With the coronavirus outbreak increasingly changing how our companies must operate, it is vital that your business stays connected with its customers and suppliers with updates on business operations; sanitation policies to reduce risk of infection (see What is the price of a N95 Mask?), change in opening hours and how you are best protecting both employees and customers.

If you are unsure on the steps you need to take, then here are a few suggestions to get you started.

Inform customers and suppliers on how you are preventing the spread of COVID-19

It is important that your customers and suppliers first know that your business is taking the necessary pre-cautions to reduce the risk of infection. This can be easily done by advertising in your physical store if it is still open or via email or social media if your business is now predominantly digitalised. Share any increased cleaning and hygiene regimes that you’re carrying out day-to-day, let them know that if any of your employee’s experience any of the symptoms that are advised to self-quarantine and won’t be in any contact with products

Increase your social media presence

As we all know social media is taking over the world with over 40% of the population having an account on a social platform. Due to the current outbreak an isolation rules, consumers are scrolling their feeds now more than ever to get the latest updates on the virus. Using paid campaigns and targeting relevant topics and hashtags you can target your businesses desired audience and push your products and services right into their news feed. This in turn will increase your engagement and presence across social platforms where you will have built a following who all have an interest in what you do as a company.

Offer online deals

If your company already has an e-commerce website, remind customers that they are still able to shop for their favourite products. To increase the traffic to your store it may best to offer an online specific deal to give incentive for your consumers to visit the site. If your business is currently unable to operate e.g. restaurants and bars offer your customers a meal package or voucher to purchase now that they can then redeem after the virus slows down, this can maintain sales, whilst giving your customers something exciting to look forward to.

Focus on serving your customers through digital channels

Now is the time to increase the capabilities of your customer services and ensure your customers and suppliers can contact you no matter where they are. According to companies like Salesforce, social media is a great place to start your early efforts, as you can chat via Facebook Messenger, Twitter and WhatsApp and other direct messaging platforms. Also you can offer video chat alternative through Skype and FaceTime, so your customers can get a more personal contact without being there in-person.

Update Google My Business details

Google My Business allows businesses to manage how they appear in Google Search and Maps. This includes adding your company name, location and opening hours therefore it is important that you are displaying all the correct information about your business. To update your listing Login to your My Business account, in the menu bar click ‘info’ and then make your changes and press ‘apply’.

If you currently don’t have a Google My Business listing, follow these steps below.

  • Step 1: Log into your Google Account you wish to associate with your business.
  • Step 2: Go to google.com/business and select “Start now” in the top right.
  • Step 3: Enter your business name.
  • Step 4: Enter your business address. 
  • Step 5: Now go into customer locations, instead having them come to you, tick the box I deliver goods and services to my customers; if you work from your home or another address and you don’t want it to be displayed, tick hide my address only show region and lastly, choose your Delivery area.
  • Step 6: Choose your business category. Try to choose the most accurate category possible — you’re essentially telling Google which type of customers should see your business listing.
  • Step 7: Add your business phone number or website.
  • Step 8: Choose a verification option. If you’re not ready to verify your business yet, click “Try a different method” → “Later.”

Covid-19 GMB Update

  • Businesses can be marked as temporarily closed. You can inform that your company is closed and then reopen it when you are able to open again. 
  • You can also confirm Special Hours to inform that your business is closed right now, if you don’t wish to have it displayed as temporarily closed.
  • Customer Review functionality has been disabled. It is likely that this has been done to prevent any negative reviews being published during this difficult time.