You’re getting emails from the airlines, hotels, rideshare companies, and almost anyone you do business with expressing their concerns about the Coronavirus and what they are doing about it for customers. Obviously, the virus is on all of our minds, and we can hardly get away from the breaking news, including yesterday’s, with the World Health Organization declaring COVID-19 a pandemic. We feel for those who have thus far been affected by the virus in one way or another, but at the same time jewelers are equally affected by customer fears.
You need a clear policy on how to handle the conditions surrounding this outbreak for both your employees and your customers. Make associates who are sick stay home, but be flexible with respect to their sick time and paid time off. This is no time to be casual about the crisis, but it is also no time to be insensitive to the concerns that people have, both inside your business and outside of it. Emphasize the use of good hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette. Provide hand sanitizer and keep everything scrupulously clean. This is a good habit any time, not just during a time like this. More than ever, fingerprints on the showcase glass must be cleaned prior to the next customer coming in.
Finally, how will you handle a customer who walks in with a mask on? You probably don’t allow anyone to enter your store with a hood on or maybe even sunglasses. So neither should you allow someone to come in with a mask on or other head or face covering. Have you even thought about this? Leave it to thieves to take full advantage of this current scare by possibly wearing masks to cover their faces.
Bottom line: You must be vigilant during this unusual period of time. The airline industry now has a clear policy, as travel bans from Europe have been implemented, and you also need to have a well-defined policy with your staff and your customers too. You must communicate regularly with people to make sure your policies are known and followed. This crisis will pass, but how you handle things now will keep people safe and help the crisis pass much sooner.
I hope this is helpful, but if we can be of further assistance to you in any way, please reach out to us.
Jeff Gordon, CEO