For more coronavirus information, visit BBB.org/coronavirus
The Better Business Bureau is committed to helping business owners manage the current situation of COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, currently disrupting supply chains, customers, and the lives of employees. It’s important to remain calm, stay informed and take proactive measures in keeping the health and safety of everyone a top priority.
BBB recommends the following tips for businesses in handling customer, employee and business relations in light of coronavirus concerns:
Connect with your customers. Communicate how your business is adjusting by promoting health safety while continuing to serve their needs. Reassure them by making it a priority to let them know you and your employees are following a strict program of recommended health protocols.
Demonstrate commitment. Use simple tactics such as using hand sanitizer in front of your customers. Explain that you are taking this precaution to protect their health.
Use technology. Tools such as FaceTime, Zoom, and Google Hangouts are one way to reduce the need for “in-person” meetings with customers or vendors, as well as reduce the exposure and spread of the virus.
Set the example. Wash your hands. Sanitize high contact areas. Cover your cough or sneeze. Stay home if you have respiratory symptoms such as coughing, sneezing, shortness of breath or a temperature above 100.4 degrees.
Minimize risk. Avoid shaking hands. Perhaps consider another type of friendly greeting and explain that shaking hands helps control the spread of the virus.
Set office expectations. Review human resource policies and communicate office expectations so everyone understands what they are to do nor not do when working with co-workers.
Educate employees. Beware of phishing emails, robocalls or text messages related to the coronavirus. Encourage them to report suspicious activities to BBB.org/scamtracker
Maintain a positive reputation. Refrain from doing anything that looks like your business is taking advantage of the crisis. Keep prices, services, and business as usual with a few provisions to prevent the virus from spreading.
Promote honesty. This is the time to act as a calming and reassuring partner to your customers, vendors, and employees – not fuel unfounded fears. Continue advertising your company’s services and add a reference that you’re following public health protocols to stem the spread of the virus.
Be realistic. Be honest with customers regarding timelines and product availability. Stay in contact with vendors. Set realistic expectations if your delivery or service is impacted by illness or precautions. Many customers will understand and respect the actions your business is taking, and that you’re taking the situation seriously.
Communicate effectively. Communicate immediately with your customers if you’re unable to fulfill commitments rather than upsetting or disappointing them.
Stay informed. Demonstrate purpose and support for your community. Consider making hand sanitizers and tissues available to customers. Stay up to date on the latest of the spread and additional tips of containment by following reliable sources of information: Centers for Disease Control, U.S. State Department Travel Advisories, and World Health Organization.
NOTE: If you are a business owner or manager, your local BBB has additional materials on handling coronavirus. Contact your local BBB if you are interested in receiving this information.