Your Business Hours Changed — Now What?

Customer Experience Customer Service

When your business hours change, it’s an opportunity to show customers you care, improve relationships and generate more sales.

A change in hours of operation might seem insignificant, but if it negatively impacts even just a few customers, your business could pay the price in public outcry and negative reviews. Consider this: According to a NewVoiceMedia infographic, 93 percent of consumers will take action following inadequate service and nearly 58 percent will never visit a business again after a negative experience.

What could be a worse experience for a customer than to arrive at a business only to find that its hours had changed unexpectedly? When your business hours change, it’s an opportunity for you to show customers you care, improve relationships and even generate more sales. Here’s a checklist you can use to be sure you’ve done your best to inform all your customers of an upcoming change.

10 Ways to Communicate a Change in Business Hours

1. Signage at the Point of Entry

Your point of entry (any area where customers will always pass through to visit or leave your business) is prime real estate for eye-catching signs announcing a change in hours.

2. Signage at the Point of Sale

Consider leveraging signs, adding text to the bottom of customer receipts or invoices, handing out fliers or using other collateral at the point of sale (in-store and online) to let customers know your hours will be changing.

3. Personal Reminders

Add a reminder about upcoming changes in business hours to the greetings scripted for customer service and reception staff, including both in-person and over-the-phone greetings. Likewise, staff can remind customers about upcoming changes during the check-out process. Account managers and sales professionals can also phone clients to ensure they’re aware — it’s a great excuse for your employees check in with important customers and let them know they care.

4. Website Call-Outs

Adding a pop-up or eye-catching call-out to your website is a great way to let both customers who visit your website occasionally and prospective new customers know when the best hours to visit will be.

5. Email Reminders

From a dedicated email campaign in the days immediately preceeding the change to reminders in your newsletters, email is a great way to provide multiple reminders to customers without feeling like you’re saying the same thing over and over.

6. Countdown Events and Contests

Have some fun! You can turn a change in hours of operation into a one-time event or a contest that can actually help you increase brand awareness, engagement and sales.

7. Special Offers

You may even gain new sales when your business hours change, especially if those changes reflect a desire to make it easier for your customers to visit your business when it’s most convenient for them. Extend specials to patrons who take advantage of your new hours with door-buster offers or must-be-present-to-win drawings.

8. Text (SMS) Messaging

Announcing a change in your hours of operation via text message is an organic way to use this technology. It’s a message that can be quickly dismissed, but provides an extra notification to your contacts, so that no one will be “left out in the cold” next time they visit your company.

9. Direct Mail

No matter what you’ve heard to the contrary, direct mail is alive and well. Send a postcard to your contacts to let them know your hours are changing, or include an announcement along with a special offer or customer satisfaction survey.

10. Waiting Areas

Areas where customers wait, including waiting rooms, lobbies, and so on, can all be utilized to put reminders about changes in hours of business operation in front of your customers.

Though it might seem redundant to place signage throughout your business, write scripts for customer service staff or add attention-getting content to your website, remember that people are busy. It can take multiple interactions for someone to become aware of your brand, so it might also take multiple reminders for your customers to know about the changes to your hours of operation and how it might affect them.

Elizabeth Kraus
Elizabeth Kraus

Elizabeth Kraus is a freelance marketing consultant located in the greater Seattle area. Author of 365 Days of Marketing and 12 Months of Marketing for Salon and Spa, she publishes marketing calendars annually for local small business, salons, restaurants, realtors, and others.