The COVID-19 outbreak has impacted almost all businesses around the world. While some establishments have completely shut down, others have resorted to continuing to operate under various restrictions.
Given the current situation, small to medium sized enterprises (SMEs) are dramatically affected, including brick-and-mortar stores, home service providers, restaurants, and many others. However, there are creative ways that you can serve your customers so that your business adapts and thrives during these hard times.
In this article, we will share four valuable pointers for SMEs on how to continue operations despite the current COVID-19 outbreak:
1. Utilize video conferences for face-to-face interactions
Today, you can communicate and interact with people using video conferencing. SMEs can also take advantage of utilizing video conferences to interact with their customers or clients.
There are a handful of video applications and software that can be used for this purpose. Even social media channels enable you to talk to and engage with your customers. A perfect example is Zoom, which is a free video conferencing platform, but where you need to pay a subscription fee if you want to communicate for extended periods with your customers. It’s best when using Zoom to set up a private call for all business interactions to ensure security and professionalism.
2. If you must pursue in-person interactions avoid shared surfaces
Some small businesses are still required to operate to cater to the needs of the general public. These include grocery stores, pharmacies, restaurants (for delivery or pickup), and other essential suppliers. The challenge, however, is in maintaining social distancing to avoid contact and to keep you, your staff, and customers healthy.
The good thing is that you can set safety measures in place where you can pursue in-person interactions while avoiding shared surfaces. For instance, customers can have checkout in a supermarket using contactless cards without direct contact with the employees or the payment terminal.
3. Use text messages to update and communicate
Seeing that communication remains to be the key for many businesses, you should have a variety of processes for reaching out and maintaining contact with customers. You should make a conscious effort to reach out to your customers or clients via text messages or email.
It can be a good practice to share real-time updates regularly, especially for updates regarding promotions or COVID-19 health updates. Furthermore, if customers have any questions, issues, and concerns, remember to be highly responsive in answering their queries, providing solutions to their problems, and addressing their concerns.
4. Take advantage of online payment methods
In today’s world, financial transactions do not have to be made in person. This is mainly because there’s a wide range of online payment methods that every business can utilize.
Online payments can provide customers with various options to pay, such as credit cards, ACH, or other international payment options available in different regions of the world, like iDeal or WeChat Pay.
Your business checkout process should be streamlined and user-friendly for the customer to avoid any potential errors. Most importantly, the payment form must remain secure for the protection of the customers’ confidential information.
Offering an online payment mechanism is a useful way to offer an easy solution for payments that normally might have been made in person, or through other more complicated means.
Finding a solution
Overall, there will always be solutions in every challenging situation. As outlined above, you can utilize video conferences to facilitate face-to-face interactions, pursue in-person interactions by avoiding shared surfaces, use text messages and email to update and communicate, and take advantage of online payment methods.
Despite the COVID-19 outbreak, the current situation doesn’t necessarily have to stop your business from operating and serving the needs of your customers.
If you need a streamlined and beautifully designed payment form, we provide SMEs with a hosted payment page for accepting payments from across the globe. Get in touch with us today!