We’ve been hit with the second wave of the Coronavirus. Number of cases are on an incline in British Columbia, businesses have once again shuttered across the Netherlands and some places in Europe have set a strict curfew for their citizens.
Undoubtedly, the vexing virus has been the biggest economic tsunami to hit the world in the last 5 decades. The number of infections and deaths worldwide is fast surpassing World War I and II. But, the economic impact of it isn’t yet completely understood by anyone.
Protect your business by following municipality specific COVID-19 guidelines to commence a safe environment and offer online appointment booking. By adapting to an all inclusive scheduling software, you have the opportunity to screen patients and customers in advance for health and safety measures, inter alia. Though the situation seems prevalent, there are tactics to prepare your business and avoid losing sleep. For instance:
- Self Assessment: Every business should have a self-assessment protocol in place where customers are asked standard questions to identify potential infections. The following is an example of an assessment form created with Yocale’s form management. Once the customer books online, the form will be emailed automatically to the client and fulfilled;
- Social Distancing: To the extent possible, your customers should practice social distancing in your place of business. If they are standing in a line to use your service, the floor must be marked with 6’ markers.
- Masks are required for many municipalities. And, highly recommended for nearly all others.
- Ample disinfection stands throughout your business. Be sure to provide a proper disinfecting solution (at least %75 alcohol content) in your place of business. Card readers, menus, tables and chairs are some of the items that must be disinfected after each use.
It’s a necessity to have a contingency plan during this epoch. Let’s consider the following to protect and prepare:
1. Emergency Planning
a. Do you have a Business Continuity Plan that addresses disease outbreaks? A Business Continuity Plan helps you plan and prepare for any kind of interruption to operations, including disease outbreaks. We did our due diligence and located the following agencies with a list of resources to help:
b. Have you communicated and practiced your Business Continuity Plan with employees? Tip- run practice exercises with your staff on how you would respond in various situations.
c. Does your Business Continuity Plan include steps to continue operations with reduced employee levels? Tip– Consider scenarios where your key staff or a large portion of your workforce would be unable to work.
2. Protect Employees
a. Are you following up-to-date guidelines from global and local health authorities? Stay informed with the latest information through the following websites:
b. Are you actively promoting recommended workplace cleanliness and hygiene measures? Be sure to display the hand wash reminder posters.
c. Will you offer telework arrangements? Consider equipment, policies and communication tools required to put a remote work structure in place. Tip– Try Video Conferencing for team connections and to avoid feelings of isolation.
d. Show your customers that you are taking care of your employees. Put a message on top of your website and update your Google My Business. Make sure your staff will feel safe when communicating and connecting with customers by providing face masks, protective sneeze guards for restaurants, and optional face shields.
3. Continued Operations
Ask yourself the following to strategize a business emergency plan:
a. How will you respond to possible decreases in local tourist demand for your goods and services?
b. Do you have enough inventory and supplies on hand?
c. Does your business have insurance that covers the risk of disease outbreaks?
d. Have you considered the financial and administrative impact of an outbreak?
Planning for the future is vital, but planning for today is indispensable.
4. Bring Joy and Support Your Customers’ Emotional Needs
Customers are favouring experiences over more material purchases, especially during these unfortunate times. To gain a unique, more human and emotional connection, genuinely addressing customer needs and leading with empathy is a must. You can cheer your customers and stand out from the crowd with bold and beautiful visual identity and product designs. For instance, many people are forced to stay at and work from home, and by using custom printed products for restaurants such as branded cups and bags you bring some happiness to your loyal customers, in addition to lots of shares and likes on social media!
Set up Appointment-based Bookings
If your business is appointment based and customers need to be serviced face-to-face or physically, the way you deliver your service has changed drastically due to COVID-19. Optimistically, there is absolutely no better time to adapt to an online scheduling and booking platform than today.
For instance, do you keep a paper-based contact-tracing form? Are you certain that clients are providing their information accurately and completely? Are you keeping the previous “2 weeks” client records available? Dispose of the obsolete pen and paper method and use resources technology has made feasible. Store your confidential data safely and in one place with Yocale’s client management tool.
Things to consider:
1. Contact Tracing – As compulsory in various regions, you need to provide an accurate list of your patrons during the day, with their name and contact details. The contact details are essential in case of the disease outbreak.
2. COVID-19 Forms – Screen to ensure visitors at your facility are free of COVID-19 symptoms and to avoid high-risk candidates in advance. You can build any form you desire, to obtain any type of information. As illustrated, the following form is a prime example that can be created in minutes:
Choosing your Software
To ensure you’ve selected the best scheduling and appointment booking software, consider asking the following questions before committing:
- Efficient Business Setup- Confirm the software you commit to has dedicated onboarding assistance, client transfer and excellent Youtube tutorials and resources to assist you every step of the way.
- Integrate seamlessly with your business calendar. Such as Outlook and Google Calendar. Why? So every current and future appointments marked on your business calendar are automatically transferred to the new system.
- Accessible on all platforms – Make sure calendar, video conferencing, forms and more are accessible on Mobile and tablet devices. Why? In 2019 alone, 76% of individuals used their mobile devices to book appointments and 12% of clicks turned into confirmed online booking. It’s important for your scheduling provider to support all common devices: iOS Phone, Android Phones, Tablets, iPads and of course PC’s!
- Powerful Booking Widget: Would you spend 15 minutes online trying to book an appointment? We would decipher, no! Sync the innovative booking widget to your website and provide a revolutionary booking experience for your your customers. Bonus! Yocale’s booking widget is incorporated with Google Analytics to give you the real time data on your customers. d you spend 15 minute
- It has to be Free- Nothing is free in life? Not quite, many online appointments scheduling services are Free. Of course, as your business grows and your needs evolve, you can upgrade to a paid subscription plan, too.
To operate a profitable business, you need to obtain a competitive advantage and prepare your business with a contingency plan, inter alia. To protect your business, offer a revolutionary booking widget and screen your patients in advance to avoid your doors shuttering. There are a variety of resources and funding available for navigating Covid-19. In addition, take advantage of the economic response plan offered by your local government.