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Tips for Surviving the global economic crisis :

What small businesses must plan for :

Here are some impacts you can expect, if your small business hasn’t already begun to see them:

Cash flow challenges.
Employee safety issues and absenteeism.
Customer fears.
Supply chain disruptions.

It’s not too late, and measures taken now could help prevent a cash flow crisis.

Here is a list of the most urgent to-dos:

Check inventory and manage stock that has expiration dates
Reduce ordering of items you won’t be able to sell
Increase products that will be in demand
Step up your promotions of your business and products
Invoice for goods or services sold immediately
Look at past due accounts and request immediate payment

Fair Work Ombudsman has a special section on their website dedicated to workplace laws, entitlements and obligations. It answers questions such as “when can employees be stood down without pay?” and suggests how to handle leaves if workers must stop working to care for children.

Safe Work Australia Global Economic Crisis Man Wearing Mask offers guidance on how to prevent, prepare and take action at work during the corona virus pandemic.

For mental health help, share these phone numbers with your staff:

Beyond Blue 24/7 hotline is (1300 22)
Lifeline (13 11 14)
Headspace for ages 12-25 (1800 650 890)

The Victorian Chamber Workplace Relations Advice Line is available for Victorian businesses at 03 8662 5222.

Nurturing customer loyalty at a distance

A smile, a handshake, a joke shared — these are the small, personal reassurances we give each other every day. But public health crises like the corona virus pandemic require physical distance. Here’s how to keep the customer love going strong — even at a distance:

Embrace open, authentic communication.
Provide stellar customer service.
Offer a loyalty or rewards program.
Create engaging social media campaigns.
Offer coupons and discounts.

Let’s look at each of these five ways you might earn loyalty by letting customers know they can count on you.

1. Embrace open, authentic communication

At times like these, it’s not useful to sugarcoat reality — your customers need the truth about what’s going on and how it will impact their relationship with your business. Here are a few tips:

– Keep the lines of communication open and respond promptly. If that means hiring a virtual assistant to answer the phone, consider it.
– Use your unique voice to provide a window for your customers into how your business is managing through the coronavirus crisis. If possible, create a separate page on your website dedicated to your processes during this time frame.
– Make that page and your contact information front and centre on your homepage to enable quick and easy lines of communication. Link to this page in all your communications.
– Encourage your customers’ feedback so that you know what you can do to be there for them. Implement processes to cater to these needs as they evolve.

– You won’t always know the answers and it’s best to say so when you don’t. Be sure to direct customers to credible sources for all health-related questions.

2. Provide stellar customer service

Customer service is important no matter what the season. Since you can’t actually reach out and touch your customers right now, you’ll need to be creative. Use these points to guide you:

Knowing your market as you do, anticipate any issues that may come to the fore because of the extraordinary circumstances we find ourselves in. Be proactive and provide customer solutions to respond to these pressure points.

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