Do your website and social media have a novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) update?

The Novel Coronavirus COVID-19 has a major impact on organizations and the people they serve. Many businesses and practices have reduced their opening hours, closed seating areas or have closed altogether. You may have taken one of these measures as well.

Customers and patients are now scrambling for ever-changing information about who-is-open-when, -and-how.

By providing the information they are seeking on your website and social media, you will not only help prevent confusion, you will also show that you care. Even confirming that nothing has changed will put people’s minds at ease that the information is up-to-date! Remove as much doubt as possible from your customers’ or patients’ minds.

So where will people be looking for your updated hours?

Woman smiling through the glass window

  1. Your website
  2. Your Facebook page
  3. Your Google My Business (/Maps) listing
  4. Other important directories or review sites in your particular niche (Yelp, TripAdvisor, HomeStars, etc.)
  5. Chambers of Commerce, industry associations

Your Website

  • Make it clear if you are still open for business, and if you are – if anything has changed to the hours and other conditions. Your waiting area may be closed, you may lock the doors and let people in one-by-one after quickly asking whether they have traveled or not, and if they feel well.
  • If some things have changed, mention what the alternatives are (if any). If your business involves booking, maybe encourage future bookings by highlighting available discounts and flexible re-booking policies.
  • Maybe start up an email newsletter of your own, so you can keep updating your customers from time to time – and letting them know when things are slowly getting back to normal!

Social Media + Online Directories

Make sure the notice is shown at the top of the page, maybe using a different font colour? With Facebook, make sure to “pin” the post so it keeps showing up at the top, and make sure to “unpin” it when the situation has normalized. Include a message in your Google My Business post.

When possible, adjust the Opening Hours (on Google, Facebook etc.).

How to communicate all of this?

There are several ways to go about it, including:

  • A notification bar at the top or bottom of the page, or a pop-up banner. It can link to a page on your website with more details. Make sure this banner is visible on all pages, not just your home page.
  • Have the notification close your contact information – including your Contact Us page, headers and footers.
  • You could consider adding a Facebook Messenger chatbot (showing an initial question like “Wondering if we’re still open during this Corona crisis?”, and when people click on it you can provide them with more information)

Your notice should cover, where applicable:

  • The impact on customers
  • How employees are being protected through social distancing
  • How customer service will be affected
  • The location of changes to service
  • A minimum time the action will be taken for
  • Consider building lists of frequently asked questions

Don’t know what to say? Here are some examples:

“Company XYZ is currently unaffected by the coronavirus. We will remain open and maintain our normal business hours. We look forward to seeing you soon!”

“Dear valued customer, for your health and safety, Company XYZ will be closed to the public at this time in response to the recent coronavirus news. We will reach out to you with a timeline for reopening as soon as that is possible. Thank you in advance for your understanding.”

“As our company responds to COVID-19, the health and safety of our employees and customers remains our top priority. We are committed to being there when our customers and colleagues need us most. Here’s how we’re responding…”

Finally, Stay informed…

To monitor the latest information surrounding coronavirus, follow the websites of the Government of Canada and the World Health Organization (WHO) for up to date information.

… Stay healthy & safe!

From our family to yours, practice social distancing (stay indoors as much as possible), wash your hands with soap thoroughly and frequently, and hang in there! We are in this together…

– Nardo + Louisa at U-C WEBS