Timely resources for sellers

How to Manage Your Service Business During COVID-19

Mallory A. Russell, Head of Content Marketing
Square

Your service business revolves around customer relationships. Right now, you may feel like things came to a halt and you need to figure out how to completely reopen a service business. But there are steps you can take to continue working with your customers and prepare for a COVIDSafe Australia. Reaching out to your customers, even through emails, social, channels, and the old fashion phone call can make a lasting impression.

Besides our overall operational management tips, we’ve also compiled service business tips for your specific line of business right now — whether you provide hair styling, massage therapy, personal training, tutoring, tax support, home repairs, manicures, or cleaning services.

Communicate with your customers

Customers are the lifeblood of your business, so keeping them informed is critical and helps build trust. Here are a few ways to do that:

Update your business hours and booking availability

Set your new operating hours for each of your service business locations in Square Appointments to let customers know when you have reduced hours or are closed. You can adjust your booking availability in Square Appointments to prevent new appointments from being booked when you’re unavailable.

Post updates on your website

If you’re changing the way you operate, make sure you post that information on your website, your social profiles, and your review site profiles. If you use Square Appointments, add a temporary message related to COVID-19 and the COVIDSafe app to the top of your online booking site.

Send emails and post on social media

Remember email? It’s still one of the most effective (and easiest) ways to communicate with your customers. Keep your customers up to date: let them know how they can support your service business, what your new hours are, or if you’re closing for a period of time. Communicate that information on your social channels, through email, or wherever else your customers engage with you.

Set up appointments for product pickup or private shopping

If you’re selling products, you can keep yourself and your employees safe — and give your customers some flexibility — by providing time slots using appointment scheduling software such as Square Appointment features for picking up orders or contact-free shopping. Have customers make an appointment on your service business online booking site.

Maintain your cash flow

Whether or not you’re an essential service business, you need to continue to bring in revenue, safely. Here are a few ways you can do that:

Use touch-free or remote payments

If you’re still seeing customers in person, you want to make sure you’re having as little contact as possible when customers pay. You might consider disabling the signature and receipt screens during checkout. Or you could use a remote payment option like invoices. (Learn about Square’s point of sale for small service businesses and touch-free and remote payment options.)

Sell digital gift cards

Online gift cards can help increase cash flow while your business is closed or only partially open. You can quickly set up an online ordering page and then promote Square Gift Cards to your loyal customers — who want to show their support. You can design custom ones with marketing business gift cards, and if you use Square Appointments, your customers can pay with gift cards directly on your online booking site.

Implement prepayments

If you’re taking appointments — either for now or later — you can aid your cash flow by asking for payment upfront. You can access funds now by requiring that customers prepay for fixed-price services when they book online with Square Appointments.

Sell your products online

Connect with your customers in a new way and start selling online. You can easily create an online store or sell via social media or email. If you create a service business website, you can also embed your online booking site into the navigation.

Try virtual appointments with video calls

You may have had a virtual meetup with friends or family recently. Why not do the same with your service business clients? You can set up your appointments to take place on a video platform like Google Meet, Zoom, or Skype.

More ideas by business type

Need some help thinking through specific ideas for shifting your business? We’ve come up with a few service business tips for different service types to get you started:

Beauty and personal care

  • Consider shipping at-home beauty kits with shampoo, conditioner, and moisturising treatments so that customers can feel pampered at home.
  • You know people are worried about not getting their colour treatments, so try custom touch-up colour kits available for pickup, or virtual consultations to walk customers through the process.
  • Manicure, pedicure, or facial on-the-go kits are great for people to order for themselves or to send to someone who could use a pick-me-up. You can use Square marketing business gift card feature to design unique cards for each service,
  • Give your business a makeover with Square. Our Beauty POS turns any tablet or smartphone into a complete point of sale for small service business. You’ll have payments, inventory, digital receipts, and more at your fingertips.

Healthcare and fitness

  • Offer virtual service business appointments or consultations so that clients can continue any treatment or ask questions they may have during this time.
  • Virtual personal training or fitness classes are a fun way for people to keep up with their fitness. Invite people to dial in with friends to make it a group activity.
  • Consider sending out periodic emails, posting health or wellness tips to social media, or sharing a workout inspiration playlist for your clients.
  • Get your business in shape with Square Health and Fitness POS. Its flexibility is perfect for businesses that are always on the go.

Professional services

  • Continue to meet with existing clients via virtual appointments and send any forms or documents electronically, even ones requiring a signature.
  • Use email and social media to share timely information about your industry that might affect your clients.

Education

  • Conduct lessons or tutoring sessions online via video to continue working with students.
  • Try at-home assignments that encourage activity rather than focusing on a workbook. For example, you might assign math problems based on grocery shopping or writing recipes.
  • Hold virtual service business office hours for students who might require extra help right now.

Home and repair

  • If your business allows it, consider going to a contact-free model. Use a combination of email, phone calls, and video chats to update customers, and send any contracts or paperwork over email.
  • Create a drop-off location using the guidelines from COVIDSafe Australia so customers can safely return any equipment or products they’ve used.
  • If you’re doing in-home visits, first ask if anyone in the residence is ill or has flu-like symptoms before entering. Wear gloves or a mask, and sanitise and disinfect as you go.

Discuss service business tips like how to adapt and shift your business with other business owners in one of our Community groups: