Suggested templates for back-to-business SMS communications
As lockdown restrictions in the UK look set to ease off in March 2021, businesses are turning their attention to creating a back-to-business strategy. While recovery will likely look different to each industry, for hair and beauty, and sports and leisure, after assuring customers and members it is safe to return, arguably the largest hurdle will be managing demand while adhering to government guidelines.
Below we have highlighted some important considerations, and provided SMS templates which can be easily adapted for your business.
Important considerations for your business communications plan
Make customers feel comfortable returning to your business
The pandemic has caused a lot of fear among people and as such, communication plans will need to go beyond simply announcing your business reopening and welcoming customers and members back. Research shows that while 48% of the British public would feel comfortable returning to hairdressers and barbers, only 30-32% would feel comfortable returning to gyms, and beauty and nail salons.
To assure customers that it is safe to return, it is vital that you communicate what safety measures your business has implemented. Similarly, to adhere to the government guidelines many businesses will have to introduce new protocols for members and customers to follow. These must be plainly communicated so individuals understand their role in upholding the new safety guidelines. Again, this will go some way to making individuals feel comfortable returning to your gym or salon.
*Insert customer / member name* we’ve missed you! We are working hard to ensure we reopen safely and will notify you once our booking system is open. To opt out reply STOP
*Insert business name* can’t wait to welcome you back! We’ve been working hard to reopen safely and are pleased to say our booking system is now open: URL. To opt out reply STOP
Great news, *Insert business name* will be reopening on *Date* at *Time*. We have been working very hard to ensure we reopen with the utmost care for staff and customer / member [delete as appropriate] safety and we are pleased to announce that our online booking system is now open: URL. If you have any questions, call *Contact number*. To opt out reply STOP
*Insert customer / member name* this is just a reminder about your appointment / session [delete as appropriate] on *Date* at *Time*. We can’t wait to welcome you back, but to ensure we are doing so safely, we ask that you make yourself familiar with our new protocols before your visit: URL. Any questions, call *Contact number*. To opt out reply STOP
Manage customer expectations
It was recently reported that to maintain social distancing once reopened, some salons will need to operate at a maximum of 50% capacity (source: Telegraph), compared to pre-lockdown. Clearly safety is the priority and there are measures businesses can introduce, for example longer opening hours so they are able to accommodate more customers. However, the likelihood is that in the short term some will have to wait for appointments. To manage customer expectations, it’s important to communicate what your business is doing to allocate appointments fairly and to maintain contact with those who are waiting.
*Insert customer name* great news! Our online booking system is now open: URL. We will be operating with limited availability and ask you to remain patient. To opt out reply STOP
*Insert customer name* we can’t wait to welcome you back to the salon! To maintain social distancing we will be operating with limited appointment availability. Because you had an appointment booked during lockdown, we are opening our online booking system to you early. This can be accessed via: URL. Any questions, call *Contact number*. To opt out reply STOP
Great news, *Insert business name* is now taking bookings! Please call the salon on *Contact number* to book an appointment, or be added to the waiting list should the diary be full. To opt out reply STOP
*Insert customer name* we want to thank you for being so patient with us. We know the demand for appointments is very high. To accommodate as many customers as possible, we have decided to increase opening hours on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. These appointments have been added to the online booking system now: URL. Any questions, call *Contact number*. To opt out reply STOP
Continue expanding and adding to digital options for customers
During lockdown, businesses in all industries have shown great flexibility in a bid to respond to the pandemic digitally. To name just a few, gyms have introduced online sessions via applications such as Zoom, beauticians have run online consultations and hairdressers have set up ecommerce sites to continue selling products. For many businesses these have proved popular and have created an additional revenue stream. Given that the post-COVID19 landscape is still uncertain, it makes sense to continue with these services and where possible, extend them.
*Insert customer / member name*, great news! We will continue with online sessions / appointments [delete as appropriate] once open. For full details, head to: URL. To opt out reply STOP
*Insert customer name* this is a reminder about your online consultation on *Date* at *Time*. Please ensure your medical questionnaire is complete prior to your appointment. Any questions please call *Contact number*. To opt out reply STOP
*Insert customer / member name* we have some exciting news! There are now more products available on our online store. These are all available for both Click & Collect and Delivery options. To check them out, head to: URL. To opt out reply STOP
Finally, if you’re new to the world of SMS campaigns, we’ve created a short best practice checklist below:
- Prepare your messages in advance
- Where appropriate, segment your contact lists
- Include a clear call-to-action
- Be time considerate when sending and scheduling messages
- Test and measure your campaign
- Ensure you have included an opt-out
- Plan how you will manage any responses
- Make sure your SMS campaign is aligned with your other marketing channels.
If you need any help, please have a chat with your FastSMS account manager – we’re on standby to make sure that you have all of the support you need to navigate the next few months.