As the world prepares for easing its lockdown measures, businesses and stores need methods for making the ‘intermediate normal’ more attractive and efficient for customers and staff. While your store might hold thousands of people under normal health and safety rules, that number has reduced significantly to allow the prescribed social distancing required to control viral infection (in this case COVID-19). Consequently, you need to reduce queues to your business.
It might feel like things are easing. However, all it takes is a second wave of infections to put everyone right back to where we are now. It only makes sense to implement measures to ensure social distancing, facilitate cleaning schedules and keep viral contagions at bay. Implementing a multi-attendance booking system for businesses such as stores, malls, eateries and more is an excellent tool for ensuring we all do as much as we can to prevent sliding back into a lockdown situation.
The video gives you an excellent example of how to set up a sequential multi-attendance booking system. Additionally, there are some great set-up articles in our help centre with step-by-step processes.
You know how to do it, and now we’ll talk about why you should.
Queues Are not Good Business
How many people are likely to give up and go away if they see a massive queue outside the door? Most people will think “Nope!” when faced with a lengthy waiting line that will take a long time to recede. They would much prefer to drive around looking for a store without a queue, which is a little counterintuitive, but that’s how many of us think. With social distancing measures, these queues look even longer. You can’t allow more people in than government-imposed restrictions state, but at busy times you will still have a waiting line. The key is to reduce queues.
The best way to keep things moving and welcoming is to make sure you always have a slot for people. If they don’t book a slot, they don’t get in. Well, not at fully booked busy times, anyway. You can separate the number of slots bookable online to allow for some ad hoc visitors. It’s not a bad idea to allow for the few visitors you may have that aren’t online (yes, they exist). Multi-attendance booking means that you can create bookable time slots for a defined number of people at one time.
Packed Waiting Areas Aren’t Healthy
Even if you have a waiting area for people that arrive in bulk, it’s not healthy for everyone to be in proximity. Despite the new coronavirus causing havoc worldwide, you only have to think about the annual flu season. Sure, vulnerable groups get a vaccine, but it doesn’t cover every variation and strain – in fact, it’s about a year behind. You don’t get any respite between groups of people so that no one can clean surfaces. With coronavirus, they have proven it to survive on some surfaces for days. You only need one infected person to attend, sneeze on something or someone, and you have a whole hub of germs where people congregate. Lovely.
If you reduce queues, or potentially eradicate them, you improve customer and staff safeguarding and appear more attractive to your customers.
Better for Customers, Better for Staff, Better for Business
Let’s not pretend that it’s all about customer safeguarding. Keeping your staff safe is also essential. You can’t operate effectively if half of your staff are in isolation or suffering the illness. It’s also about efficient use of your available employees. Maintaining flow optimisation, stocked shelves, regular cleaning (and disinfection) is vital to keeping your business operational and functioning, while also maintaining safeguarding practices.
Safety first, in smaller numbers
While lockdown persists, and only essential stores are in operation, ensuring we observe restrictions is necessary from both safeguarding and financial aspects. No business wants to lose half their staff to infection and nor do they want to accrue massive fines for breaching lockdown protocols.
As lockdowns ease and more companies return to operational status, the last thing anyone wants is a return to lockdown. The principal goal is to keep your business open and safe. The best way to do that is to ensure reduced maximum numbers, reduce queues, maintain social distancing, and showing that you have procedures in place to enforce it.
With scheduling procedures in place to provide easy access, no queues, and assured social distancing, you send a message to your customers and your staff saying you put their safety and convenience first.
How To Implement a Multi-attendance Booking System
The easiest and most efficient way to implement a multi-attendance booking system, and reduce queues, is to do it online. Key workers can book a slot from work on their mobile phones. People working from home can book a slot that coincides with their lunch hour. You can create separate segments of time for vulnerable groups, issue scannable tickets for booking confirmation, and send reminders when their booked slot is upcoming.
It only makes sense to make use of a system that already exists. For a situation that, we hope, will only last months it makes little sense to create one in-house. SimplyBook.me is a well established and highly effective online booking system used by thousands of businesses all over the world.
Not only does sequential multi-attendance booking make your business more attractive to customers, but it is also the socially responsible thing to do,