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How small businesses can stay in touch and retain customers during the Coronavirus outbreak

While social distancing is imperative in the fight against COVID-19, it’s wreaking some serious havoc on small businesses. As more and more people are staying safely at home, small business owners are undoubtedly feeling the financial hit – especially for those who rely on in-store sales or appointments in order to keep their business afloat. If you’re worried about the long-term impact of the coronavirus outbreak, you’re not alone. But thankfully, we have tons of tools and technology to help not only keep in touch with your customers, but to retain business with them as well. Below are four ways small businesses can safely stay engaged and retain customers during the coronavirus outbreak. 

Offer your services through a video chat or conference.

Your customers are likely looking for a way to interact virtually, and many are in the fortunate position to try and help support local businesses. Offering your services through a video chat or conference will not only help provide customers with a service they want or need, but allow them to give back to their community. Make it even easier for them by using small business scheduling software. Plus, engaging and socializing with your customers while they’re in the comfort of their own home can help many who are feeling isolated or bored. Zoom, Skype, and Google Hangouts are all great tools that your small business can utilize for virtual services. Customers will remember the positive experience they had with your business while quarantining at home, meaning it’s likely you’ll retain their business once the world resumes back to normal. 

Make gift cards available for purchase.

Having your small business promote the purchase of gift cards can help in a multitude of ways. First, gift card purchases will give your business an immediate cash flow – a tremendous benefit if your brick-and-mortar store is closed for business. A gift card is not only instant cash in your pocket, it’s the understanding that a customer will be continuing to use your service or store in the future, after the outbreak dissipates. You can use message blasts to send out offers like this.

Ramp up your social media efforts.

There is truly no time like the present to start putting more into your small business’ social media accounts. With customers isolated at home, many are on their computer, laptop, or phone trying to stay connected to their friends and family. Ramping up your online presence with apps like Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter will help to put your business directly in front of your customer’s eyes in a non-invasive way. 

Take things one step further by promoting a Facebook Live or Instagram Live video, and do something creative that’s within your business’ sphere of education. For instance, if you’re a hair salon owner, offer your viewers a DIY tutorial on mastering a fishtail braid. If you’re a yoga instructor, perform a 10-minute yoga routine where viewers can participate from the comfort of their own home. By giving your customers something to do, you’re helping to break up the monotony of quarantine: something they’ll remember long after the coronavirus outbreak is over.

Revamp your email communication.

Email is by far and wide the easiest method of communication from business to consumer, especially during the coronavirus outbreak. But how can your small business not only stay in touch, but stand out during this period of quarantine? First, be careful not to overwhelm your customers with an inflow of messages. Remember, hundreds of businesses are likely sending emails straight to their inbox as well. Before you email, make sure to ask yourself, “Is this information helpful or useful to the customer?” If the answer is “no,” reconsider the content you’re sending, or try adding in something that would be of value to your customer, such as a special promotion or giveaway you’re offering.

The coronavirus outbreak has impacted the world on a massive scale, but that doesn’t mean that your small business can’t utilize the available tools to keep in touch — and retain — your customers during the pandemic. 

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