There’s no doubt we’re living in unprecedented times. As COVID-19 continues to impact communities and businesses across the globe, it’s natural for small business owners to look for ways to better support their businesses, employees and customers. This is why we’re doing what we do best — helping SMBs when they need it most.
Here is a list of tactics we’ve compiled to help SMBs adapt to operating their businesses and strengthening client relationships in this new normal.
1. Be there for your customers
People are looking for support and understanding during this time of uncertainty, so consider offering helpful policy changes whenever necessary. Whether you’re doing away with change fees or extending cancellation grace periods, the most important thing is to remain flexible and empathize with customers’ needs. Consider increasing your customer service capabilities so your patrons feel they can reach you if needed, whether it be via email, mobile app or directly through your website. Depending on your business, instant messaging platforms can serve as solid chat options or you can offer video conferencing to help customers feel more connected to your business.
2. Communicate business updates often
Local or state mandates will likely affect your daily hours and work routines. Keep your customers in the loop by updating your Google My Business profile if you’re closing or open for fewer hours than normal. These updates will be visible on your Business Profile, Google Search and Maps. Share more detailed and timely business updates with customers via Google Post, such as which products and services are available at a certain time or if there will be any changes to your offerings.
3. Keep your social media on track
Chances are your customers are checking their social media accounts much more often to stay current with the latest news updates and connected to loved ones. Posting on a frequent basis ensures you remain visible on customers’ feeds and improves your ability to quickly update your customer base. However, make sure all social posts use a considerate tone and show you’re empathetic to the difficulties your customers may be facing.
4. Understand the impact of changing customer behaviors
During uncertain times, it’s not unusual to see drastic changes in user behavior. It’s important to do your best to anticipate changing behaviors, understand how they may impact your business and adjust accordingly. In the case of a brick-and-mortar store, now could be a good time to open up an online store (if possible) or direct attention to an existing ecommerce offering to help maintain business continuity. Coupons or discounts might prompt customers to shop online while at home. If you operate a service-based business like a restaurant or salon, consider offering online sales on gift certificates.The actions you take will look very different based on the needs of your business. For some companies, this may mean reducing budgets or pausing certain expenses altogether.
5. Put your customers at ease
Post signage in your store windows and send emails to your customers to assure them that you’re taking measures to protect their health. Be sure to share any hygiene protocols you’re following and inform customers that you’re enforcing self-quarantine among those employees who might be experiencing symptoms. Overall, consider how your business and brand can be useful during this crisis, while leading by example in a calm, authoritative manner.
The CARES Act: Financial Assistance for SMBs
- Who can apply? Affected companies of 500 employees or less that maintain payroll.
- What do approved SMBs receive? Eight weeks of cash flow assistance.
- Will the funds run out? Program response to date has been overwhelming, so the Treasury Department is seeking additional funds.
- Do the loans have to be paid back? No, as long as certain conditions are met (such as using at least 75 percent of the funds for payroll).
We’re here to support your business
We want to remind you that you’re not alone in this unprecedented time. Our Customer Support team is available Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. until 8:00 p.m. EST. We’re available to talk through your account and assist with things like setting up custom call flows, using website pools (visitor tracking), and utilizing Lead Center. By remaining optimistic, considerate and knowledgeable, we can all navigate these uncharted waters together.