1. Evaluate your current telecommunications technology.  

Did you sign up for Zoom and Slack just like everyone else? Are your team working remote fielding calls from cell phones and emailing confidential files to each other for collaboration? Are they saving customer records to their home computer hard drives? Is your team using 10 different passwords for all the new software, sometimes even using their personal Gmail as password recovery?  

This is creating huge inefficiencies and potentially disastrous results from a network security perspective. Most telecom carriers now are full-service technology companies offering cloud-based phone systems that can be used anywhere including from a home office, while maintaining security and privacy by not revealing personal cell phone numbers of employees.

Modern phone companies also offer tools like video conferencing (like Zoom or even resell Zoom), collaboration (like Slack), file storage and more all-inclusive in a low monthly fee and under a single unified login (you can revoke access to all systems by changing only one password when an employee is terminated).

2. Invest in a Customer Relationship Management software, also known as CRM. Keeping confidential information about your customers in excel or outlook is not only very inefficient, not secure but also can not be utilized for machine learning. AI or machine learning will be a huge competitive advantage for companies with organized data. Zoho and Salesforce are leaders in the CRM space.

3. Add live chat or even an AI-powered chatbot to your site.  Customers are communicating online more than before to avoid physical contact. You need to be present to answer their questions or take their orders. Online chat is very inexpensive.  Zoho SalesIQ is a leader in the chat software arena. 

4. Enable online shopping or simple way to pay for goods and services online.  Online shopping is not just for luxury goods anymore. Restaurants, home services, even professional services like accounting and law should have ways to pay or order online.   Shopify, Zoho Commerce, WordPress WooCommerce are all great options.  

5. Have a physical space? In a post-COVID world, you can not afford not to have a virtual reality walkthrough. This isn’t just for real estate anymore, although it is still the most powerful use case for it. If you own a restaurant, a bar, auto dealership, kitchen showroom, furniture store, law office, any space where people go to, more than ever they will want to check it out online before visiting. Some might be concerned about social distancing, some simply want to see it before a visit, and others may even purchase your goods/services without a physical visit (we had a realtor sell a multi-million dollar property to a person who has only seen it virtually). Matterport is the gold standard in high-resolution virtual reality scanning technology. 

6. Claim or Update your Google presence.   Customers are looking in Google for information on your hours of operations, notices, pick up options, online ordering, and more. Google My Business optimization is critical to businesses, especially in the COVID age. Google Maps is often the first point of contact with millions of customers for most businesses with physical locations. Q & A, reviews, hours of operations, pick up options, inside Streetview are features that have risen in popularity during this pandemic.

7. Update your website with all new relevant information like COVID updates and cleaning procedures.  Your webpage has to be up to date so customers can find relevant information related to the current changes in their shopping preferences. Cleaning procedures, online ordering, pick up options, seating arrangements, hours of operations all need to be present on your website. 

8. Advertise when everyone else pulls back.  Advertising is about standing out from the crowd and no better time when some of your competitors are pulling back. Most ad engines are also auction-based, so it is normally more affordable when fewer people are competing for the same eyeballs or clicks. Google & Facebook Ads are all great options to win new customers for your business.

9. Get more reviews.  Relevant and current reviews go a long way making sure people feel safe visiting your business.  

10. Apply for the Google Guarantee program.   Apply today with Google to have your business approved for Google guaranteed or the Google screened badge. Several consumer protections apply and your business receives a possible conversion bump by having the badge next to your company name. This is one of those competitive advantages that you do not want to miss out on. Get on board now, before your competition does.   Read more here.

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