As the world adjusts to life during a pandemic, millions are having to transform their offline companies and organizations into fully online operations, and fast.
Consider a business that usually welcomes customers into a brick and mortar store or gathers employees all under the same roof every day. How in the world will they restructure their daily operations to be fully digital and not lose momentum in the process?
Perhaps your company is facing this nerve-wracking predicament right now. If you’re feeling lost and confused as you attempt to transition into the online world, don’t worry! There are some incredible digital resources in this day and age to help your business not just survive this pandemic but become even more efficient once life goes back to normal.
Here are the top six steps you can take to turn your offline organization into a fully online operation today.
1. Set up quick and easy communication for your team members.
The first step toward keeping your company running as smoothly as possible is making sure your team can stay connected. Good communication is a crucial part of keeping everyone on the same page and on schedule; however, it’s hard when in-person meetings and check-ins are no longer an option!
If your team is working remotely right now, there are excellent instant messaging apps, video conference call platforms, and project management programs available to take the stress out of communication. Below are some of the best options for staying well-connected with your employees while the pandemic lasts.
Video conference platforms:
Instant messaging platforms:
Project management software:
2. Establish clear expectations and norms for remote working.
As you transition to the new normal of operating during a pandemic, you don’t want your team to run into problems associated with miscommunication or mismanaged expectations. By intentionally communicating what you expect during this time, you can make everyone’s lives easier and minimize the possibility of misinterpretation while working remotely.
Some practical things to think through are expectations for working hours, virtual meetings, how to report to managers, etc. Things might not look much different than they do under normal circumstances, but clarifying how these work remotely can save your team from frustration that comes with not knowing what’s expected of them. Create a clear to-do list and a schedule for deadlines every week, and try your best to keep everyone in the loop. Your team will be thankful for your clarifying efforts in the midst of an otherwise confusing time.
3. Ensure customers can still conveniently reach you.
You don’t want customers to think your company or organization has fallen off the map during this pandemic. Continue engaging with customers and emphasize the fact that you’re still open for business!
One practical way to make communication more convenient for customers is to enable a chatbox on your website and have a team member ready to man the inbox. Make sure your other lines of communication, like an online contact form or your company phone number, are also functioning and that someone is ready to connect with customers.
During this time, you should also investigate ways to improve your business’s online shopping experience. Focus your efforts on making the purchasing process as easy and secure as possible for customers who are still supporting you online. A few great eCommerce programs to consider using for your online store are Shopify, BigCommerce, and Squarespace.
4. Focus on the goods or services that you can provide solely online.
If you get most of your business from customers physically visiting your establishment, now is the time to hone in on those goods and services that you can still offer online.
For example, if you own a chiropractic practice and can no longer physically adjust your patients, find things you can continue providing and make a plan to monetize them. If you sell some type of product, ramp up your digital marketing strategies to increase customer awareness of the product. Perhaps you can offer virtual consultations for a fee that patients and customers can take advantage of while they can’t visit you. This tactic of focusing on what you can offer rather than what you can’t applies to countless other industries—all it takes is a little creativity.
5. Maximize your social media strategy.
As the bulk of your customer engagement moves online, don’t underestimate the power of increasing your social media presence. Social media is a necessary component of any marketing strategy under normal circumstances, but in these unprecedented times, it can greatly help your business remain relevant and active in the eyes of your customers.
For specific tips on maximizing social media during this pandemic, check out this blog on Tips to Maximize Your Social Media Growth.
6. Update your website.
If your website has been needing updates for a while now, this is the time to take the plunge and do it! At this point, any potential customers and clients are exclusively coming to your website to learn more about you, rather than visiting your business in person. Are they going to like what they see?
This week, visit your website with an outsider’s perspective and look for the areas that need improvement. Are there places where navigation or wording is confusing? Is information about your business’s plan for handling the coronavirus readily available? And of course, is there anything that simply needs to improve aesthetically? It’s easy to put off website updates when business is still going strong offline, but now that online is all you’ve got, it’s time to put some extra effort into the online experience for your customers.
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