How Small Businesses Can Communicate With Customers During the Covid-19 Pandemic

Helping Small Businesses during Covid-19

In less than a month, the entire world has been turned upside down.

People are home, and many businesses have closed their doors (hopefully not for long).

As an owner of a small business, I am saddened by the impact the coronavirus pandemic is having on small businesses across the country.

According to a survey completed by NFIB, 76% of small businesses (under 360 employees) consider the disruption by Covid-19 to be profound.

With such a major disruption in our everyday lives, there is one thing every business, both large and small, are in control of – communications.

Over my 30 years of working in the call center space, effective communication during a crisis is critical.

I want to share some cost-effective tips small business owners can utilize to have communication continuity with their customers.

Create an Email Newsletter

A quick and affordable solution is to create an email newsletter. Email is an essential tool, especially for small businesses. 

Email marketing tools, apart from being easy to manage and to help your business-customer communication, it is also a cost-effective tool. You can even find free email services.

Some of the most recommended and affordable email marketing apps you will find online include: 

 

Mailchimp 

A trendy choice is Mailchimp, which has a wide offer of plans. This tool has a free plan, but it has limited features that are unblocked with monthly fee plans starting at $9. 99.

Homepage of Mailchimp

Sendinblue

Sendinblue is always at the top of the lists of tools for email marketing. Easy to use and manage, perfect for anybody who hasn’t had much experience in the marketing area. The free plan allows you to send up to 300 emails per day, but the mails will have their branding on. You can unlock a variety of features by changing to a monthly paid plan starting at $25. 

Homepage of Sendinblue

 

GetResponse

Another of the top email marketing tools is GetResponse. It is an easy tool to manage, and it is very helpful for small businesses. It has a 30-day trial after that period has passed, you can try any of the plans they offer starting at $15.

Homepage of GetResponse

Share updates on Social Media

Any modern business should keep all of their social media active with continuous updates, especially during these difficult times. 

Since everyone is (or should be) practicing social distancing, social media platforms are an effective tool to communicate to your audience.

Tools such as Buffer, Sendible, and Hootsuite are perfect for doing this job and helping you and your business to stay active on most or all social media platforms. I came up with a list of the pros of each one and their pricing. 

 

Hootsuite 

  • The big social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest, and Youtube are supported. 
  • Easy to schedule all posts and manage. 
  • Good analytics reports 

Hootsuite Pricing Page

Buffer

  • It has a smart scheduling feature, which will automatically determine when the best time to post.
  • Resizing images and formats for each social media platform is easier. 
  • More affordable plans

Buffer Pricing Page

Sendible

  • All social media platforms are integrated and a significant power for Instagram. 
  • Easy to schedule posts. 
  • In-depth and reporting feature.

Sendible Pricing Page

Hire a Virtual Receptionist

Unanswered calls are potentially lost clients or customers needing your help. A virtual receptionist can help you, especially during these difficult times, to get your business phone calls answered every time.  

Some may think that virtual receptionists are robots, but they are not, they are persons who professionally answer your phone calls. The work done by a virtual receptionist goes far beyond just answering the phone of your company. 

Hiring a virtual receptionist will assure you of:

  • Managing all your calls
  • Taking messages
  • Scheduling appointments and cancellations
  • Provide Business Updates to Clients and Employees
  • Order intake
  • Customer Support
  • Product Support
  • And More

 

Give the best customer support, 24 hours a day, with a live virtual receptionist. Pricing can start as low as $39 per month. You can learn more here.

Send Text Messages to Customers

Text messaging is relevant to any business and its relationship with its customers and employees. There are studies that show that 90% of the SMS are read within the 3 minutes of being delivered. 

Textedly

This tool is easy to use and has a wide offer of plans to choose from. Each of them has different features and prices depending on the customers´ needs. The pricing of this tool goes from a free trial up to the Champion plan that is the most expensive plan of all of them. 

Textedly Pricing Page

Slicktext

This tool is also a good option, it has fewer plans, but it’s cheaper. It is simple to use, and it has an app that makes it even simpler.

SlickText Pricing Page

Simpletexting

The pricing of this tool depends on how many messages your company wants to send per month to its clients. There is an option of paying annually and makes you save 25%. This is a very recommended option for text messaging for small businesses. 

SimpleTexting Pricing Page

TIP: If you use a  virtual receptionist, they can also help you send text messages to either employees, customers, or patients. They follow your business tone of voice and send the correct written communication to everyone. 

 

Take a hospital or any medical facility as an example of how text messages help your business, and how a virtual receptionist helps you with the work. Since we are in a health crisis, most of the hospitals are overworking to save lives. A virtual receptionist can help by sending text messages to the patient and to the doctor, to remind them of an appointment, schedule one, or cancel one. 

 

Take Action

Anyone that has run a business knows that you encounter challenges almost every day.

Even though what the world is living right now is unprecedented, it’s important to take action and move your organization forward.

 

I hope you find these tips helpful.

Stay safe and healthy. 

Pat