Prepare for reopening [free ebook & checklist]
Business closures, from full renovations to an unexpected electrical fault, can be a real inconvenience to your customers, especially if they're not kept up to date with your closure and reopening plans.
But if the pandemic taught us anything, it's that we can adapt our business and find flexible ways to keep things going, while keeping our customers’ needs front of mind.
Whether your closure is scheduled in advance or a last-minute shutdown, it's always good to have a reopening plan in place.
We’ve pulled together some useful tasks that you can check off along the way, including customer engagement, revenue generation and booking management, with tips on how to automate some of the manual processes that take up precious time.Prefer to download the ebook? Click here
Keep your customers in the loop
Closures are a confusing time for everyone and some customers may be left wondering when exactly you’ll be opening if they don’t hear from you. From there, they’ll have plenty of other burning questions that you can pre-empt with important email updates.
Data shows that the best day to send emails is Monday which has an average:
- 22% open rate
- 2.3% click-through rate
- Low unsubscribe rates (0.1%)
Be sure to maintain communication when new updates come up to make things as easy as possible for your customers. This doesn’t just have to be via email; use your other customer-facing communication channels such as social media and SMS to reach as much of your customer base as possible.
Include the following in your customer communications:
- Planned reopening date and time
- The status of their pre-closure bookings (e.g. rescheduled or cancelled)
- Billing updates
- How they can book make up lessons
- Links to where they can get the most up-to-date information (e.g. your Facebook page or website)
Top tip: Streamline the process by sending in-system bulk emails to your customers while still maintaining an element of personalisation. Simply create your template (remembering to add a first name tag), segment your audience and away you go.
Manage your pre-closure bookings
Rather than mass deleting all your existing bookings that didn’t go ahead, use the time before reopening to see who booked into which class and reach out to those customers via email or text to let them know where their booking stands. With the right software, you can choose to reschedule, offer make up sessions or credit your customer’s account.
Top tip: If you have access to a customer portal, you can save even more time by empowering your customers to self-manage their closure bookings. Alternatively, you can apply credits across cancelled classes for customers to use at a later date and book via their online account.
Remove closure dates to encourage bookings
Once you have a date to reopen, you can remove any closure dates and start showing booking availability. Motivate your customers to book in advance by letting them know that bookings are open via email and across your social media.
Use attention-grabbing headlines such as ‘be the first to book in’ or ‘grab a spot while you can’ to create a sense of urgency.
Remember to unsuspend your fee raising after deleting your closure dates. Booking software, like Udio, will also raise the pro-rata fee so you don’t have to manually adjust anything.
Re-enable automatic emails
In the lead-up to reopening, remember to switch on any automatic or triggered emails that you paused during your closure to keep your customers informed.
Without re-enabling these emails, customers may have a poor experience if, for example, you’ve switched on automatic payments and your customer is charged without being notified.
Once you reopen, enable triggered emails, such as:
- Booking reminders
- Payment reminders
- Missed classes
- Overdue fees
Give your students a head start
Closures heavily impact your business but they also impact the well-being of your students. By setting up virtual classes in the lead-up to reopening, you can create an additional source of revenue while also keeping your students active and in peak condition.
Consider introducing some home-based workouts, such as bodyweight training, flexibility classes and mobility workouts. Tailor the exercises to suit your discipline (e.g. swim schools might choose a high-intensity cardio workout while gymnastic schools may narrow the focus with splits training).
Another great thing about virtual classes is the social aspect; it keeps the students connected and allows them to have fun while also maintaining their fitness and promoting positive mental health.
Try this: Introduce mini competitions to keep your students motivated and give them something to practice. They can then showcase their progression with their first class back.
If your online classes are successful, consider adding a slot in your regular timetable or introducing them as course add-ons.
Reopening the right way
From planned maintenance to adverse weather, temporary closures are unavoidable at times. That's why it’s important for class and session-based businesses to have processes in place to manage bookings, payments and customer communications. Without them, you run the risk of having copious amounts of admin and potentially losing customers due to inefficient closure/reopening management.
Make sure you're ticking all the boxes with this printable reopening checklist →
With closures often unpredictable, your business needs a system that can handle your day-to-day admin as well as sudden shutdowns and reopenings. Udio’s inbuilt tools enable you to pause and restart payments, send segmented customer emails and reschedule sessions, as well as help with the daily running of your business.
Udio also offers a customer-facing portal that empowers your students (or their parents) to organise catch-up sessions and rebook classes once you reopen.
Try Udio free for 30 days and see how it can help your business thrive.