Over the past few days, we’ve put up a few Covid-19 statements on client websites. No two of them are exactly the same, but they all do have some things in common.
I’ve also received countless COVID-19 emails from vendors, customers, clients, newsletters, and random advertisements.
In fact, it seems like everywhere I look, I end up seeing a COVID-19 statement – at least, that is, except on your website… Why is that?
By now, there’s not a business I can think of that hasn’t been affected in some way or another. Nearly everyone has taken some steps to protect and continue serving, so why don’t I see that on your website?
People are coming to your site, or they’re looking you up by name on Google to see what your situation is, because they want to do business with you. Why aren’t you telling them what’s going on?
All week I’ve been looking for certain things I need or things I want locally, and I’m astounded by the number of businesses that have yet to put anything on their websites. Just this week, I’ve had to phone no less than four businesses that I want to spend money with, just to ask if they’re open or what. That seemed crazy, so I thought i’d write this post.
If you’re having trouble coming up with something, here are a few topics that should be covered in your statement:
Have you shut your doors completely, or maybe just for a specified amount of time? How are your employees being affected and protected? If you’ve done layoffs, or you have people are working from home and you’ve forwarded your phone lines during business hours, then say so.
What impact does this have on your customers and clients? Are you completely unable to serve customers? If that’s the case, then make that clear, along with your hopeful date of return. If you don’t know, then be genuine and say so. Are you a retailer offering pickup outside after phoning in your order? Have you implemented ordering from your website? Are you delivering to customers homes with a “drop off” or “no contact” policy? Good for you! Explain that.
Are you a manufacturer that’s still producing? Are you a retailer running out of a lot of products? Is it business as usual and your shelves are stocked? Depending on your state and city, you are under different guidelines than I am, so tell me what they are? Do people a favor, and don’t make them wonder what’s going on with your business.
Is your customer service affected? Are you slower to respond to emails, or perhaps, like me, you’ve lost some clients and now have even more time to respond faster? What about on-site service? There are quite a few essential services that are continuing. Is your company one of them?
Exactly what steps have you taken to ensure the health of your customers as your employees interact with the public? If you’re running something to my car at curb service, are you using hand sanitizer while wearing booties and protective masks? Tell me about it. Better yet, show me pictures.
Your Technology Options
What new options have you begun offering that will enable your customers to easily work with you? Have you implemented live chat, or rolled out video conferencing options? In my case, I’ve had a page for quite some time now, that provides direct access to my preferred methods of enabling remote access.
Your Operating Hours:
Have the operating hours of your brick and mortar location changed? If so, specify what those are. Every business I look at still has their normal operating hours showing in Google, and the only way to know if they’re open is to phone them.
Tell me what those hours are, and while you’re at it, why not add them as a post both on your Facebook page and in your Google My Business?
Your Time Frame
How long are these policies being put in place for? What’s your hopeful return date? Dont let your statement page get outdated either.
Put a reminder on your calendar to come back and update the page regularly, so your customers have at least some idea of your plan.
As I mentioned above, your in-box may be overflowing with Covid-19 statements and you can use some of those as examples for your own, but you can’t just put up a page and hope it gets seen.
Some sites choose to put a statement on their home page, and others put up site-wide banners with links to the statement.
For site-wide banners in WordPress, like you see here on this site, we’ve been using this plugin as a way of drawing attention to the announcements.
The plugin is fairly lightweight, it’s free, and the programmer is VERY responsive to questions in the support forum, often offering precise CSS solutions.
Some Statement Examples
- An Organic Grocer in Arizona
- Five Guys Burgers & Fries
- A propane supplier in Georgia
- Columbia Sportswear
- A cabin rental resort in Illinois
- Dicks Sporting Goods
- A specialty retailer in Virginia
And one more…
My COVID-19 Statement:
My family and my company are deeply affected, but my wife and I are both EXTREMELY fortunate that her office adapted quickly, and I’ve already worked from home for 18 years. My oldest son also works for a company that adapted quickly, and has him working full time from home, and my youngest will be going back to school at Oregon State entirely remotely.
We have many friends who are completely out of work and not getting paid, some filing for unemployment for the first time in their lives. This is a surreal situation and my heart goes out to you all.
My Employees & Contractors:
Things havent really changed as far as how we work, for anyone I work with. I from home office, and so does everyone else. They’ve worked remotely for years, so no additional safety precautions have needed to be taken.
Just like you, most of our clients have been affected in a very big way. At this writing, about 1/2 of my client accounts have literally had their doors closed, either by choice or by law. Some of them have literally have no source of income and cannot pay for added expenses of any kind.
Any business with a storefront or office has to keep paying power, water, rent, internet, etc. just to remain viable, not to mention trying to take care of employees. The hardship of having to close their doors is heartbreaking, and sadly, many local businesses simply wont survive.
We dont sell any products, and there’s been no outages or issues accessing the tools we use, which we have not yet cut – although the way things are going, you never know.
So far, the way do our jobs, and our ability to them has not changed in any way. There’s just less to do.
My Remote Access Options
We’ve already been living in the future for 18 years. The options for remote access and appointment scheduling are still right here as always...
My Operating Hours and Time Frame
At this point the plan is to continue to work indefinitely for my GMB posted hours of 7am to 5pm Monday through Friday, and I’ll keep working most weekends too, until, well, until as long as I can.
Where’s your statement? If you do have a company statement to share, please drop a link here in the comments…