Short staffed and under stress: Small business tips for post-shutdown success
May 18, 2021 – With local governments lifting COVID restrictions and more people having access to vaccines, consumers across the country are starting to make their return to “normalcy” by visiting their favorite small businesses.
This is undoubtedly an exciting time for small business owners. It took a ton of resilience to survive the past year as a small business. However, many small business owners are facing new problems as they reopen. Is your business ready to handle the upcoming traffic?
It is important for small business owners to understand how to manage their online presence, their staff, and their reputation in order to find success in this post-shutdown world. In this blog, we’ll highlight some of the challenges facing small businesses as they reopen. We’ll also offer solutions to ensure your business is able thrive in this post-shutdown environment.
Acknowledge that you are short staffed
The most notable challenge small business owners have been facing with reopening is dealing with a shortage of staff as customer turnout rapidly increases. Increase in store traffic is a good thing. However, it can cause a domino effect of issues for businesses that are short staffed. Problems can arise such as bad reviews, long wait times for customers, and a stressful environment for staff members.
The first step to manage the difficulty of being short staffed is to communicate the gap with your customers. With 97% of consumers using the internet to find local businesses, the most effective way to acknowledge you are short staffed to your audience is by updating your website, social media, and most importantly, your online listings (we’ll talk more about the importance of your listings later in this blog).
Acknowledging that you are short staffed allows the customer to stop and think before posting a negative review of your business. But what if they do leave a bad review?
Manage your reviews
How you manage your online reputation matters – a lot! In fact, 90% of buyers reported to have checked a business’s reviews before reaching a decision and ultimately making a purchase.
The best way to manage your online reputation is by taking the time to respond to ALL reviews, both positive and negative. According to Chatmeter, businesses that respond to reviews appear 1.7x more trustworthy to consumers than businesses that don’t. If customers are complaining about long waits, mask guidelines, or other pandemic related issues, it is critical that you acknowledge them by responding to every review.
Getting a negative review can be a tough pill to swallow. However, it is the perfect opportunity for your business to turn a unsatisfied customer into a raving fan! Check out these tips for how to respond to negative reviews.
With more consumers searching the internet to find local businesses, there is more to manage than just your online reviews when it comes to staying on top of your online presence.
Keep your listings up to date
As mentioned earlier, keeping your online business listings accurate and up to date is possibly the most important piece to managing your online presence as a small business owner.
Consumers are most likely to find your listings on popular platforms like Google My Business, Facebook, Yelp, and Bing. Use your listings to update your company’s specific rules related to the pandemic such as:
- Updated business hours
- Masks or other PPE requirements
- If you are requiring employees to be vaccinated
The CDC announced fully vaccinated people no longer need to wear masks last week. However, there are still some state mask mandates in place. This means it’s even more important that you communicate what type of safety measures your business is taking with your customers before they get to your front door.
Ideally, you should be making regular posts and updates to your online listings like Google My Business. A good rule of thumb is to post once every 7 days. This will not only ensure your customers are happy, but also help you optimize your listings to be shown to more customers based on search algorithms.
Keep your listings clear and accurate across all major platforms. It will make your business more trustworthy to potential customers. If you want to be sure that your listings are showing up accurately, sign up for a free Business Warrior account and get a free listings report in less than 1 minute!
Don’t forget your website and social media!
Update your website and social media with any of your COVID-related business policies. This will create a greater sense of transparency and trust with your customers. Nobody likes to feel blindsided, especially not customers who are ready to make a purchase decision.
If your business is under stress from being short staffed, utilize your website and social media to inform your customers. Make an announcement apologizing for miscues caused by being understaffed beforehand, such as longer wait times. Your customers will appreciate you being honest and are more likely to become loyal customers in the long run.
Whatever changes you make to your business policies, use all of your communication channels to keep customers in the know.
Managing all of the different facets of your online presence as a business owner is a lot to handle. This is even more true if you are short staffed. There is good news however! Business Warrior’s free software helps you manage and evaluate how your business is performing online. Our software makes it easy for small business owners to update their listings, manage their reputation, check their local search rank, and boost their website’s functionality, all with our free and easy to use tool.