Your business revolves around customer relationships. Right now, you may feel like things must come to a halt, but there are steps you can take to continue working with your customers.
We’ve compiled tips for managing your business right now — whether you provide blowouts, 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. Here are a few ways to do that:
Update your business hours and booking availability
Set your new operating hours for each of your locations 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 to the top of your online booking site.
Send email and post on social media
Keep your customers up to date: let them know how they can support your 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. If you use Square, you can send a free email.
If you’re selling products, you can keep yourself and your employees safe — and give your customers some flexibility — by providing time slots for picking up orders or contact-free shopping. Have customers make an appointment on your online booking site.
Maintain your cash flow
Whether or not you’re an essential 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 other touch-free and remote payment options.)
Sell digital gift cards
Electronic gift cards can help increase cash flow while your business is closed. You can quickly set up an online ordering page for gift cards and then promote them to your loyal customers — who want to show their support. If you use Square Appointments, your customers can pay with gift cards directly on your online booking site.
If you’re taking appointments — either for now or later — you can aid your cash flow by asking for payment up front. 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 by selling your products online. You can easily create an online store or sell via social media or email. If you create a 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 clients? You can set up your appointments to take place on a video platform like Google Meet 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 ideas for different service types to get you started:
Beauty and personal care
- Consider shipping at-home beauty kits with shampoo, conditioner, and moisturizing treatments so that customers can feel pampered at home.
- You know people are worried about not getting their color treatments, so try custom touch-up color 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.
Healthcare and fitness
- Offer virtual 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.
- 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.
- 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 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 where 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 sanitize and disinfect as you go.
Discuss how to adapt and shift your business with other business owners in one of our Community groups: