You have no doubt heard about the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. There’s still a lot of uncertainty about how severe the outbreak will become, but one thing is certain—many people are taking precautions to avoid coming in contact with others. Indeed, you may already be seeing a decrease in customers visiting your business or even dealing with staffing issues. To help you take preemptive action and deal with any ongoing issues related to coronavirus, here are 5 strategies you can incorporate at your business.
1. Take Personal Preventative Measures for You and Your Employees
It can place a huge burden on your business if you or any of your employees get sick, so your number one concern should be to keep yourself and your staff healthy. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), the coronavirus is a respiratory illness that spreads from person to person primarily from contact when an infected person coughs or sneezes. To minimize exposure, ensure that you and your employees:
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
- If soap and water aren’t available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol
2. Enforce a “Don’t Come to Work if You’re Sick” Policy
The CDC recommends that anyone exhibiting symptoms of respiratory illness (such as fever, cough, or shortness of breath) stay home from work and contact their medical provider. As a business owner, it’s important to enforce this as a policy, so as to protect yourself, other employees, and your customers. It’s also important from a public-perception standpoint. If a customer comes in and witnesses one of your employees coughing and sneezing, they’re going to fear the worse and could easily tell other customers or leave a damaging review online.
If you have employees who do not have sick leave, be prepared to address their concerns about lost wages if they stay home sick. Some possibilities you might want to consider could include having a sick employee work from home if their duties are suited to it, or providing an advance on sick-time/vacation time.
3. Protect Employees and Customers During the Checkout Process
The checkout process is quite literally a hands-on interaction, whether a customer physically hands you cash or touches your payment terminal to complete a credit transaction. Here are some common-sense actions you can take to minimize contact and the spread of germs:
- If you are running SpotOn Marketing or Loyalty, encourage your customers to download the SpotOn consumer mobile app so as to minimize how much they come into contact with the screen when checking in or redeeming offers
- Clean all touchscreen devices (e.g. loyalty tablets, PIN-pads, POS stations, etc.) with disinfectant wipes frequently
- Provide complimentary hand sanitizer or hand wipes at the checkout for any concerned customers to utilize
- If your payment terminal has contactless payment capabilities, encourage your customers to "tap" and pay with Apple Pay, Google Pay, or a contactless card
- If you have a touchscreen payment terminal, disable the signature requirements on credit purchases
If you are a SpotOn merchant, please know that our team is on standby 24/7 to help if you need assistance or have questions about your POS system, payment terminal, tablet, or any of our software offerings. Our support team can be reached at (877) 814-4102 or via email at support@SpotOn.com.
4. Communicate to Your Customers That You Are Being Proactive to Protect Them
Once you have taken the appropriate precautions to protect your employees and your customers, send a marketing email to your customers letting them know what’s going on. Some details you might want to mention include:
- Acknowledge that they might have concerns about the Coronavirus
- Ensure them that you are taking measures to protect them, your employees, and your community at-large, and specify what those measures are, if appropriate
- Let them know if you offer any products or services that might help them during this time of uncertainty
- Inform them about any changes to your normal business hours, as well as the status of any planned events
5. Utilize Technology to Leverage Alternative Revenue Sources
Make sure that you are taking advantage of the technology available to you, so you can accommodate customers who want to minimize their time out in public. If you’re a SpotOn merchant, in particular, there are numerous tools available for you to create additional revenue sources and mitigate the decrease in sales from your normal business avenues. Here are some ideas to consider:
- Give your customers the option of placing phone or email orders and utilize the Virtual Terminal built in to your SpotOn Dashboard to process their payments
- If you need to take orders while working remotely, you can also download SpotOn Mobile, our free payments app, to run transactions right from your phone
- SpotOn Restaurant POS clients can take advantage of our integrated online ordering so customers can easily order take-out or delivery rather than dining in
- SpotOn Appointments clients can take advantage of both our online appointment booking capabilities and our text-chat capabilities to communicate with clients in real-time
- Get creative in addressing how you interact with your customers
Lastly, please know that the SpotOn team is here to help in any way we can. Whether it’s setting up a unique use-case for taking payments, building a new website to create an online presence, helping you stay in touch with your customers, or implementing another software solution, we are ready to help your businesses, so please don’t hesitate to reach out!
Our support team can be reached at (877) 814-4102 or via email at support@SpotOn.com.