Planning for a Safe Reopening: From the Customer Journey to Communications

19 Jun 2020 | Covid-19, Planning

A critical piece to re-opening is clear communication with audiences. In order for any health and safety measures to be effective, you will need to educate your customers that adhering to a slightly different digital journey will help to reduce risk for staff as well as themselves.

Critical to any reopening is communicating changes in the customer journey. Arts organisations will need to clearly state that changes are there to protect audiences as well as staff from infection. This means that you will need to ensure messages are shared across a variety of channels and at a regular frequency so that audiences fully understand any changes and also what is expected of them. As a start, each arts organisation should have an update on their site on how they are adhering to COVID 19 restrictions and any steps they are (or will be) taking to ensure staff and customers are protected.

Landing Site

Your landing site is the first impression for your organisation for audience members and visitors so you want to make sure that it’s a good one. Audience members need clear access to the information which is most important to them. Have they recently spent money with your organisation? Are they looking to spend money? Start with a clear date and make sure you update this page frequently so they feel confident you are in line with the latest government guidelines.

For example:

Effective X Date 2020: As part of our commitment to the continued well-being of our visitors, team members, and in ongoing efforts to assist our community in preventing the spread of COVID-19, we have implemented enhanced protocols and procedures you will notice before and during your visit.

Time slots/pre-booking - all visitors must book a ticket online. Online booking required/recommended for all guests, to ensure safe and comfortable capacity and limited contact admissions. Please select a date and time slot for all the members of your party. Please arrive at the time/date stated.

  • Please use contactless card payments, if possible.
  • We will endeavour to keep queues as short as possible.
  • We are promoting a one-way experience that reinforces social distancing guidelines.
  • We are frequently cleaning and disinfecting throughout the building.
  • Additional hand sanitiser dispensers are placed at key points throughout the site.
  • Additional signage to promote handwashing and best hygiene practices has been posted throughout the building.
  • Additional training and PPE have been provided for all employees.
  • Our staff are here to assist you with a safe journey through the venue.
  • (Useful to detail how your bar will operate here).
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What can you do to help us promote a healthy environment?  

We are doing all we can to promote a healthy environment, and in doing so, we also rely on you to keep recommended self-care in mind for your safety and the safety of others. Throughout your experience, please be mindful of current Government and HSE guidelines as well as public health recommendations:

  • If you or a member of your party has a temperature or is feeling unwell, please visit us another time. We will refund your order up to two working days before the event date.
  • Wash your hands often, using soap and water, for a minimum of 20 seconds.
  • Help us promote social distancing by remaining at least two meters away from others who are not part of your party and do not shake hands or hug.
  • Please keep your party together (especially if there are children in your group) to help maintain social distancing with other audience members.
  • If you must cough or sneeze, please do so into your elbow, not into your hand or into the air.

A good idea would also be to add a link to the HSE or NHS website and venue contact details (email and phone). 

Online Booking Journey Recommendations

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Our recommendation for your organisation at this time is to consider unallocated seating. As every venue will have to conduct their own individual risk management assessment, social distancing seating selection for audiences will prove challenging for some venues over others. With unallocated seating, you are ensuring that your box office team has full control over the safety and security of all segments of your audience members who attend your organisation.

Confirmation Email 

Your confirmation email is an important asset in your communication suite for customers. Patrons of your organisation can use this email as their one source of truth for information prior to attending your venue. The benefits of updating your confirmation email mean that your box office team will spend less time answering queries and correspondence from customers who are unsure about current procedures and protocols prior to arriving at your venue. You may be able to pull or link customers to the FAQ or Blog section of your website for more in-depth information. 

Pre Event Customer Communication

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Pre-Event Email Alerts are automated emails that get sent out before the event to all customers who have purchased tickets for an event (provided they have given an email address). You will be able to change the template per show or event so that each email is tailored to those customers specifically. You also decide when the emails are sent. Given the changed protocols, clear communication and excellent customer service is critical right now. While we generally recommend using the pre-event email to include information like telling the customer you are excited to see them, where to park, or about a 10% discount when they book their interval drinks before the show etc., this pre-event communication feature will be a crucial part of your communications to help with reopening. A timely email before the event detailing what to expect when arriving at your venue will go a long way to helping patrons and staff alike have a safe and smooth visit. Information should include details on queueing to get into the building and what to expect once inside. Topics that can be covered include availability of hand sanitisers on the premises, if there are forms to fill in with visitor information to aid with contact tracing, how to self scan print at home or e-tickets, access to the auditorium, visits to the toilets, interval measures and venue exit plans.

Access on the Day

Safe access upon arrival will be on the minds of your customers. Listed below are some important areas to implement as part of your reopening strategy. Access Control Measures:

  • Clearly marked socially distant queuing to access the venue.
  • Signage - clear and consistent.
  • Hand sanitisers on entry and throughout the venue.
  • You will be required to fill in a form with details of all members of your party to assist with contact tracing should it be required in future (your information will be protected by GDPR protocols at all times).
  • (Potentially) One way systems.
  • Self-scanning of tickets for access to the auditorium.
  • Socially distant queueing to access auditorium.
  • Venue staff will assist from distance to help you to your seat(s).
  • Interval process (if intervals can be safely done).
  • Exiting the auditorium and building will also require social distancing and staff will be on hand to assist.
  • Bathrooms and protocol around access and a separate queuing system.
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