Updated: May 15
Coronavirus outbreak, a fast-happening human tragedy, affecting thousands of people. Due to coronavirus, workers taking sick days off, customers staying inside, the owners of small and medium-sized businesses are scrambling to figure out how to deal with the disruption to their operation. In China and Italy, COVID-19 already creates catastrophic situations in business. In China, 70% of Beijing restaurants are remaining closed. Italy has designated several billion dollars in aid, including tax cuts and credits for companies. The economy has been affected by the outbreak in ways large and small, including stock market declines, supply chain backups and company cancellations of business travel and meetings in the USA and some parts of the world.
As the COVID-19 virus situation continues evolving, it’s time to take precautionary measures to protect your business. This article is intended to provide business owners with a perspective on the evolving situation and implications for their businesses. Here is a list of some best practices in order to keep your business running smoothly during this period. Every company should follow these practices to help employees avoid exposure to this COVID-19 virus strain.
1. Stay Updated to Keep Your Business Safe
Now, it is high time to stay updated on health guidelines from trusted and reliable sources like Health Organization, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or Public Health Emergency. Update your employees with the latest news and health regulations. Create effective and instructional health guidelines for employees Which will not only create awareness about this new viral infection but also avoid it. Create a clean and hygienic workplace for your employees. Make sure everyone is following health protocol.
2. Implement Flexible Working Arrangement Plans to Prevent Virus Strain
Allowing employees to work from home is the best way to prevent contamination given that human-to-human transmission is possible. By implementing a flexible working arrangement, you are actually eliminating the possibility of transmission at the office. In today’s modern age, most people have a computer, a phone, high-speed internet connection. So, if possible, encourage them to work from home. Look out for coronavirus common symptoms like dry cough, breath shortness or fever. If any of your workers have those symptoms, advise them to admit to the hospital immediately. If they are not feeling well or traveled recently, tell them to stay at home to prevent the virus from spreading. Add travel updates based on where people are coming from.
3. Postpone/Schedule Events, Services or Appointments
While the speed of every business falling down, be flexible with your business scheduling. Extend or waiving the customers' membership plans or packages. If possible, postpone any business events, any services or appointments and schedule it to a later date. Postponing or canceling any events or appointments may be good thinking in order to ensure keep everyone safe. You can always schedule that event at a convenient time. If the events can be held virtually, move your event online.
4. Communicate with Your Employee
“Effective communication is the key to success in life, work and relationships.” One of the most important things is communication with your staff. Use all available media that can help to effectively communicate the message to all employees. From sticking posters on the wall to emails, chat groups, videos, news bulletins, social media. Use all of them use effectively to collaborate with every employee. Meetings can be done over Skype, Google Hangouts. Gather information from reputable and trusted news outlets and health professionals engaged in researching the virus.
5. Communicate with Customer Proactively
Communicate with your customers through live chat. Keep them update about product inventory or services, about any business event. Tell your customers to put their trust in you. Perform email marketing campaign to aware your customers about the changes to your business policies or special offers. Create a business forum on your website where you can actively discuss your business, responds to any queries. Use your business social media page to keep updates to your followers. Be transparent to your customers.
6. Update Your Website
Update your website and social media page in order to keep your customers in the loop. Give updates with any kind of changes about business hours, refund policies, shipping delays, events or service cancelations, special offerings, customer membership plans or packages. Like I said before, you can create a forum and FAQ section to your website to update and answer customer's queries.
7. Provide All Possible Facilities to Customers
Provide your customers with all possible extra facilities including easy payment options. Get creative and consider workarounds, innovative solutions and be flexible so you can ensure customers will return. Give them Online Pay option using their phones or limit the transactions to contactless “tap” payments. Disable on-screen signature if you are using POS system. You may also give out the online invoicing to digitize the payment process. Ensure that payment method that they are flexible.
8. Offer Discount, Be Transparent to Refund Policy
Offering coupons or discounts is a great practice to hold your customers. So, offer a coupon or discount for their next purchase as compensation. Be transparent and avoid chargebacks by giving refunds as soon as possible. This is very important to maintain valuable relationships with customers. Although, refund process depends on the payment gateway provider, but try to handle the refunds quickly. Show them the real importance of their value as a customer.
9. Coronavirus Safety Measures
Besides all of these COVID-19 safety measures, there are some additional safety tips you should deploy. Health Organization, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or Public Health Emergency have laid out ways to avoid viral infections by using non-invasive implements such as face masks, alcohol-based hand sanitizers, and maintaining good personal hygiene. So, as the owner, you should hand out free masks to all your staff or employees. Make sure all the employee is masking up wherever appropriate to. Besides providing free masks and sanitizers, the cleaning facilities should be increased. Lunch could be catered to minimize employees' crowd in a food center. Encourage office staff or employees and customers to eat their meals in their own place instead of a food center or a restaurant. Disposable wears can be used. Food can be served on disposable plates.
Fighting with a virus is not so difficult if we follow the coronavirus safety guidelines. We know all the precautionary measures or safety guidelines. We have to just follow them. Be clean, wash your hands frequently, avoid unnecessary contact and touching of the face especially eyes, nose and mouth, use face mask, maintaining good personal hygiene.
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