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In the Know: A message for retailers on navigating COVID-19

June 18, 2020 By    

In the Know is a monthly partnership between LP Gas and Propane Resources. Our focus this month is on navigating COVID-19, addressed by marketing specialist Tony Botts.

Q: What message do you have for propane retailers as they continue to navigate COVID-19?

A: The propane industry was forced to adapt abruptly over the past few months as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Whether those adaptations came in the form of service technicians, delivery drivers or office staff donning face masks, gloves and other forms of personal protective equipment (PPE), or quickly shifting employees to remote office environments, “business as usual” ceases to exist the same way it did just a few short months ago.

Moving forward, it is likely that propane retailers will see the need to continually adapt. We don’t know what the future will bring. Will the virus return this winter? How long will social distancing practices and PPE be recommended for public interaction?

My advice: Be prepared to change direction on a dime. Talk with your employees about company practices and policies if we’re forced to return to some of the restrictions we saw these past few months. Determine resources to have in place in the event our customers’ behaviors are forced to change once again.

One point I can emphasize to retailers is to take the time now to update customer accounts with emails. Embrace the digital age in which we live. Make sure you have online or contactless payment solutions in place. Build these resources into your crisis management plan in case we have to experience a similar business environment again.

Additionally, invest some time to learn and understand how you can reach your customers through social media or email campaign management platforms. The biggest winners throughout this crisis have been those who have had the ability to keep their customers informed and engaged.

There’s no crystal ball when it comes to these things. However, there are ways and opportunities to prepare. Have your plan in place, and if the times comes, be ready to implement your plan.


Tony Botts is a marketing specialist at Propane Resources. He can be reached at 913-262-8345.

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