Did you know that “40-60% of small businesses never reopen their doors following a disaster?” The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) suggests that companies plan for business continuity during an emergency. As Floridians, you already have plans in place for natural disasters. But, a pandemic poses unique threats.
The COVID-19 emergency may not be resolved for months. During this time, your customers still need you. But, how can you provide excellent customer care if all non-essential employees are sent home?
In this new age of rapidly developing obstacles, virtual work and outsourcing are your friends. Not only for this emergency but going forward, you may find an increased need to rely on technology more than before. Learn what steps you can take today to protect your company during the COVID-19 emergency.
1. Shift Vital Data and Processes to the Cloud
While it’s important to store data in several areas, only the cloud gives you access from anywhere. Various cloud services exist where you pay a monthly fee to put company documents and software on your cloud system. If a natural disaster or pandemic occurs, then you can continue with business as usual. Cloud services may also offer:
- Automatic backups for crucial programs and information
- Advanced data protection
- Help with regulatory compliance
2. Develop a Remote Work Strategy
Although your office may be open today, with the COVID-19 pandemic, there’s no guarantee that it’ll stay open over the next few months. If your staff hasn’t worked from home before, then it’s a good idea to develop plans now. Key considerations include:
- Determine which job functions can be done remotely and which must be performed on-site
- Choose systems for communications, whether that’s a VoIP dashboard or a service like Slack, Trello, or Asana
- Create a work-from-home checklist for your staff with log-in information and best practices
- Define your expectations for remote workers, such as times for checking in or weekly team meetings
Once you’ve developed your remote work strategy, then it’s time to test it out. Set a few practice runs and mock scenarios. Involve all staff by asking everyone to work-from-home for a few hours during a regular workweek. Next, gather feedback from department heads. Tweak your plan and upload instructions to your cloud system.
3. Review Your Business Continuity Plan
Now is an excellent time to go over risks to your business and assess your needs. Start by asking all employees to update their phone numbers and email addresses. Then, make sure you have a plan in place to contact your teams if your office must shut down for days or weeks. If your office has several departments, then create a business continuity team.
- Ask each team to review and report business risks related to COVID-19
- Brainstorm ways to mitigate threats if you’ll be out of the office for an extended time
- Create a resource list for remote help with marketing or lead generation
- Make a list of all suppliers to contact in an emergency
4. Adjust Marketing and Promotions
Many companies run marketing campaigns on autopilot. You may schedule emails or social media messages in advance. As the COVID-19 situation develops, it’s essential to go over all current, ongoing, and scheduled campaigns. The last thing you want is to sound tone-deaf or opportunistic during a national crisis. Pivot your marketing to meet new pain points that stem from the pandemic.
- Curate content highlighting community spirit
- Share inspirational graphics or memes
- Generate customer loyalty with trustworthy messages
- Offer tips to ease into remote life or other lifestyle changes
5. Outsource Critical Sales, Marketing, and User Interactions
Going forward, you may have many staff members off work. This may be due to illness, state-mandated quarantine, or for parents who care for children. Regardless of what goes on in your workplace, consistency is the key to success. Avoid a disconnect in messaging and customer services by investing in virtual assistance. For instance:
- Remote teams keep your pipeline full using the latest lead generation activities
- Third-party businesses manage user interactions across touchpoints for a seamless experience
- Certified online marketing companies maintain your digital plan for continued results during a crisis
Build Resilience With a Strategy for COVID-19
Uncertainty hurts sales and inconsistency leads to mistrust. During regular times this impacts your business. But, with a COVID-19 emergency, it’s crucial to provide clear messaging. Protect your company by taking steps to deliver a positive customer experience with every interaction.