How You Can Support Your Customers and Community During COVID-19
The word “unprecedented” is getting much use these days. It means something that has never been done or known before. It’s a fitting description as we’re living and working so differently than we ever have had to before. The most common comparison of COVID-19 is to the Spanish Flu of 1918 — and that was over 100 years ago.
If you run your own business, the last few months have likely been overwhelming for you. You may have had to close up shop on short notice, or drastically changed how your business is set up to accommodate social distancing.
You’ve also had to learn what government programs you can use to support yourself, and have maybe even created an online store for the first time. Both you and your staff are likely worried about the future of your business.
Despite all of this, you still want to connect with your customers and let them and your community know that you’re here to support them. You want to do your part and help others when and where you can.
At Archway Insurance, we’re here for our customers during COVID-19. We’ve always believed in supporting our local community and contributing to several local causes. We want you to know that we’re here for you and give you some great ideas on how you can support your customers and community:
We’ll tell you about how to:
- Let your customers know your business’ current status
- Check-in with your customers
- Use social media to spread a supportive message
- Support your local community
- Support your staff
Let Your Customers Know What’s Changed
It’s important for your customers to quickly and easily find out what your business’s status is: e.g. modified hours, any restrictions, and more. You should provide the following information to your customers via email and on your website’s main page:
- New hours — or if you’ve closed completely
- Pick-up and delivery options
- Changes in product availability
- Any measures you’re taking to keep your staff and customers safe (e.g. signs to enforce social distancing, new cleaning procedures.)
- Contact information
- Link to an FAQ, if you have one
If you have a brick and mortar store, you should also put a physical sign up with this information. It will help customers quickly know at a glance what your situation is, and what they can and can’t expect from your business.
Make sure to update this information promptly if any of it changes.
Check-in with Your Customers
Depending on the size of your business, you may not be able to check-in with all of your customers. If you have customers that provide you with a fair amount of business or are longtime customers, try to check in with them via phone or email. The fact you’ve reached out will mean a lot to them. You can ask:
- How they’re doing
- If there’s anything they need
- If they have any questions about the current state of your business
A small, personal gesture like this can go a long way toward making your customers feel important and cared. You can also mention any specials or discounts you are offering, as long as you don’t make that the focus of your conversation.
Use Social Media
Use social media to stay connected to your customer base. It can be a fine line between promoting yourself and sharing supportive messages — so try to keep your messages separated by tone. You can use social media to share any or all of the following:
- Updates about your store
- Special promotions
- Uplifting messages
- Fun challenges
- Video messages from you or your staff
- Information about where people can give or receive help
Since we can’t communicate face to face, it’s important to use all the tools you have at your disposal to keep in touch with your clients. You may even find the opportunity to reach new ones.
You will need to consider trying different platforms to reach your customers — everything from Facebook to Instagram.
Look for Ways to Support Your Community
There’s been a lot of talk of “coming together while staying apart.” People everywhere are reaching out to see how they can help their neighbours and their community at large. Depending on the type of business you have, you can provide support in many different ways:
- Offer special hours for those who are elderly, immuno-compromised, or are healthcare workers
- Provide free delivery or online ordering, even for small orders
- Donate much-needed goods to shelters, food banks, and other charitable organizations
- Provide cash donations to charities
If you aren’t sure where to start, check with your municipal government for ideas.
Support Your Staff
Your staff are also part of the community – and they’ll need your support too. You can support your staff by doing the following as necessary:
- Providing clear guidelines to customers on social distancing
- Providing personal protective equipment (PPE) if appropriate
- Being flexible if they are working at home and caring for children too
- Providing information on government resources if you have to lay off staff
Keep in contact with your staff — they are probably feeling scared and concerned. If possible, arrange a few conference calls or video chats weekly so everyone can connect.
Supporting Your Customers During a Pandemic
It’s a stressful time for everyone these days. We’re all having to learn a new way to live and to work. Social distancing has now become an everyday catchphrase. We’re more cautious when we go out, but we’re also trying to take care of our friends and neighbours. We hope you’ve found our ideas on how to support your customers and your community helpful.
To learn more about how you can support your community and customers during the pandemic, call Archway Insurance at 902-477-2511 or contact us here.