Posted: 17/03/2020

How to handle COVID-19: Guidance for food retailers

Richard Knight, customer experience director at consultancy Insight6, has two main tips for fine food retailers looking to handle the emotive and high-profile issue of COVID-19. These can be summarised as process and people.

Firstly, process.

“Continue to deliver the service your customers expect through your operating procedures and guidelines,” said Knight.

“Cleanliness is critical, and if customers see you are continuing to offer the highest standards, they will continue to feel at ease in your establishment. Keep an ear out for government guidance changes and keep communicating.”

Communication is key – which brings us to the second main tip, to be aware of customers’ emotions.

“Some will be non-plussed about the situation while others may well be anxious and looking for reassurance,” said Knight.

“In order to support them, allocate time with your team.  Do they need to review those difficult conversations with customers? Allow your teams time to understand how customers might behave and what they can do to manage the situation.” 

Knight cautioned retailers further: “There will undoubtedly be an impact on demand but more worryingly, businesses could get distracted with the virus and lose focus on the customer experience. 

“The key thing to focus on is the customer journey. Where on that journey can businesses make changes to adapt to the current situation? How can your business add value to your customers at this time?”

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