How has COVID-19 affected your customers?
COVID-19 may have significantly changed customer priorities, buying patterns and distribution channel preferences.
Prepare for changes in customer behavior, employee protections, supply chain and operations as you work toward a sustainable operating model.
Why it matters
Consumers are responding positively to resumptions following the early phases of COVID-19, provided businesses have considered necessary health precautions and adapted their practices.
It’s important to start working on changes to your business, whether for the sake of public health, to address a new market or to demonstrate strength that builds customer confidence.
How will you adapt your business to demonstrate strength, leadership and commitment to customers and staff?
Communicate, communicate, communicate
Make use of email, text, website updates and social media. Regular updates show your business is alive, even if closed or with limited operations. It assures customers they are valued. Direct your messaging toward pandemic-related problems your business can help customers address.
Formulate ramp-up guidelines and milestones
Start with requirements by your state, local government and professional organizations. What additional changes do you need to make? You may need to ramp up in stages. Establishing a rollout plan with milestones for each stage can give you, your staff and your customers a roadmap for the coming months.
Rebuild supply chain
Reforecast demand (like everything else, update frequently), and project the impact on your partners and vendors. Talk to all your suppliers to understand their situations and their capabilities.
Take a hard look at staffing
What model is best as you ramp up? Talk to your employees and understand what will make them comfortable getting back to work. If work can stay remote, leave it that way for now. You, as owner, may need to assume several roles.
Pay attention to back office
Back office is where activity will rise as the business picks up. Look at easy-to-implement remote services for payroll, online bill pay, ACH, and online cash management to give you more flexibility for remote operation.
Rethink fraud protection
As your staff works remotely, fraud is always a concern. COVID-19 has spawned new scams, such as fake “COVID-19 relief” programs and disrupted regular financial checks and balances.
Think about your people
Consider both your employees and your customers. What additional protections will be required? Encourage your customers to come back by committing to strict standards to keep them safe.
Use online bill pay
Online bill pay is a secure and efficient way to manage business payments.