How To Prepare For Business Challenges During Sick Seasons
Different seasons can bring about a shift in product demand and show what products your company may be lacking. The same idea applies with flu season, and other periods of sickness, which can bring about challenges that highlight areas of your business that are struggling. Most business obstacles are encountered year round, but they can be made especially worse when you have to start contending with illnesses on top of your regular competitors.
Decreased Labor Productivity
Perhaps the most stressful change that transferable illnesses can have on a business is a decrease in their available labor force, as employees, or their dependents, become ill and need to take time off. You can help to minimize setbacks of a decreased labor force by optimizing front-end business processes.
One of the simplest and quickest ways to optimize these processes in E-commerce businesses is to utilize software to help with tedious duties such as inventory management and shipping. Strategic improvements like these will carry momentum well beyond the time that they are introduced and can place your business in a position of future growth once your workforce is back to its normal capacity.
Lack of Website Optimization
Small businesses are susceptible to significant losses of revenue due to illness if they are forced to temporarily close as a result of staffing shortages. The best way to minimize losses, in this case, is to make sure your business has a website that is clean and easy to navigate, especially with the process for checking out and making payments. Customers are likely to turn away from a site that doesn’t feel secure in the payment process or if the checkout process seems lengthy or confusing.
A clean website is just as important as a clean store, if not more important, regardless of whether or not your physical location has closed. Websites are digital real-estate and should be treated as real-estate, which means they need to be kept clean, organized, and generally cared for.
Customer retention is one of the most difficult, yet vital aspects of running a successful business. Particularly in E-commerce, where your customer doesn’t even have to leave their search results page to go to a competitor. For top-performing companies in their third year of business, nearly 60% of their revenue is from repeat customers. A rather simple and effective way to improve customer retention is with customer loyalty programs. These programs can range anywhere, from a point system of escalating rewards, to simply emailing a coupon to recent customers.
Another way to improve customer loyalty is to have an excellent support center to deal with any problems customers may have and to reach out to low-rated reviews to try and make amends, or at the very least to fully understand the customer’s issue. By reaching out to these customers, you have the unique chance to build a level of emotional connection between your business and the customer. Studies have shown that customers who have an emotional relationship to a company or brand are 306% higher lifetime value and nearly twice as likely to refer that business to family and friends solely based on their experience with the support department.
Creating repeat customers and earning your customers’ loyalty helps to ensure you maintain business and is especially valuable in times of uncertainty when customers need security and stability. They will find comfort in knowing that they can count on your business to treat them right and satisfy their needs.
The most valuable thing to have when preparing for flu season, or other ‘sick seasons,’ is time. The more time you and your business have, the better you can prepare your software and employees to handle current challenges and adapt to new challenges that may come up. Inventory management software can help save time with front-end business operations but back-end operations such as accounting and bookkeeping can be just as time-consuming.
One of the most effective tactics to deal with these back-end operations is to automate them. Automation can be an intimidating concept, especially for people that are not familiar with computers. As technology around automation has grown more advanced, more accessible and simpler forms have been created. One form of simple automation is RPA (Robotic Process Automation) which requires no background knowledge or use of coding. Simplified solutions, such as RPA, allow business owners to automate processes in a matter of weeks, without the need for specialized IT infrastructure.
In addition to accounting, automation can be used in many areas of business, like emailing recent customers to offer coupons and ask for reviews, scheduling social media posts, processing refunds or returns, and more. Just about any repetitive and time-consuming task that your business performs would make for a great candidate to automate. Decreasing the time spent on essential but tedious tasks will allow you and your business to shift focus into other areas so you can keep up with the market, your competition, and any new challenges that arise, including illnesses.