We have always been on a mission to ‘Make the Internet Work for You’, and now more than ever, that mission is incredibly important. Since the start of this COVID-19 pandemic, companies across the country and the world have been looking for any way possible to virtualize any part of their business. Even companies that cannot keep their business running virtually are looking for ways to stay connected to their team and their customers. This article takes a look at how companies; small and large are adapting and what trends may last beyond the pandemic. 

Virtualizing Client/Customer Relations

Maintaining meaningful relationships with your customers and clients is always important, and how you nurture those relationships during a crisis or pandemic could make or break a customer’s loyalty. How you adapt to the delivery of your product or service could drastically affect your revenue. While we understand some businesses are simply unable to perform or deliver their product or service virtually, there are always ways to support customers virtually -  even if it doesn’t mean immediate revenue. 

Supporting Your Customer’s Lifestyle

Even if you can’t provide your product or service right now, you can still provide tips and tricks to help your customers maintain a healthy and productive lifestyle in any way it relates to your business, and your mission to your customers. It’s really all about staying connected with them. Here are some examples...

Restaurants, Pubs & Small Shops

Online ordering has increased 52% since last year, and we’re only 4 months into 2020. If you are selling a physical product, you can easily still support your clientele with safe and secure online ordering through your website. The process doesn’t take a ton of work (we can help) but could help you sell a bit more than you would if you had to keep your shop shut down entirely. 

Property Maintenance, Electrician, Plumbing

Emergency services are still allowed. So if you have a client who has a faulty toilet or a fuze box that has blown and needs replacing, you should still be able to perform those services. But to keep your general maintenance clients engaged with your business, you can always provide simple tips for them to maintain their infrastructure to the best of their abilities. Providing tips to keep their toilets, sinks and drains clean for example. For electrical services, tips for your customers to preserve energy or prevent surges can help keep your customers and clients loyal to you. Step outside of the box, and let your customers know the best practices to keep their properties performing at optimal capacity while giving them peace of mind that they can help prevent an emergent issue from developing.

Fitness Instructors

You may not be able to have your client in the gym with you, but you can provide them healthy recipes and easy at-home workouts, your customers will remember you when they are able to see you again in the gym, and they’ll be even more loyal that you helped them get through this tough time. 

Cosmetologists, Hair Stylists or Salon Owners

You may not be able to give your client the best quarantine nails or trendy hair style, but you can help provide them tips to keep their skin, hair and nails healthy until they can come in and see some love from you. You can also provide them motivational advice to keep them from performing an “at-home, DIY haircut”. 

Funeral Homes, Churches, Support Groups or Life Coaches

While you can’t meet your community in person, you can always support one another with virtual conferences, private or group sessions alike - there is a tool for you! Many organizations that adopted the use of tools such as Facebook Live, YouTube and Zoom to host their gatherings. These have been excellent turn-key tools to keep communities connected and supporting one another. Virtual gatherings may become more widely accepted moving forward, even beyond the pandemic. With the convenience comes concern. Many groups, organizations and congregations have voiced concerns over ease of use, privacy and branding capabilities. With Your Event Stream, you can privately stream your live event to anyone who has a link and a secured password. 

Virtualizing Internal Processes

Your team IS your business. Many of us have begun working from home due to lockdowns, but we may see that trend stick beyond the pandemic. Our Lead Front End Developer, Chase said this, “A lot of companies, I'm sure, have realized that they aren't hurt as much (if at all) from employees working from home. The trend has already been moving that direction the past several years, but I think we'll see this last longer than the virus. Fewer people on-location for companies are cheaper - so they have incentive there.” We’re finding that many people are able to do their jobs from home. The challenge now becomes, how do we regulate standards? What standards no longer apply to a work-from-home environment? How do we keep our team engaged and connected with one another when they’re not face-to-face?

Accepting ‘Work From Home’ Standards:

Companies who may continue to utilize remote working will likely need to revisit their employee standards for technology and devices used while ‘on-the-clock’. Many policies currently restrict cell phone use or access to social media sites, but this may change as social media sites tend to lend a helping hand to remote employees when they wish to connect to their co-workers on a more personal level. 

Companies may also choose to adopt new training protocols to help their employees become more comfortable working from home, and learn how to develop the skills and self-discipline to do so more productively. 

We will also likely see the use of Virtual Private Networks (VPN) more widely accepted because it allows remote workers to access private company information from their home. 

Virtualizing Company Culture

The truth is, you can’t 100% replicate the daily, face-to-face, human interaction in the same way virtually. While it might not be exactly the same, you can do your best to facilitate camaraderie and social support among your employees in a virtual setting.  Try not to make every single video call 100% about business. Just as you would exchange some small talk the first few minutes of a face-to-face meeting, spend the first 5-10 minutes to just socialize with your team. You may even introduce a weekly virtual lunch, or virtual happy hour late on a Friday afternoon before the day is out. 

Maybe start an email chain with your staff and ask everyone to share their big high moment this week. Did they land a new project? Did they complete a tough project? Sharing these highs (and even the lows) can help your team stay connected, supported and caring for one another the same as they did in-person. 

How is your team adapting to this crisis? Do you see any of these changes lasting beyond the pandemic? What challenges do you still face? We are here to help in any way we can.