When a crisis hits, you need to move quickly, especially if it has a drastic and immediate effect on your business. If you are forced to deal with something as awful as an unexpected closing, you’ll want to be sure your customers (and potential customers) are aware and not surprised by a closed sign in your door.
I’ve been through a crisis or ten in my career. Some are as easy as a quick social post, some require dealing with the media, and some, sadly, requiring closing for a period of time. In one such crisis, I realized that I needed a list of all the spots that needed to be updated to have on hand to ensure that no stone is left unturned. Below are the four most important places to update when you have service or operation changes you need to communicate quickly.
This is likely the most obvious, and the one everyone will think of first. While I normally don’t recommend posting the same content across all platforms, speed is the name of the game here. Draft your content, pair it with an image that makes sense, and get it out to your fans. After that, be sure to update the status of your business on Facebook to Temporarily Closed in your Business Information and turn off all of your ads. No need to spend money when you aren’t looking for any new business.
If your business has an email database, email them to let them know the changes. Be honest and say why, give some idea of a timeline if you can, and let them know you appreciate their support and patience. The key to this is short, sweet and to the point. These are your most loyal customers, meaning you do not want them to feel as it they weren’t fully informed. They will also be the first folks you communicate with once you are ready to reopen.
Update your website with this news. I recommend two methods for this. First, create a news/blog post that explains what has happened. This can be the same content for your email. No need to reinvent the wheel here. Once that post is complete and live, create a small banner on your home page that briefly states what has happened and link to the article. That allows you to get the information on your homepage without taking over your other content, and leads visitors deeper into your site as they view the full details.
Okay, this one is a three-fer if you want to be technical, but with the reliance on location-based sites to find information about businesses, they are incredibly important. If someone asks for directions to your business in Google, you want it to let them know right away you are temporarily closed. Below are the top four sites you should consider updating:
- Google My Business – In addition to updating as temporarily closed, take a moment to create an update on the page so your guests know why.
- Apple Maps – Update to temporarily closed.
- Yelp – Similar to Google, be sure to not only update as temporarily closed but also add an update to the top of your page. Additional Yelp will require you to pick a reopen date. Pick a date far enough out where you won’t have to constantly come back and update it.
- TripAdvisor – Same as Yelp, you’ll be forced to select a reopen date when you choose temporarily closed under business information. Select a date far enough out so you’re not constantly updating,
Biggest pro tip? Right down every site you update, as well as pretty much any thing else you do during the crisis. This will be invaluable when the boss asks for a report, as well as when it’s time to go back up update again. If you don’t have a notebook on you all the time, highly recommend a discbound Tul notebook. They are AMAZING (and customizable).
While we hope to never have to deal with drastic changes to our business, 2020 has taught us all to be ready for everything. This list is a great place to start when it comes to communicating changes to your customers quickly and efficiently.
I’m totally human, so if I missed a spot, let me know in the comments! Want to chat about your business and how to prepare for a crisis? Let’s get coffee and chat. Send me a note on my contact page!