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ICECA provides update, tips

IRON RIVER — The Iron County Economic Chamber Alliance released a statement March 13 updating planned events and offering information for managing a business during the COVID-19 outbreak.
    The Live Work Play Show, scheduled for April 18, and Member Awards Banquet set for April 30, are both on as of now as schools are scheduled to be back in session on April 6 and the Live Work Play Show is held at West Iron County schools.
    “We will continue to monitor the situation and if guidelines are still in place for social distancing, we will cancel those events,” said Chamber Director Erika Sauter. “We will keep you posted as things progress, but right now we are hopeful that we can still put on these events.”
    On managing your business during the COVID-19 outbreak, Sauter said:
    “We know that there is a lot of uncertainty about how the spread of the coronavirus will affect our economies locally and globally, but we want you to know that we’re trying to make and promote the wisest and safest decisions.
    “We know that as members of the community, businesses like yours may also start experiencing unexpected challenges, and we’re committed to providing as much support as possible.
    “We will do our best to stay informed on business support resources that may be offered state-wide or nationally and will keep you posted on what help may be available to you.”
    The ICECA offered five steps for businesses during the current situation:
    1. Keep yourself safe and informed
    Follow the prevention guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for handwashing, social distancing and disinfecting of high traffic areas. Stay up to date by following credible, official sources like the CDC, World Health Organization (WHO), and local government health departments so you can respond quickly to changes that could affect you or your customers.
    2. Stay in touch with your customers
    Proactively share important information with your customers using email, your website, Facebook page, Instagram Business Profile, or however you typically connect. Remember that you can pin important posts to the top of your Facebook page for quick viewing. You might include information about the measures you’re taking to make your premises or products safe, or how you will handle customer inquiries if there are expected shipping delays.
    3. Try hosting online events
    In case you need to postpone or cancel any planned events as a result of the outbreak, try hosting a webinar or organize live sessions on social channels such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or LinkedIn. “Let us know what you’re planning, and we’ll promote it,” Sauter said.
    4. Prepare a customer service plan
    In order to be responsive and transparent with your customers during this challenging moment, prepare for incoming questions and requests. Consider drafting canned responses for your emails or set up instant-reply messages with information you expect your customers will be looking for. Connect with your customers for free in real time using Instagram Direct Messages, or Facebook Messenger.
     5. Provide a list of frequently asked questions (FAQs)
    Prepare a list of responses for questions your customers are likely to ask and provide as much detail and reassurance as possible in your answers. Here is an example of what an FAQ could look like:
    Q: Can I cancel my order (travel tickets/educational programs/gym memberships)?
    A: Of course, we will cancel your order/reschedule or cancel your trip/pause your membership on request. Once your order is cancelled, the amount from your original purchase will be refunded to you. We look forward to doing business with you again soon.