Since March 2020, we have been learning more about COVID-19 every day. Now that the economy has begun to open up, businesses everywhere are following precautionary measures to keep their staff and customers safe while still receiving services. Below are four essential tips to consider that will help support customers, staff, and partners as your business reopens.
Prepare and Maintain a Response Plan
To succeed as the economy enters its second quarter of the COVID-19 pandemic, businesses in all industries and of all sizes must have an action plan to address the specific challenges created by the outbreak. The outbreak is impacting how companies operate, their clientele, their employees, and even hours of operation. Knowing how to navigate these dynamic changes and having a flexible plan in place is the first step in adjusting the business strategy.
Effectively Communicate Consistently
In every relationship, communication is vital, and business relationships are no different. Having transparency in your business operations and response plan will help your business increase the level of trust with customers and partners. Utilize the guidance from federal, state, and local agencies to prepare recommendations and resources for your employees and office visitors to follow. These instructions will create an environment where they know what to expect and can better understand the precautionary measures taken to help prevent the spread of the outbreak. Potential strategies to increase effective communication include instituting an email outreach plan to directly address the COVID-19 pandemic, establishing a customer care hotline for digital and online businesses, and even sending “old school” postcards to your customers with helpful information.
Be Financially Nimble
The pandemic abruptly interrupted many lives without warning, including their finances. One way to alleviate some financial stress is by helping customers and partners out in creative ways during difficult times. If your business has the financial flexibility, consider establishing temporary relief aid – whether providing “payment holidays,” offering discounts to make products and services more affordable, or giving customers credits to their accounts. These types of initiatives can enhance relationships and payoff in the long run.
Protect Your Employees
Your business is only as healthy as those helping you run it, and your employees will appreciate the measures you take to care for their needs. With over 60% of the U.S. workforce now working from home, mental wellness checks are crucial for maintaining a healthy work environment. Offering your employees a few paid days off to regroup, or providing employees with “thank you” gift cards, are just two examples of thoughtful ways to show your workforce that you value their efforts and health.
While these are not the only steps needed to reopen your business effectively, they represent a great start. There are also many excellent resources online that can assist you, including The Guide to Reopening Your Business by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.