Businesses: Navigating the Coronavirus Crisis

With the first confirmed case of coronavirus (COVID-19) in Lake Havasu city, it’s more important for the public to remain calm, educated and prepared. Better Business Bureau (BBB) is committed to help business owners manage the current situation regarding the coronavirus (COVID-19), which is currently disrupting supply chains, customers and the lives of employees. It’s important take proactive measures for the health and safety of everyone.

BBB recommends the following tips for businesses in handling customer, employee and business relations in light of coronavirus concerns:

Customer Relations

Maintain customer relationships. Communicate how your business is adjusting by promoting health safety while continuing to serve customer needs. You may wish to utilize social media posts and/or email blasts to keep your customers informed. 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. They also help reduce the exposure and spread of the virus.

Employee Relations

Set the example. Wash your hands. Sanitize high contact areas. Cover any cough or sneeze. Stay home if you have any flu or cold symptoms.

Minimize risk. Avoid shaking hands. Consider another type of friendly greeting and explain that shaking hands may contribute to the spread of the virus.

Set office expectations. Review human resource policies and communicate office expectations so everyone understands what they are to do or not do when working with co-workers. If employees are working from home, consider using social media, internal messaging and emails to keep them engaged and make them aware of any changes.

Educate employees. Beware of phishing emails, robocalls or text messages related to the coronavirus. Encourage them to report all suspicious activities to BBB Scam Tracker.

Business Relations

Maintain a positive reputation. Refrain from doing anything that looks like your business is taking advantage of the crisis. Do your best to keep prices, services and business as usual with 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 consider adding a reference to the public health protocols you are taking 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 appreciate you 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. Stay up to date on the latest information by following reliable sources of information: Federal Trade Commission, Centers for Disease Control, U.S. State Department Travel Advisories, Department of Labor, and World Health Organization.

For more information or to schedule an interview with a BBB spokesperson, please contact Kryistyna Hook at 928.302.3701 or kryistyna.hook@@bbbcommunity.org. For more information regarding hoe BBB is supporting businesses throughout the Coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis, visit https://www.bbb.org/coronavirus-business/ and BBB.org/Coronavirus.

Reprinted with permission of Better Business Bureau serving the Pacific Southwest, Copyright 2020.