As we near the end of 2023, the landscape of COVID-19 in the United States continues to evolve. Recent data reveals a slow but steady increase in cases caused by variants like BA.2.86, contributing to 5-15% of current infections CDC. Hospitalizations and deaths have also seen a rise, reflecting the virus’s persistent impact on our communities. However, thanks to widespread vaccinations and natural immunity, the severity of the winter forecast for COVID-19 is not projected to be as severe as the past few years.
The Business Response to Ongoing Challenges
Business owners have been at the forefront of adapting to these changes. With the virus still a part of our daily lives, the question arises: How should businesses continue to combat its spread? The answer lies not only in adhering to health guidelines but also in understanding and responding to consumer and employee expectations in this “new normal”.
Revolutionized Cleaning Practices
One significant change that has come to stay is the approach to cleanliness. Gone are the days when cleaning was an invisible, night-shift task. Today, businesses are showcasing their cleaning efforts, making it a visible part of their customer experience. The cleaning product industry has seen a surge in demand, with companies like Stepan reporting an 8% increase in North American surfactant sales in 2020. This shift isn’t a fleeting trend; it’s a new standard that’s here to stay, reflecting heightened consumer expectations for cleanliness and safety C&EN.
Balancing Disinfection and Practicality
While the initial rush for products like bleach and disinfectant wipes has subsided, the focus has shifted to balanced cleaning. The CDC has updated its guidance, noting that most surfaces don’t require constant disinfection. Instead, regular cleaning and the psychological comfort it brings play a crucial role C&EN. Businesses are also working to make cleaning between customers more practical, reducing the dwell time of cleaning chemicals to make the process more efficient.
Understanding Customer and Employee Expectations
Customers and employees alike are adjusting to a world where safety protocols are paramount. Businesses are now tasked with not only implementing these measures but also communicating them effectively. Transparency about safety measures and their rationale is key to building trust according to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Additionally, training employees to help customers navigate these new protocols can significantly enhance the customer experience U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
Setting Realistic Expectations and Inviting Feedback
In today’s ever-changing business environment, particularly in the wake of COVID-19, it is crucial for businesses to set realistic expectations for their customers. This means being upfront about what customers can realistically expect in terms of service levels, product availability, and safety measures. Inviting feedback is another essential aspect of this process.
Businesses should actively seek out customer opinions through surveys, comment cards, or digital platforms, focusing on their satisfaction with safety measures, service quality, or their overall experience. Employee feedback is equally important, as employees often have firsthand insights into customer behavior and preferences. By soliciting and responding to feedback from both customers and employees, businesses can better adapt to the changing landscape, ensuring customer satisfaction and maintaining a positive brand image U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
How Should Your Business Respond to Covid-19 in 2024?
As we continue to navigate the challenges posed by COVID-19, it’s clear that the virus has permanently altered certain aspects of how businesses operate. From heightened cleaning standards to a new emphasis on health and safety protocols, these changes reflect a broader shift in societal norms and expectations. By staying informed and adaptable, businesses can not only survive but thrive in this new landscape.
Consult with a Professional Commercial Cleaner
For business owners seeking additional guidance or assistance in implementing effective cleaning practices, consulting with a professional commercial cleaner like Foreman Pro Cleaning can be invaluable.
Working with such experts offers numerous benefits: they bring in-depth knowledge of the latest cleaning techniques and health guidelines, ensure high standards of cleanliness, and provide customized solutions tailored to your specific business needs. Including overlooked tasks like cleaning server racks and cabinets.
Partnering with a professional cleaner can significantly ease the burden of maintaining a safe and hygienic environment, allowing business owners to focus more on their core operations and customer service. With their expertise, businesses can confidently navigate the cleanliness challenges in this evolving landscape.