Operating a business during COVID-19 means focusing on doing things differently for the foreseeable future, and that can seem stressful and uncertain as you navigate through it. But there are some great ways you can adapt and innovate so you can keep your business afloat and keep your customers interested in continuing to work with you.
Here are nine of the best ways to adapt and think about your business amid COVID-19 fears and the changes that it brings to the way companies operate. With these tips and techniques, you can focus on helping your customers and making sure your business does well during the pandemic and after it's over.
Even if you can't sell anything to your customers right now, it's a good idea to make sure you keep interacting and communicating with them. That way they don't feel ignored or abandoned by your business, and you stay in the forefront of their minds until they can shop with you again.
Companies that continue to operate during the coronavirus pandemic will be able to hold onto their customer bases more easily, but you may need to reach out to your customers in different ways than before. Social media is one of the best ways to do that, along with signs out front and online information on your website to show that you care about customers and are looking forward to the day when you can have a stronger or more in-person business relationship again.
Don't let the pandemic and the changes it's created stop you from looking into ways to grow and develop your business in the future, along with ways you can do things differently now to have a higher chance of long-term success. By coming up with some good ideas for meeting your company's and customers' needs, you'll be better prepared for the present and the future.
You can even take to social media or your website to ask customers what they think about some of the ideas, and then work toward implementing the best ones that the highest number of people seem to like. You don't want to stop being innovative, even when you have to take a step back due to COVID-19 closures and health concerns.
A lot of companies are choosing to go contactless, including businesses in the self storage industry that have traditionally been against moving to no-contact ways of renting units and taking payment. By going contactless for payments and other transactions, the risk of transmission of the coronavirus is greatly reduced and people feel more comfortable doing business together.
Storage units are usually fairly private, but signing up to use one and ending your agreement when you're done using the unit are frequently done in person to make sure there's no damage, all fees are paid, and the unit is ready for the next person to rent. With some innovation, though, all of that can be done in a way that doesn't require any contact so you don't have to put yourself or your customers at risk.
To adapt your business more fully during the pandemic, it's important that you're clear about what you can and can't offer to customers during this time. There may be aspects of your business that you can't operate any longer, simply because of local or regional restrictions, so making the effort to show customers what you're able to provide matters.
For example, if you used to sell to customers at a physical location but that location has to remain closed right now, you may set up the option for customers to make purchases online. If there are aspects of your business that must remain shut down for the foreseeable future, be sure that your customers understand that, as well.
Through the power of the cloud, there are a lot of ways you can improve your company's ability to get things done and help out your customers at the same time. If you're not sure about cloud computing or you don't use it yet, now is a good time to start exploring everything it can provide to your business.
Cloud technology can give you the chance to have everything in one place, and you can take it with you wherever you go and use it on multiple devices. That gives you the opportunity to work from home or another location instead of your office or normal place of business, so you can keep the lines of communication open with customers during the pandemic.
Whether it's with business partners, vendors and suppliers, employees, or customers, collaboration during a difficult time can make everyone feel better and more comfortable, along with helping them feel less alone. Isolation can be one of the biggest problems for anyone during a pandemic, and even being able to interact with businesses and professional contacts can help reduce that issue.
Even though you might not be able to collaborate with others in person right now, you can find some great ways to do it through technology. Zoom, Facetime, and live opportunities on sites like Facebook can give companies a platform to reach out to others in new ways that increase collaborative efforts and reduce the feeling of being isolated or alone.
Determining what your customers really need from you during COVID-19 and how you can meet those needs while still keeping customers safe and secure is a very important part of adapting and being innovative. Ask your customers what's most important to them, and find out the kinds of things you're concerned about, so you can work toward ways of providing them with what they need and reducing their fears and anxieties about the pandemic at the same time.
It's not always the complex things that people need from one another, especially during difficult times when people may be feeling more vulnerable than normal. Often, it's simple things like knowing that they matter or are appreciated, or being able to get some of the things they really need materially, in a way that doesn't put them at risk.
There are a lot of new ways to innovate that can be used during the COVID-19 pandemic, and companies that want to remain active and relevant need to be open to those new ways of working with others. If your business isn't up to date on all the technology it could be using to improve the customer experience, now might be a good time to focus on that in order to stay successful and be more prepared when the pandemic is over.
The problems that come from COVID-19 won't stay around forever, and at some point things will go back to something that's closer to what everyone remembers as normal. But for companies that have focused on new ways of working, it's possible that those new ways will continue to be used because they're a better overall fit for what they're trying to accomplish and what customers need.
One of the biggest things that anyone in business can do is to focus on the shared experience that they're having with their customers, because society really is all in this together even if some of the specifics about their circumstances are different. From the storage industry to retailers of office workers, everyone is being affected by the pandemic in ways that they might not have expected and in ways that can be very difficult for them to understand or accept.
It's very important for companies to focus on innovation and adaptation during this time, because many things are different and will probably be that way for a while. Since the pandemic is going to be a part of life, and there will always be the post-pandemic world to consider when it's over, making sure companies can stay relevant is a big focus.
For anyone in the self storage business, contactless options are among the most innovative and significant ways to ensure that customers still want to do business. The storage units industry is a strong one and will find ways to adapt, so it can continue to thrive both during and after COVID-19, including when the pandemic is just a distant memory.
By: Lee Preston
Lee is the Director of Marketing and Promotion for EZstorit.com. When she is not working with our storage facilities partners, she is writing about topics that affect our daily lives.