The COVID-19 pandemic has altered the world both socially and economically. The 2020 Cox Business Consumer Pulse on COVID-19 and Small Businesses, pointed out that visits to small businesses have decreased tremendously compared to before the outbreak. Now, more than ever, companies need to strengthen their relationship with buyers, to keep their businesses afloat. Several key components of running a business have changed. Companies must emphasize safety and security to assure that their customers feel safe. However, a company’s reputation and longevity are based on one key factor, exceptional customer service, because it plays a role in how loyal consumers will be toward a brand. This is especially for small businesses that offer a personalized shopping experience.
“Customer service is not a one-size-fits-all” mentioned Katie Hienz of The Cox Business Centre. This means that every sale or consolation must be tailored to whatever the customer needs at the moment. It leaves a lasting impression on consumers when they are treated with care.
Small business owners have to use technology to their advantage. “Step outside the box, provide samples and giveaways, reach out to groups on Facebook, utilize new social platforms such as, Club House for networking purposes. Also, assure that all of your products are priced accordingly,” stated Tiara Garner, founder of Sweet Tia’s Bakery.
Thankfully content creation is no longer rocket science. Canva is a bonus for business owners, who lack creativity but want to attract potential customers with their eye-catching graphics. Canva has plenty of easy to use templates, clip arts, and more. The best part, Canva is free to sign up.
Small business owners should keep in mind to post at least six times a week and be interactive. Garner uses an app called “Planoly,” that allows you to set a schedule for your Instagram posts to publish automatically.
Automation is also crucial in closing sales, because consumers love receiving confirmation that their concerns are being addressed. Harvard Business Review revealed that if a customer’s request is responded within one to two hours, a business is seven times more likely to close a sale. Small business owners can utilize websites like Mail Chimp, that will automatically send an email every time an inquiry is submitted through your website.
Thornton also uses social media in every way possible. “I have brand ambassadors to help spread the word on a consistent basis. I am constantly doing giveaways, raffles and holiday discounts. I also share my personal story a lot on my business page for small businesses to look and learn from. I am also affiliated with other women, in different industries to help market my products” stated Thornton.
Zakiyah Thornton, CEO of CoCo Lush, is pictured a pop-up shop on Jan. 30.
Although customers have been leaning toward E-commerce, small business should seek any chance to endorse their product in-person. Eventbrite has plenty of pop-up shop opportunities in neighboring states. Afterall, people miss face-to-face interaction, due to quarantining for months at a time. Keep in mind to social distance and require all patrons to wear a mask, to prevent the spread of COVID-19. You should also practice great customer service, and show you care about the safety of your customers.