Our society is in the middle of a pandemic. It remains unclear what will unfold in the days to come, but many businesses are already shortening hours, canceling appointments, and sending their employees home to work. These temporary arrangements have already affected the stock market, millions of workers, and consumers everywhere.
The technological sophistication of our society has mitigated some of the problems caused by COVID-19, or coronavirus. Some businesses, especially those that rely heavily on tech for their existence, have allowed their employees to self-quarantine while also staying productive. Consumers who are trying to isolate still have the option of ordering supplies from online sources instead of fighting the crowds at the local grocery store.
Unfortunately, not everyone has the luxury of working and shopping from home. Plenty of businesses, specifically those in the service industry, can’t maintain their profit-stream without providing direct care to their clients. Customers are equally reliant on thriving businesses in the service industry.
At Weave, our chief objectives during this pandemic are helping organizations keep their employees and customers safe and educating business owners on how our complete business toolbox facilitates higher levels of safety.
This article will discuss ten specific ways to make businesses safe for both workers and clients as coronavirus spreads. We hope it empowers businesses to adjust to the threat of COVID-19 and even thrive under these conditions.
For many businesses in healthcare, recommendations have already been made to limit appointments to emergent visits only. If you are closing your office, Weave has a number of features that can help you operate at least a few aspects of your business remotely. If you are staying open, here are a few tips to help limit the spread of Covid-19.
Ways to Make Your Business Safer
1.Control Your Waiting Room
The most common directive given by public health officials during this crisis is to avoid large groups of people. The president has recommended no gatherings of more than 10 people. Though waiting rooms don’t generally amass huge numbers of people, they still make already paranoid consumers a little more on-edge. Patients are trying to avoid healthcare facilities unless they absolutely need care.
To put their customers at ease, businesses shouldn’t try to sweep this concern about waiting rooms under a rug. They should accept the fact that waiting rooms are a concern for their clients.
Businesses can keep customers calm by encouraging them to stay in the cars upon arriving at their appointments. If they check-in from their cars, patients can wait until professionals are completely ready to see them before entering a business. This adjustment to standard protocol lessens anxiety about catching a virus in the waiting room and ensures clients attend their already scheduled appointments.
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2.Raise Awareness About Hand Washing
Many restaurants and grocery stores are proactive about telling their employees to wash their hands thoroughly after taking breaks and using the restroom. As COVID-19 continues to spread across the globe, hygiene has become a pressing issue not only in the food-service industry, but for all of society.
Those businesses that fail to show commitment to raising awareness about handwashing and other good hygienic practices risk alienating their customers. Organizations need to demonstrate a new resolve surrounding the issue of hygiene.
This heightened awareness starts with proper signage being posted throughout physical locations. Your office staff should be posting educational information regarding hand washing in clear sight for both employees and customers. Other communication lines such as texting and email can also be used to notify clients about the need to be extra-attentive in preventing the spread of coronavirus. " Being able to foward the phones and see who is calling, as well as text responses back and Text to Pay... all of these features are fantastic, before COVID and especially now! " - Dr. Royal, Family Eyecare of Toccoa
Weave Helps Businesses Communicate with Clients 24/7
" Being able to foward the phones and see who is calling, as well as text responses back and Text to Pay... all of these features are fantastic, before COVID and especially now! " - Dr. Royal, Family Eyecare of ToccoaSchedule Demo
Markets have shown some levels of instability in the short period of time since the initial outbreak of COVID-19. Whether the advance of the virus will cause an economic recession is still up in the air. Whatever happens, businesses are preparing for an uncertain future by securing preexisting revenue streams.
The process of solidifying financial security doesn’t need to be exploitative to succeed. Collecting payments from customers is an essential part of any industry, and panic about germ-covered money and waiting rooms cut into the ability of businesses to continue to collect payments properly during a pandemic.
Businesses can bolster their ability to collect payments in at least two ways. They should provide their clients with as many payment methods as possible to avoid fears around infection spread by cash, checks, and credit cards. If customers are trying to stay out of waiting rooms, finding other, simpler methods to collect dues, like a Text to Pay option, prevents them from having to hang out for any length of time at the front desk.
4.Fill Empty Time Slots
Payments aren’t the only aspect of running a business that could be potentially strained by coronavirus. Already, people are cancelling many of their plans, from dates to weekend plans to vacations. These cancellations impact businesses, too; anything that involves humans gathering together is seen as potentially dangerous.
While those consumers with the luxury of not going to their doctor, mechanic, or accountant might be justified in doing so, lots of others will still need vital services. In fact, they will be eager to step into the gaps in your calendar in order to get the service they need sooner.
Anything your administrative team can do to fill empty time slots will go a long way toward preventing losses in revenue. By contacting clients about upcoming availabilities, your business can limit and even take advantage of recently vacated appointment times. Having the right tools to disperse this information makes this communication significantly easier.
5.Update Business Information
Amidst the low-level chaos created by COVID-19, some businesses are making changes to their schedule without letting their customers know. This sort of mistake seems like a natural outgrowth of a pandemic.
However, businesses that want to keep their customers loyal and satisfied should be taking the time to update all of their company information, including things like their voicemail and office hours. Even if these changes are only temporary, they keep business running smoothly and minimize missed appointments caused by wrong information.
Updating voicemail can be a bit of a hassle for administrative teams, especially if the technology used to make these updates is old-fashioned. Something as simple as notifying customers about temporary office hours becomes a major project without the proper means, but you need to keep your customers informed!
No matter what technology you use, we hope that these tips can help you and your business during these uncertain circumstances. If you don’t have something in place already to help make this process easier, here are a few ways that Weave can help.
In the video below, practice owner Ross Nash of Cosmetic Dentistry of the Carolinas shares how he’s been using the Weave Mobile App to stay in touch with patients and staff while out of office during the COVID-19 outbreak.
Watch How One Doctor Worked From Home Effectively During the Pandemic
The myriad difficulties involved with running a business as coronavirus spreads leave many owners concerned about staying afloat. Even those currently prospering are looking for ways to prepare for the short- and long-term future.
Weave has developed communication technology that is uniquely suited to helping businesses cope with both run-of-the-mill situations and extreme circumstances.
Let’s briefly look at some of the features Weave offers and how they can prepare your business for this pandemic.
If your business is trying to save its clients from spending time in your waiting room, Weave’s two-way texting capability is a great way to keep in contact with customers without having them sit around and share germs.
Your administrative team can send a message to clients before they arrive at your business that they should let the office know by text that they’re on the premises. Your office staff can check them in and then bring them into the building once providers are completely ready to see them, eliminating time wasted in the proverbial Petri dish of a waiting room.
When it comes to reminding both clients and employees to wash their hands and practice good hygiene, sometimes prominently displayed signage isn’t enough. Utilizing other lines of communication can be more effective in getting this message across.
Our automated reminder text is available to Weave Plus customers and can be customized to include information like encouraging vigilant hygienic practices during this pandemic. People commonly prefer their phones to almost anything else around them, and sending health information to them is perhaps easiest via text.
Need to turn off auto-reminders due to closure? Here is how.
We already mentioned two obstacles to collecting payments: fear of handling conventional payment methods and fear of common spaces. Because of these anxieties, some customers might avoid making payments altogether, which is a serious threat to any business model.
Weave Payments gives businesses maximum payment flexibility in response to COVID-19. By accepting digital payments, it diminishes concerns about germs spread through financial transactions. By providing a Text to Pay option, it gets rid of the need for customers to visit the front desk prior to or immediately following appointments.
Cancellations are an obvious worry right now for businesses that rely on direct care. Organizations that use outdated communication systems have to handle these cancellations by slowly going through their address book, one client at a time.
Weave gives your team access to a Quick Fill list, a feature that allows them to send text blasts to those customers most likely to fill appointment slots on short notice. This feature is basically an optimized version of going through the address book. Instead of wasting hours trying to book open times, your staff can send group texts in a matter of minutes.
10.Office Hour and Voicemail Override
Keeping all information platforms up to date during the coronavirus outbreak is a real challenge for those without the means to make these adjustments. Going through all the different voicemails and website pages is very time consuming, but essential if your practice is going to survive the pandemic.
Weave’s communication platform simplifies these temporary modifications. Our integrated hardware and software solutions prevent you from publicizing inaccurate information and will help you quickly return to your former schedule once COVID-19 has subsided.