Businesses are ready to reopen but the cases and deaths from COVID-19 keep rising. Will customers start to come out even when the government says it is okay to do so? While data on that question is not yet available, we know for sure things will be different. How much your business prospers after COVID-19 abates will depend on how well you react now.
Great reputations are forged when times are tough. Now is the time to create new work habits, new ways of doing business and new ways of treating your customers, Being proactive now will get you past the hard times and ready to flourish when the good times come.
Conditions after COVID -19 begins to recede
Every night the news shows another protest by people demanding their states start to open the economy up. There are thousands of people challenging their governors to end the lockdown. But what the news doesn’t show are the hundreds of thousands or millions of people happy to hunker down. Many of those people may be happy to stay home even when States open the doors to commerce.
Indeed, many of them may be reluctant to head out for any discretionary spending until after a vaccine is fully distributed. How well businesses prosper will rely in part on the type of business they run. Some factors are:
- Where are they located, city, suburb, or rural community
- What kind of business are they? Face to face interactions with customers may be more difficult in the after COVID-19 period. For landscapers, the environment won’t be too bad but for restaurants things are going to be tough.
- Do you sell essential products or services or is your product/service mix more discretionary?
In the not-distant future businesses that can deliver to the customers’ doorstep without a lot of interaction, complete a transaction without an exchange of currency and provide essential or non-essential services quickly and easily will be most likely to prosper. Some of the habits consumers are forming now will carry over once a sense of normality, whatever that is, arrives.
Steps to take during and after COVID-19
Staying in business is job number one for right now.
The US Chamber of Commerce has a list of agencies, state and federal, that can help you get through the tough times you’re experiencing now.
Show customers you care.
If you have a store, clean, and disinfect regularly. Provide disinfecting wipes at the door and a container to discard them easily. If you provide service at the customers home, have your COVID-19 policy conspicuously posted on your website or present it to the customer when you arrive on their premises. Such consideration will pay dividends for a long time to come.
Increase your marketing
A crisis is no time to back off your current marketing plans. In fact, you should double down. Your competitors are probably thinking about cutting back too. Let them. You can make great strides against them while they’re hunkered down.
Don’t ignore your online messaging
Many businesses ignore or fail to appreciate their Google My Business page. That’s a bad idea. GMB is the most important marketing tool of a local business. The information contained on a business’ GMB page helps get important information to the customer.
For instance, since the crisis began the search term “takeout near me” has grown exponentially. Restaurants that took the time to change their GMB content for that key phrase probably saw an increase in business. At the very least their takeout business. If you need help editing your GMB page, we have the information you need here.
Responding quickly to a customers’ request will show that their business and concerns are important to you. Especially now when everyone is concerned about life and death, financial calamity and other weighty issues, being fast and respectful will be a trait your customer will remember.
If you have good ideas to share about your product, business, or current environment share it. Even when the lockdown is lifted, many people will choose to stay at home. Reaching out to them via an email, social post or other means will keep you connected to someone who is yearning for outside communication. Share useful, positive information that will lift the mood and educate the consumer. You’ll find yourself in a good place with that client during and after the crisis.
Be part of the community
Making contributions of masks, gloves or other PPE will be remembered by the community at large and health professionals. Giving to local charity organizations will help the charity now and your business later. Plus, you’ll feel better for doing it.
These are hard and unique times. Staying connected now will get you through the hard times. More than that, it will put your business in a place of prosperity when the crisis lifts.