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As the world continues fighting Covid-19, one thing has become very clear to just about every business: Safety and service/product delivery are linked. Customers around the world know this, and because they still aren’t sure about how risky each transaction will be, many are understandably nervous. The only way to draw them back to checkout is to strengthen the trust you have with them.
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Fear arrived and never really left
When Covid-19 first hit, the fear factor was off the charts. People washed just about everything, left delivery boxes in the sun before opening, and went through countless gloves trying not to touch things around them. And although some businesses found it easy to implement touchless payment options, others struggled, either because of the costs or because of the way the transactions had to happen. When I went to Home Depot, for example, they offered Apple Pay, but the software at the terminal still required me to sign and click. These hurdles are still common.
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Creating a new industry-specific program
In the salon industry, touchless pay has been especially challenging. That’s because stylists and owners rely on tips, and most of the time, they handle those by giving the customer a phone so the customer can digitally sign. That’s an issue, of course, because by trading the device, the employees and customers could potentially also be trading viruses.
My company, Vagaro, is based around providing software for salons, spas and fitness businesses and developing innovative solutions when needed. So, when I recognized this problem, I started brainstorming about how to create a new application that rewrote the checkout process to keep people safer.
At the end of it all, we created a safety program called Covid-Clean. The core of that program involves a new feature that sends the checkout process right to the customer’s phone. The stylist initiates the process, and then the software sends the customer a text message so they can see the total service amount, choose the tip they want and sign off to approve the transaction.
The end of the appointment presents only one literal touchpoint. To make sure that salon workers could also keep control of how many people were in the salon when COVID-restricted capacities were in place, we added a new capability to allow customers to check into their appointments from their phones.
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Anything that builds trust is a viable option, so get creative for your situation
Right now, almost all businesses have some work to do when it comes to rebuilding trust and reassuring customers about safety. Developing a new Covid-clean feature has given salons a way not only to get more feedback but also to show customers we take their health seriously. These efforts have given customers peace of mind and kept salons from shuttering. As you look to improve safety in your own company beyond Covid-19, think about how technology can work for you.
Tech doesn’t necessarily have to be your only approach. Use every option you have to build trust with your people, even if it’s just posting a sign alerting customers about how and when you clean. Keep in mind that the way you’ve been doing things is never written in stone and that adapting is a normal part of doing business successfully. As long as you listen and stay aware of what’s happening in your everyday operations, you can identify hazards specifically enough to put good solutions in place.