GENERAL SAFETY TIPS
Here’s a list of best practices you can consider, to keep your business running smoothly online and offline.
1. Keep Your Business Safe
Update your employees with the latest news, developments and health regulations. Provide this information in multiple languages to make sure everyone understands. Look out for common symptoms of the coronavirus like a dry cough, shortness of breath and/or fever. Create hygiene stations in the workplace and make sure your team is following protocol to keep everyone healthy. Encourage employees to work from home if they're not feeling well, or if they traveled recently.
2. Postpone Events, Services or Appointments
Be flexible with your scheduling. When possible, postpone your business offerings to a later date. If you offer customers membership plans or packages for your services, consider extending or waiving the expiration date.
3. Respond Quickly to Refunds
Avoid chargebacks by handling refunds as quickly as possible. Keep in mind, the refund process differs according to your payment provider. If you have to refund customers, give them a good reason to return to your business. Offer a coupon or discount for their next purchase as compensation. Moreover, show them you value their business and their patience.
4. Be Transparent
Communicate proactively. Encourage your customers to put their trust in you. Here are some ways you can reach out to your customers and employees:
Live chat with customers using Skype or GO To Meeting. Keep customers updated on your events, product inventory or services.
Use email marketing to let customers know about changes to your business or special offerings.
Create a forum and actively respond to questions and concerns from your community.
Write a blog article detailing what your business is doing to keep your customers safe.
Update your followers on social media with any relevant information.
5. Update Your Site
Keep your customers in the loop. Update your website and social media pages with any changes to your work hours, shipping delays or event/service cancelations. Add an FAQ section to your site to address customer concerns.
6. Modify Your Payment Options
Try to limit your transactions to contactless “tap” payments or encourage customers to pay online using their phones. If using a POS system, disable on-screen signatures. You may even want to opt for online invoicing to digitize the payment process as much as possible.
7. Get Creative
Be prepared to think on your feet and work around issues as they arise. Consider innovative solutions and be flexible so you can ensure customers will return. There is no one-size-fits-all plan. Find solutions that are right for you and your business.
Manage your inventory. Many localities in China and across the world are currently on lockdown. With this in mind, consider alternative ways to fulfill your orders. If your regular product supply is impacted by the current situation, let your customers know.
Update your timeframes. Because of how unprecedented this pandemic is, there are a lot of dynamic elements. To keep providing the best customer experience, make sure your policies are up to date. Let customers know from the outset that delivery may take longer than usual. Edit your store's shipping and delivery policies to reflect these changes.
Encourage online shopping. If you have a brick and mortar store, get your customers to shop online. Offer coupons and discounts to make that option more appealing.
SERVICES & APPOINTMENTS
It's becoming increasingly important to remain at home to avoid spreading the virus. In light of this, here are some recommendations for those in the service industry.
Go virtual. While there is nothing like in-person human interaction, consider offering virtual consultations through video or live stream. Many meetings and classes can be moved online using tools like Google Hangouts, Skype and more.
Be flexible. Postpone your appointments or services and allow customers to do the same–especially if they don’t feel well or have traveled recently. Offer customers coupons and encourage them to reschedule to avoid unnecessary risks. Have your clients’ contact information up to date in case you need to reach out to them.
Double down on hygiene. Let clients know the steps you're taking to keep your business environment clean and safe. This is especially relevant to gyms, beauty and health/wellness businesses.
Consider these safeguards:
Keep hand sanitizer, disposable wipes, soap and tissues on hand. Remind clients and staff to use them regularly.
Ensure everyone washes their hands (for at least 20 seconds).
Post reminders to avoid handshaking and touching your face.
If relevant, wear protective gear and change them between each client.
Add extra buffer time between appointments to thoroughly clean stations and disinfect all equipment used.
Modify your payment plans. Create payment options to accommodate clients during this time period. Update your pricing plans to promote online interactions, such as flexible appointment scheduling or video appointments. Offer special discounts to loyal customers.