Over the past few weeks, companies have been having to handle many different regulations handed down by government officials. These regulations can range from reducing the number of people allowed in your building, operating during certain hours, or closing your doors temporarily. None of these things are what any business wants to do. However, to preserve your online reputation, I suggest you follow these rules.
During these times, people are sitting at home and have nothing better to do than to write reviews about your company. Whether they write a useful analysis or bad review is going to depend on how you react to our current situation. In this blog, I am going to provide you with a couple of different scenarios and explain the impact that has resulted from this action. With any luck, you will see the effect it has had on the business’ local community and even online reputation.
Since the onset of this virus, people have panicked and started buying as much cleaning supplies and toilet paper as humanly possible. For weeks, we have seen meme after meme poking fun at these people. Little did we know, something more sinister was in the works.
It came to light that many people saw this pandemic as a way to earn extra money. Now, remember, this was happening at a time when there were no closures. All schools were still open; no businesses had been asked to stop doing work; it was business as usual. These people were buying items at the regular cost and taking to online platforms to sell their wares. By purchasing all these products, they had created a market rich for price gouging. The products they were buying at say, three dollars, were being sold online at upwards of seventy dollars.
Less than a day after several stories breaking about some of these bad characters, Amazon deleted the accounts of the people that were committing these acts. Shortly after, nearly all online platforms had blocked them from selling their goods.
So, what is the takeaway from this? Amazon was first to strike a blow to these people. That does not mean they are any better than the other platforms. Through years of campaigning, Amazon has become the number one platform for people to have an online store. They call it “Amazon Partners.” They had to be the first as they probably had the most substantial amount of people engaged in this activity.
When the virus is gone, and everything returns to normal, customers will remember what Amazon did to protect them from these people. I would not be surprised in the coming days and months ahead if Amazon provided their “Prime” shipping to all orders. They know these products need to get in the hands of their customers as quickly as possible to prevent the spread of the virus.
Another industry taking a big hit is food service. Depending on what kind of restaurant you have, it is likely you have had to close at this point. However, some restaurants have adapted and now offer takeout. Others are offering delivery that never had before. At the end of the day, the foodservice industry is likely the most impacted by this virus.
For legal reasons, I will withhold the name of one business that made a fatal error when it came to protecting their employees and their customers. Suffice it to say; they had a lot of bad press related to allowing employees to stay home. Signs were put up at their locations, and threats to their employment status were threatened as well. The employees of these locations took to the internet. Once it was online, the company’s stance was quickly withdrawn.
During these uncertain times, it is best if companies think about the people over their profits. I understand they don’t want people to stay home if they aren’t sick. The truth of the matter is, at jobs like these, the employees are likely counting on their paycheques to survive. They are not going to skip work just because they think they can take advantage of a situation. Some might, but those employees can be dealt with at a later time. This is not the time to put rules in place that can impact the spread of a virus.
While there are many people and companies out there that are not doing the right thing, it is comforting to know that there are people and companies that are. They will all reap the benefits of their excellent deeds one day. Let’s take a look at a few.
Along with making sure that their customers are not being gouged, Amazon has recently released a free version of their video content. The intention is to provide family and kids a way to pass the time while they are quarantined. It is reported that they took their family and kid shows and made a place where customers could sign up for free and watch this content. While it is a public relation move, I foresee they will reap huge rewards from this move.
Another streaming service that is offering free access is Netflix. Everyone knows that Netflix, as well as other paid streaming services, frown on the sharing of accounts. However, during these times, they are relaxing their stance. Netflix is providing its customers with a way to watch movies with family and friends across the country. In addition to the 1,000% increase in subscriptions since the start of quarantines, I predict they will keep a vast majority of these new customers when the virus is gone.
Just because we have a global pandemic, it does not mean you can forget about your customers. They were there before the virus, and you are going to rely on them to rebuild once it is gone. Brainstorm with your colleagues and figure out a way that you can increase your online reputation and help others dealing with this destructive virus. Stay home and stay safe. There is hope, and we will make it through this.