3 Ways to Keep Customers and Survive the Coronavirus OutbreakWritten by James Riddle on September 07, 2020
The coronavirus pandemic has affected all areas of life. In particular, business is feeling its consequences. Especially small companies.
As a result, we wanted share an action plan that’ll help to keep customers engaged along with advice on how to keep your enterprise afloat.
Step 1: take care of your business and its employees
In critical situations, the plan of action is just like on an airplane. First you save yourself, then what is dear to you. Business is no exception. Before planning communication with customers or crafting a sales plan, you need to secure the company.
Minimize risks and ensure stability.
Three simple steps will help in this, the implementation of which guarantees the stability of the functioning of the entire business.
Develop an anti-crisis plan
The spread of CoVID-19 has made many companies think about start to think about various kinds of risk. Anti-crisis management used to be something that was talked about, but often postponed until later.
Today it’s a necessity. An emergency preparedness plan ensures that actions are taken correctly. Yet according to research, 62% of companies have a crisis plan, but they rarely update it.
If there is a “worst” thing that can happen and provoke a crisis in the company, then it is worth considering. Predict and analyze the situations. What will be the consequences? How will the incident affect staff, customers, partners, production and sales? How much will the company’s financial position change?
Try to consider all the dangers.
The emergency preparedness plan should contain procedures for protecting the business and steps to help keep employees safe. Include reactive and preventive steps. This in turn minimizes the likelihood of a worst-case scenario.
The anti-crisis plan should contain the following information:
- Steps to keep employees safe
- The order of actions in case of an outbreak in the company
- Methods of emergency communication between employees and management
- Initial transactions in the event of an outbreak within the company
Organize remote work
Next, minimizing contact is one of the main security measures. Therefore, it is worth considering in detail. For many companies, telecommuting is an easy step and not too difficult. Whereas for other enterprises it’s next to impossible to implement.
Whichever category you fall into, carefully consider how best remote work could take place and a remote first work culture fostered. It is important to keep in mind the complexities of this format. This way you can avoid issues and minimize any negative impact on the productivity of teams.
So, what should an employer care about you ask?
1. Communication: Effective work is impossible without remote team spirit. Therefore, you should take care of the means and methods of communication. It must be comfortable and used by all employees. The best option is to pick one app for chatting and organizing video meetings. At the moment, programs such as Skype, Slack and Zoom are in the lead.
2. Safety: It is important that only a specific employee has access to documentation and important files. Ask people to set passwords on devices. Update your corporate account access codes regularly. If possible, implement hard disk protection on employees’ work PCs.
It is more difficult to implement, but guarantees the highest protection against hacking and the security of corporate data. It’s also worth using a VPN. This is an easy way to avoid tracking user actions. VPN should be used on all work devices. That is, PC, laptop, tablet and smartphone.
Now there are a lot of services that offer companies packages of services of different cost and capabilities. In particular, there are safe Android VPNs, that are also compatible with iOS, Windows and Linux MacOS operating systems.
3. Project management: It’s important to organize your workflows and do it accordingly. Provide employees only with the information they need to work. This will prevent the possibility of data leakage. Also consider using cloud storage. It will allow you to create backup copies of files, the safety of which does not depend on the health of the laptop or other factors.
Provide direct project management. Trello is a popular tool for organizing the work of remote teams. The application, in particular, allows you to mark the tasks set, indicate the terms of implementation and assign responsible employees.
4. Tools: It is important to understand what software is required to work, how it is used and how much it will cost the company. It is important to choose it correctly. To do this, highlight the tasks that the tool should perform.
Next, define a program to solve each of them. Perhaps there is software that can solve several problems at once. Then choose it. This will save time and money. For example, Zoom is a messenger that is used to communicate, hold video meetings, and share and manage files.
5. Hierarchy: It is important for employees to understand who to contact if a question arises. The direct manager or director of the company? Think about it. Many business owners opt for centralized management to ensure they are responsive to change.
For small businesses, this can be a great strategy. By interacting directly, you will be aware of what is happening and in case of an emergency you will be able to take the necessary actions in time. Take time to carefully consider how best to manage your remote team.
A pandemic is a stressful situation for everyone. And your employees are no exception. It is important to remember that the team is one of the most important resources of the company. Try to support people. If you have a well-developed corporate culture and team spirit, now you will feel the importance of this.
What happens if it’s gone? Nothing, this is a fixable situation. In order to support employees, it is important to be honest with them. Keep your team informed of what’s going on. You can inform about what the company is doing to protect people from the coronavirus.
Also talk about success. The team must know that no matter the circumstances, the employer is ready to support each employee. Crisis circumstances do not mean defeat. Give employees confidence in the reliability and responsiveness of the company.
Step 2: ensure the company’s solvency
Current circumstances can lead to bankruptcy. This is a huge danger. Therefore, take the time to analyze the situation and its possible development. Identify the risks. Knowing them will help you to develop a financial plan based on the company’s capabilities and commitments.
What can be done?
1. Review contracts: The task is to highlight all the debt obligations that the company has. Consider loans, rent, and vendor debt. Prioritize each one. Negotiate an extension of payment terms or a reduction in payments.
Even if only a few suppliers agree, you will reduce the burden and make the company’s financial position more stable. Also, some landlords are willing to accommodate and postpone rent.
2. Look for unsecured payments: Perhaps you postponed payment for some work until the project was completed, or the goods were not paid. Try to remember this and reach out to customers.
It is important to ensure the liquidity of the business. You can also ask for a full payment, or ask customers about prepayment.
3. Focus on performance: The use of online platforms is more relevant than ever now. Try to get the best performance. Most likely, for this you will have to focus on a specific group of people. However, you can do more with the same amount of resources.
4. Centralize financial decisions: If you are a small business owner, this step will be easy. Arrange for all expenses to be approved by you personally – regardless of the amount.
This way you will know exactly how much money is being spent and on what. There has never been a more pressing time to start carefully tracking expenses.
Step 3: Focus on how to keep customers connected
In a pandemic, it is not so much about increasing the frequency of communication as about changing the marketing focus. Social media and digital marketing are more relevant than ever. The secret to customer retention at the moment is to remain tactfully visible.
These circumstances have greatly changed the communication between customers and companies. Taking care of users is valuable now. Offer services and features that help to protect customers. For example, free shipping.
Such a simple solution will show that you are attentive to your customers and will contribute to the growth of loyalty. According to research, 54% of consumers expect a higher level of service than a year ago.
What can be done?
1. Communicate actively with your audience through social media.
2. Make a mailing list.
3. Focus on existing customers by providing better service and engagement.
4. Increase conversion on your website or store.
5. Offer a coupon, discount, or gift cards.
6. A video about your services will once again remind you of the company, while offering customers a benefit.
7. Host online events.
8. Provide contactless payment options. This is true for both offline companies and businesses that offer delivery.
9. Be honest. To ignore what is happening around is unreasonable. A company that talks about how it stands up to the coronavirus and takes care of its customers / employees looks much more genuine.
The coronavirus outbreak has already affected many businesses. Only the most powerful, resourceful and inventive companies will be able to withstand the circumstances that await.
We hope our action plan will help your business keep customers and employees happy alike.