As the reality of counter-measures to COVID-19 have spread, and as we have begun working with clients in Wichita and beyond to speak with their own customer bases about their measures, what they’re improving, and how COVID-19 is affecting their business practices, we’ve heard and seen a lot of questions arise.
A lot of small businesses, just like us, are unsure of what the future holds. As the CDC recommended postponing all events that include 50 or more people last night, many industries are facing an uncertain future. Most of our clients are asking us how they should respond, if they should, and what they can do now to help mitigate changes across the country.
Do I Need to Say Anything About COVID-19?
The first question most of our clients have been asking is, “Do I need to even say anything?” Honestly, that’s 100% up to you as a business owner. You know your clientele. I’ll be honest in that I’ve definitely seen and felt some “COVID fatique” over the last couple of days. If you don’t feel like you saying anything will add to the conversation or help your business and your customers feel more at ease, you may not need to. In Wichita, we are lucky in that we have only had one case treated at our local hospital, but it was an individual from out of our county. Our local situation is very different from many other communities.
However, if your employees and customers come in close contact with one another, you provide a food service, or you’re required to even touch your clients (i.e. a massage therapist), explaining how you’re keeping your clients safe can only help. Use your best judgement, and put yourself in your customers’ shoes.
What and How do I Communicate My Measures?
The world is full of news right now. The best way to get in front of your clients is by going where your most loyal followers are right now. That can include social media – including client groups, email, or your website to let them know what your measures are. Choose a spot where you know your best engagement is and post in a few places to ensure your message is getting across.
If you’re sharing on your website, create a new page all together or utilizing a pop-up can be a great way to get attention. Linking from your social media to the page on your website also allows you to share a shorter version of the message but give clients a place to go to learn more should they like to.
What Should I Be Focused On Right Now?
Now is an odd time, with no one really knowing what is going to happen tomorrow, let alone next week. The important thing right now is to focus on your community.
Right now especially, social media is full of a lot of fear. Emotions are running high. Take extra care to be empathetic and careful with your language. Focus on the issues your clients are facing and how your company can provide services to alleviate some of those issues. Those services may not be your norm, but they are things that you might be able to help with.
But most importantly, now is a fantastic time to build your community. Focusing on the support you can provide in the uncertain time, and being sincere in that support, can help people see your business and a brand in a totally different way.
We have clients adjusting their services in a variety of ways to help those who are scared and nervous about the world, germs, and more. One of our clients, an auto shop, is offering free car pick-up and drop off, with sanitizing contact surfaces, to alleviate and maintain social distancing. Others are partnering with delivery services, stepping up their cleaning and disinfecting game, and ensuring that their staff are home when they’re not feeling well. Minor measures, but things that can help those who are more vulnerable or are more uncertain about the spread.
In short, be real with who you are, what your company’s mission is, and focus on providing, if nothing else, emotional support to your customers and clients.