Protection Vs Perception
Creating a trusting and safe environment for your clients
It’s clear by now that business will not return to normal anytime soon. Business owners need to adapt to the realities of a world wracked by a pandemic. But there’s more to this than offering delivery and curbside pickup or meeting your clients on Zoom. Your customers are nervous and anxious — but they still need your products and services. That means that you need to assure them that you have their best interests in mind. It all comes down to striking a balance between protection and perception.
Whether things come back to normal or adapt to the new normal, we have to be conscious with our customers about the idea of what’s mandated versus what’s perceived. What are you doing to comply with government guidelines versus what you need to do to connect with your customers?
You must strike a balance. For example, consumers may perceive a lack of sanitization procedures as a threat to their health, and by the same token, they’ll take your physical distancing measures as a sign that you care about their well-being. As business owners, we need to acknowledge their need to be protected. We need to impress upon them that they can trust us with their safety. Without trust, we don’t have a transaction.
That means that if your business has done the bare minimum for compliance with regulations or physical distancing guidelines, customers will notice. Sure, some people will still buy, but many others won’t. Is that a risk you’re willing to take?
Here are some strategies for promoting your customers’ perception of protection:
Be clear about your business policies. Are you implementing an occupancy restriction? Providing masks for clients? Requiring clients to stay six feet apart? Let them know.
Create a protective environment. Your policies don’t mean much if they’re not backed by what people can see. Is your team following the rules? Do your clients get a sense that we’re all in this together?
Communicate your obligations. There are still many businesses subject to lockdown or closures. Rather than rehashing these unfortunate circumstances, explain to your clients what you’re doing to comply with regulations and ensure their safety. Your clients are more interested in that than anything else.
Trust is everything in business. You need to close the chasm between those who are concerned and those who are unconcerned. What matters is that you create a perception of safety for the entirety of your target audience. You need to support your clients’ perceptions to ensure that everyone is feeling safe, no matter what their preferences are. That’s the key to ensuring a successful transaction — and keeping yourself in business.