Communicating with Businesses
MoDOT recognized that businesses along I-64 would feel the effects of the construction closures during 2008 and 2009. I-64 provides access to some of the region’s most vibrant business, shopping, cultural and entertainment districts. Customers were encouraged to change their approach, not their destination.
To reduce congestion and to promote business access and visibility, MoDOT issued nearly $1 million in business outreach grants. The grant program supports businesses and attractions likely to be affected by the I-64 closures.
Tips for Businesses
St. Louis businesses were encouraged to be ready for the I-64 closures, armed with information and good attitudes. Here are some helpful tips that The New I-64 Community Relations Team urged local businesses to take into consideration while preparing their customers for the closure:
Assist Your Employees
- Talk with employees about their commute issues.
- Consider allowing flex hours, condensed workweeks and telecommuting.
- Encourage carpooling, including special parking for carpooling employees.
- Sign up for free weekly email updates and share those updates with your employees.
- Work with employees to ensure customer contacts about the closures are upbeat and focused on problem solving with a positive attitude.
Stay Customer Focused
- Sign up with GetAroundSTL.com and MidMetro4.com.
- Make sure the people answering your phone are up-to-date on the current I-64 closures.
- Remind callers of alternate routes to your location, or alternate locations.
- Offer delivery and website orders so customers can avoid traffic.
- Change your hours of operation-open earlier than you do now, or stay open later.
- Include information about avoiding the closed roadways in your messages to your customers including direct mail, website, emails, advertising, voice mail messages when business is closed.
- Link your website to the I-64 website for up-to-date information.
- Develop a customer referral incentive program. Your existing customers are your most effective sales force.
- Pass out maps or directions to customers to show them how to get to your business during construction.
- Create marketing materials that acknowledge the construction and provide compelling reasons for customers to do business with you.
- Communicate with neighboring businesses, your chamber of commerce or business district for possible partnerships, such as cooperative advertising, promotions or other joint activities.