We are already seeing businesses coming together to share information, connect and support each other, their employees and their customers during the outbreak of Covid-19. We know that the livelihood of small businesses is crucial in South Africa, especially in challenging times.
“When businesses thrive, their communities and local economies do too,” says Nunu Ntshingila, regional director of Facebook Africa. “We continue to hear and see stories from around the world of how individuals and businesses are remaining resilient, everything from now offering virtual fitness classes to coaching and teaching students through Facebook LIVE.
“We know that businesses may experience unexpected challenges during this time, and we’re committed to providing as much support as possible through resources like our Business Resource Hub.”
She outlines five steps that owners of small businesses can consider while they plan their strategies:
* Keeping customers safe – Stay up to date by following credible, official sources such as the World Health Organization (WHO) and the government health department so you can respond quickly to changes that could affect you or your customers. Follow WHO on Facebook or Instagram or use the WhatsApp Support Line: 0600-123456.
* Staying in touch with your customers – Proactively share important information with your customers using email, your website or social media messaging platforms. You might include information about the measures you’re taking to make your premises or products safe, or how you will handle customer enquiries if there are expected delivery delays.
* Try hosting online events – In case you need to postpone or cancel any planned events as a result of the outbreak, connect with your customers directly on their phone with an online webinar, organise live sessions using social channels, record videos and podcasts, and leverage social media posts and instant messaging.
* Prepare a customer service plan – To be responsive and transparent with your customers during these challenging times, prepare for incoming questions and requests. Consider drafting templated responses for your emails or set up instant-reply messages with information you expect your customers will be looking for.
* Provide a list of frequently asked questions (FAQs) – Prepare a list of responses for questions your customers are likely to ask and provide as much detail and reassurance as possible in your answers.