As the novel coronavirus COVID-19 continues to disrupt everyday activities in the U.S. and worldwide, we’re moving from daily news on large national and international events being canceled or postponed to more local-level impact of how businesses are responding to increased social distancing efforts.
Now that they know they aren’t traveling or commuting to work, for example, they are wondering if their nearby stores or other services are still in operation. Chances are as an integrator you’re not only open, but going to be in greater demand.
You’ve undoubtedly been flooded with corporate emails in the past week with notes from high-level executives – whether it’s Starbucks, Marriott, American Airlines, etc. – sharing news of how they are responding to coronavirus both internally and externally.
As a company predominantly serving your local market, how are you reaching out to customers and prospects to let them know if you are still open, still servicing their systems, still taking appointments and more? Have you posted any statements to your website, sent out emails, shared your response to coronavirus on social media?
This urgent opportunity to communicate with customers is particularly pertinent for custom integrators. Let’s face it, with widespread school and corporate office closures, the need for reliable home networks has probably never been greater, and your company can remind customers of your expertise in this area.
Plus, your company can assist in setting up solid video conferencing solutions or make sure family members aren’t overwhelming the network as everyone streams more content or taps into VPNs throughout the day.
And if customers are experiencing any issues with their home technology systems, you can possibly even provide troubleshooting and support remotely, so customers need not worry about anyone entering their homes.
Outline Updated Store Hours, Remote Capabilities
If you are working on crafting a message to customers and prospects, consider this example as a blueprint from World Wide Stereo in Pennsylvania.
The company, which has been a perennial member of the CE Pro 100 list, has closed its physical showroom doors to the public, as many other companies have, but can still assist people.
Right at the top of their website, highlighted in yellow, tells website visitors they can click to read the company’s response to coronavirus, which links to a page with the full statement on COVID-19 from CEO and founder Bob Cole (and when it was last updated):
At World Wide Stereo, our greatest priority is the health and safety of our staff and customers. We expect that your home entertainment systems and your Wi-Fi and streaming services will be getting a lot of use over the next few weeks, and we are here to serve you and to support one another in this difficult time. Based on the guidance we’ve received and actions we’ve taken, we are encouraging our customers to contact us for remote sales and support. Please call 1.866.961.7781, email us at email@example.com, or chat with us. Our help line is open and our sales and support teams are on call.
We will continue to bring you the best online shopping experience possible at worldwidestereo.com. Our fulfillment centers will remain open so that all customers can enjoy free local and national delivery and 60-day returns, as always. Our online product experts will maintain regular hours, working remotely, and can be reached at 1.866.961.7781 for shopping assistance or order questions.
All of our salesman are available for remote sales and support by phone or email with private appointments available. You may contact your salesperson directly or contact your local showroom:
Montgomeryville, PA: call 215.368.8343 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Ardmore, PA: call 610.649.7002 or email email@example.com
We are doing everything that we can to maintain the health and safety of our employees and community. We take great pride in maintaining a clean store year-round, but we have stepped up our efforts by increasing the frequency and rigor of cleaning and sanitization. This includes but is not limited to sanitization of all surfaces and products. Remotes and touchscreens are being cleaned after each use. Hand sanitizer is available throughout the stores.
Installations, Deliveries, In-Home Services & Consultations:
Already scheduled installations, deliveries, and in-home consultations are being confirmed according to customers’ comfort levels and the utmost care is being exercised by our technicians. All staff have been trained to exercise a rigorous protocol in maintaining the safest environment possible. This includes maintaining appropriate distance from our customers. Any employee who exhibits any symptoms or who has had confirmed or presumptive exposure is required to stay home.
We will be postponing all in-store events and workshops until a later date. If you have already RSVP’d, please know that as soon as a new date is determined, we will let you know.
As this situation continues to evolve, we will closely monitor guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the World Health Organization (WHO) and local health officials around the country. We will continue to rely on their recommendations and expertise to inform our decisions with the health and well-being of our customers, employees, and communities as our highest priority.
Stay well and please know that we’re right here on the other side of the screen, keyboard, or phone for you.
Founder & CEO
This comprehensive company statement does a really effective job balancing its coronavirus concerns and answering the potential questions and concerns of its customers. The message assures them that World Wide Stereo is available to help out, while also doing its part to ensure CDC and WHO recommendations are being heeded.
It also shared the statement through social feeds to proactively communicate with customers.
Check in with Customers via Email
Another way custom integrators have been reaching out to existing customers is straight through email. At the very least, this can be an efficient way to quickly tap into your mailing list and send a reminder that you are monitoring the situation but also open for business.
Here’s an email from integrator AAA Electronic Services in Queens Village, N.Y.:
As we start off this week with many of you working from home, we expect an increased number of service calls. We want you to know we are open for business, while closely monitoring the COVID-19 situation. In the event that we do need to cancel any appointments in the future, we will inform you as promptly as possible.
Rest assured that our office has been followings all guidelines, recommendations and regulations of the New York State Department of Health, CDC, as well as the WHO. We are asking our administrative staff and technicians to stay home if they have any symptoms suggestive of a cold, flu, or respiratory illness.
Furthermore, we ask that if you were potentially exposed or experience flu-like symptoms, please inform our receptionist … We would be happy to reschedule your appointment for another time. Thank you for your cooperation, and stay safe.
Like World Wide Stereo’s message, it hits upon the potential service spike that coronavirus closures may create. It doesn’t get into specifics, but it does get the message across as a quick, “Hi, remember we’re here for you, and respecting proper health guidelines.”
Emailing a statement is a relatively simple step integrators can take, in addition to or in lieu of updating social pages and websites of any changes. Whatever the case, consumers will have more tech needs as they and their families remain homebound during COVID-19 social distancing efforts.
Let them know you’re there (even if it’s remotely) to help.