Things have changed as a result of the COVID-19 crisis. Social isolation has sent the population online for information, access to other people, and even the food they need to survive. What are people doing online while they have been stuck inside?
- Video calls to connect with friends, relatives, and work colleagues
- Online grocery shopping
- Restaurant food delivery and takeout
- Purchasing household items from Amazon, Target, and other online sellers
- Online appointment setting for needed medical services
- Watching press conferences by government officials for COVID-19 updates
- Consuming entertainment from Netflix and other providers
- Heavy social media use
Many consumers are home all day, spending much more time online
The internet has become our window to the world while we have no other way to see and visit it. Many of the habits that develop will not be forgotten once restrictions are lifted. An increased level of concern about becoming infected will be with us for some time to come. Here are some online strategies that can put your shop at the top of your customers’ minds when their vehicles need maintenance and repairs.
Update your website to reflect the current reality
Both your current and prospective customers want to know what your shop is doing to keep them safe while they have their vehicles worked on. Add your cleanliness and protective procedures to your FAQ page. Remove any website photos that show people too close together. Replace them with photos showing staff wearing PPE and properly distancing. Update your business hours if they have changed.
Engage your customers with timely and transparent updates
Higher levels of customer service will be expected as levels of online contact increase. You should have a good customer email list – now it’s time to use it! Stay in touch with your customers by regularly sending them useful and confidence-inspiring messages about:
- Your cleanliness procedures
- Your “touchless” vehicle intake, return, and payment services
- Any remote services offered
- Value-focused offers on routine maintenance and seasonal needs (A/C service, winter prep, etc.)
- Surveys that solicit customer feedback and ask about unmet vehicle service needs
Beef up your social media outreach
Connect with the community during the outbreak, using all of your social media channels. Add blog entries to your website (and posts with links to these stories) that detail how your shop and your hard-working employees are connected with the delivery of essential and health care services. Pay tribute to essential workers whose vehicles you are keeping on the road. Include positive, inspirational quotes and messages. Create car care videos that educate your customers about their vehicles’ needs. This will show you care about them and are committed to getting them through this crisis.
Upgrade your tech if needed
Check with your internet hosting service to verify that your site can handle any increased traffic and upgrade if necessary. Improve your SEO to make it easier for new customers to find you.