1. Update your Google My Business listing.
List any changes in your hours of operation, turn on Messaging if you’re able to answer any questions that way, and publish Google Posts with updates about how you’re ensuring employee and customer safety. See Rio SEO’s blog post on GMB updates for more info.
You can also learn more about updating your Google My Business profile here.
2. Update your website.
Update hours of operation and note whether or not customers can access your physical location. Let customers know if you have a limit on the amount of customers you can take in for the day or at a time. If you’ve shifted to by-appointment-only or video operations—if you are a psychologist for example, and now doing your appointments over the phone or by video—post this on your site so clients know what to expect.
Restaurants that were previously dine-in operations may have new ordering systems for take-out. Whatever your “new normal” is at this time, update your website so customers can find this information easily.
3. Evaluate your Instagram and Facebook strategy.
Make a post explaining the developing situation and what the changes taking effect immediately mean for your business and your customers. Polls are a good way of gathering information about what your customers need and how you can best deliver your services or products in this time of crisis.
It wouldn’t hurt to put a datestamp on your Instagram and Facebook visuals at this point. COVID-19 news and legislation is changing daily (even hourly) and you want to make sure your customers have the most up-to-date information about your business. Before coronavirus hit, you would typically want to avoid dating your content, as you wanted it to have staying power. Now, you want someone to instantly recognize if they are looking at a post that may be four or five days old, so they know to check for more recent information.
4. Use email and text messaging with care.
Email may not be the best channel for distributing generic information about your COVID-19. It seems that every company with a mailing list has been blasting out emails this past week and while they’re meant to be reassuring, subscribers are getting buried in notices. If there are no major changes to communicate to your customers, resist the urge to email. It’s too noisy right now.
Use email to communicate specific service information to individual clients. For example, If you are an Airbnb host, you may need to email a group of customers registered to attend a property in the next two weeks to let them know about their cancellation or rescheduling options. It might help to be proactive and let all of your landscaping customers know that you are offering a reduced maintenance package for existing contracts. If you have your customers’ contact numbers and need to convey important information, it may be easier to connect right now with a quick SMS (text message) update.
5. Signage at your physical location.
Indicate the changes and or closures, when they take effect and when you will re-evaluate the situation. Make your external or window signage about COVID-19 large enough to be read from the street so customers don’t have to find parking and approach the business to understand the situation.
If you are temporarily closed, let customers know how to reach you with questions. If you are open but have social distancing practices in place, make sure this is clearly marked. You may want to post directives but also use bright tape on the floor to help people queue, for example.