8 Tips to Offer Services From a Distance

curbside pickup trunk open

As a new franchisee, it can be difficult to imagine how you'll adjust your future business to the status quo. With changing regulations and a public that's apt to stay in rather than frequent your location, you might be scratching your head at coming up with ways to keep your best customers engaged. However, this isn't an issue as a new business owner, it's an issue at keeping up with strange times. All business owners, no matter how long they've been in existence, are dealing with similar situations. The key is to brainstorm and put your best ideas into action. After all, the better you're able to serve your shoppers on their terms – safely and with little interaction – the better you can move forward and boost your sales.

Consider these industry-driven tips in order to grow your sales, without skimping on social distancing guidelines.

1. Announce Your COVID Procedures

Even as a new franchise location, it's a good idea to address how COVID will be handled within your location. This isn't a requirement in all states, but it's good practice so that your customers can stay informed and aware of the precautions you're taking. You can update (and add dates) with each change so customers know you're remaining current, too.  

Place your COVID response on the door of your establishment, on your website, and perhaps even on social media. Ensure it's in locations where it can be seen by anyone entering your physical franchise location, or online for someone who may be wary and looking for distancing guidelines.

2. Offer Curbside Drop Off/Pick Up

This is one of the most distancing-friendly things you can do at a low cost: allow customers to drive up and pick up items. (Depending on your industry, this might be a drop-off situation.) Anyone who is worried about getting sick can easily keep themselves safe. Or, the service can be used strictly for convenience.

There are a few guidelines to follow for your franchise location, for instance, having a clear parking area that's dedicated to curbside pickup, dedicating a certain team member to serving these customers, and communicating a clear protocol that can be easily followed. Place signs, explain the process online, and provide a phone number that customers can call with any questions. This can do wonders for boosting franchise sales, without much overhead or fees.

3. Hire Delivery Drivers for Your Franchise

If you're selling food or products, it's a good idea to offer home delivery. Do some research so you're ensuring your franchise is working as efficiently as possible. You can easily hire part-time drivers who can work around their own schedules. But that's not the only option – services allow for you to partner with them, charging delivery fees to the consumer. This can also come with the added benefit of additional marketing on their behalf. Look into different options for franchise delivery, which can put you in a better position to earn, even when customers don't feel comfortable coming to you.

4. Create Set Guidelines for Your Franchise Location

This one is a given. Limit the number of people that can enter your franchise establishment at any given time. Post this number on your door, then keep someone in charge of keeping up with foot traffic. You should also place distancing or directional signs so customers know when and where to stand, which direction to shop, etc.

5. Offer Package Pickups for Franchise Customers

Depending on your industry, you can also create pre-packaged deals wherein consumers can order online or over the phone. Create a bundle of items, based off your market and items that you have available. This is a great way to unload any excess you may have, but it can also allow you to better serve your market base. You can even ask them what they're in search of for an idea of what to offer for each consumer.

While this route is similar to curbside pickup, it can actually lessen your overhead as items are set rather than custom ordered. Less time putting things together and more time moving items off of your franchise shelves.

6. Stick to Your Guns in Social Distancing

There will come a time as a franchise owner when social distancing is simply not convenient. It might affect sales, or a customer throws a fit. Perhaps the protocol just becomes monotonous and as though it's slowing down your work process. However, it's important to stick to your guns. Remaining diligent can keep your business running smoothly. It will keep your franchise legal and operating within local guidelines, and more importantly, it will keep your workers and customers safe.

Even when it's no longer convenient, don't give up on social distancing safety standards for your franchise location.

7. Offer Safety Equipment or Germ Stations

Another way to help your franchise customers feel more comfortable will be offering equipment or the ability to remove germs. Even when remaining distant from others, you can't control all variables in play. But by having masks or areas where customers can wash up or apply hand sanitizer, you can do much to offer peace of mind. Don't overlook just how much traction this can gain with your consumer base, especially when opening as a new franchise in a known and beloved area. All who enter will see their options for removing germs or snagging a fresh mask and respect the attention to detail.

8. Create Protocol for Anyone Who Won't Play by the Rules

Those who don't want to follow social distancing are just a part of the current times. We don't all have to agree with how to handle social situations, but as a franchise owner, you need to be prepared for these instances. Hope for the best, but plan for the worst. If you have a customer who doesn't want to play by the rules, know how it's to be handled and what will take place by you and your employees.

Discussing this before it actually takes place will leave everyone better prepped for the real thing. And it can ensure that you diffuse the situation without drawing negative attention to your franchise.

Offering safety and distancing options for your upcoming franchise location can help increase your profits, without scaring away future loyal customers.

By Bethaney Wallace | Nov 13, 2020 | General Franchise Information