Times are tough right now. As social distancing measures increase and self-isolation becomes the new normal, we are witnessing the great impact on friends, family and businesses within our community.
We understand how overwhelming it is for businesses who have had a sudden change in their operating hours or who had to temporarily shut their doors. Now, more than ever, communication with your customers is important. Our team have pulled together a checklist below, for you to ensure this transition is as smooth as possible while focusing on maintaining a relationship with your customers over the next few months.
Google My Business
If you’ve had a change in operating hours, temporary closure or change in information, you will need to update your Google My Business listing. Google has provided guidance on updating these items, which you can view here.
Updating your Website
Any recent changes to your trading hours, contact details or other important information needs to be updated on your website as soon as possible. Also check the following:
If you have auto-messages or chatbots on your website, ensure you are sending the right response to suit your current situation, whether it be a temporary closure or new operating hours.
Does your business offer gift vouchers? If your customers have a gift voucher set to expire during your period of closure, we recommend communicating you will honour them at a later date. Be sure to update your gift vouchers page on your website with all necessary information surrounding the use of gift cards.
Third-party booking systems
You will need to prioritise updating your information with third-party booking systems to avoid new bookings and reservations being made, while also contacting customers who have made bookings to inform them of your updated hours or need to make cancellations.
Moving your business online
Is it possible to move your business, or parts of your business online? Consider upgrading to an e-commerce website to sell your products online if you haven’t already. For our hospitality friends, we can help set you up with your own online food ordering system (which won’t incur ongoing commission charges) for your takeaway orders. We’re also working with health and wellbeing professionals, as well as those offering professional services to help them move their business online.
Of course, we’re happy to help with website updates or upgrades should you need further support.
Social Media Updates
Your customers are turning to social media for information, and you need to be prepared with the correct information and messaging.
If there are any changes in your usual operating hours or services you offer, be sure to let your customers know as soon as possible. Social media posts are often the quickest way to send out an update. Beyond this, and regardless of whether you are temporarily closing or limiting opening hours, you will need to decide on your social media content plan going forward. We recommend continuing to stay connected with your community. Think about:
- What type of content do you want to continue to share into the future?
- How do you contribute online in a positive, responsible way?
- How often will you post?
- How can you best support and engage with your community?
- Can you try different social media platforms or tools (IGTV, Facebook Groups, Facebook Live etc?)
- How can you connect with social campaigns, community groups etc to help promote your business?
Do you have auto-messaging turned on? Just like your website’s chatbot, your Facebook auto-reply feature needs to reflect your current operation hours and any recent changes to business information. Even if your business is temporarily closed, ensure you still promptly get back to customers who have reached out to you.
Finally, you will need to update any information that is no longer accurate in your bios across your social media pages (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter & LinkedIn).
With important announcements and updates, it’s a good idea to contact your database to be sure all your customers are aware of any changes.
Emailing your contacts
Email is a great way to contact all of your customers quickly. Our preferred platform to manage communications is MailChimp, which allows you to create messages designed with reference to your brand guidelines and sent out in no time.
Sending a text
If you communicate with your customers via text message, it’s important to advise them of any changes to business as soon as possible. This includes sending cancellation texts to those who have made bookings, and ensuring that automatic reminders of upcoming bookings are turned off.
As always, we’re here to help if you need some extra support.Let's chat