the virus. You should also extend the amount of time that customers have to claim their refund so that they can return items when lockdown restrictions are lifted.

Encourage single visitors

When reopening your business to customers or clients, encourage them to come in on their own, unless they require special assistance.

Visitors with children

If a visitor comes to your premises with a child, remind them that it is their responsibility to ensure that the child adheres to the rules that you have set out.

How people move around your premises

Once you have set out a path that visitors should take around your business, consistently monitor it to see if the route that you have designed is functional for visitors, with any changes that you make well signposted.

Entrances and exits

All entrances and exits should be suitable for all customers. For example, if you have disabled access facilities but closed one of them as part of a one-way system, this could affect a disabled visitor.

Vehicle access to your business

By finding a way to allow customers to park a car or bicycle at your business, you will be allowing them to avoid public transport.

Manage queues

With reduced capacity in your premises, customers and vistors may be required to queue. Use an outside space for queuing, allowing enough space for visitors to social distance and avoid queues for other nearby businesses. You can also liaise with local authorities or your landlord to help plan your queuing policy.

Shopping centres should also regulate the number of visitors who can enter the facility as a whole, monitoring communal areas.

Information points

Create a designated area that customers can use to find out information that they might need to know. Depending on the size of your business, you may want to consider spreading these points out across the business so that people aren’t congregating in one place.

Shared vehicle use

Where possible, avoid sharing a vehicle with a visitor to your business. For example, car showrooms should not go on a test drive with a customer

How to communicate this guidance

Clear signage and floor markings

Using clear information signage and floor markings is an important way of showing your customers of what you expect from them when they are on your premises.

Use tape markings on the floor so that your visitors know which directions to take or where to queue.

Consider existing security measures

Many businesses these days are using facial recognition software to identify unwelcome visitors, so use signage that lets visitors know that they may be asked to remove a mask temporarily for identification purposes.

Social distancing champions

Nominate someone in your business to be a social distancing champion, who will show customers the correct way to behave whilst on your premises.

This person will need the confidence to interact with customers, possibly engaging with them if they are moving around your business in the wrong direction or not observing social distancing guidelines.

Mandatory face coverings in retail businesses

In July 2020, the government announced that they were making it a mandatory requirement for customers to wear face masks whilst in shops from Friday 24th July. Children and people with certain disabilities will be exempt from face coverings, but there will be a fine of £100 for those not adhereing to the rules.

Health Secretary, Matt Hancock, also announced that there was no plans to enforce office workers to wear face coverings, as a face mask is unlikely to be effective when working with others for a period of hours.

More COVID-19 business guides

If you are currently preparing to re-open your business following lockdown, you may also be interested in theses guides:

·         Creating a return to work action plan

·         How to safely reopen a retail business after lockdown

·         Commuting to work whilst COVID-19 is still a threat

For further COVID-19 business insight, take a look at our Coronavirus Information Page.

Business insurance with Premierline

It’s important to make sure that you have the right insurance in place to protect the business that you have built.

Every business is different and has its own business insurance needs, which is why we work with some of the UK’s most well-known insurers to make sure that you are getting the right insurance cover for your business.

Source: Zywave Inc – Risk Insights: Managing Customers and Clients While Reopening

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The information and tools contained in this guide are of a general informational nature and should not be relied upon as being suitable for any specific set of circumstances. We have used reasonable endeavours to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the contents but the information and tools do not constitute professional advice and must not be relied upon as such. To the extent permitted by law, we do not accept responsibility for any loss which may arise from reliance on the information or tools in our Insight Hub.