With the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, businesses all over the world are seeing the impacts of this crisis, whether they have more business than they can handle (e.g., grocery stores) or customers have stopped coming in altogether.
Unfortunately, even some of the larger companies that help small businesses get the word out to their customers about business changes are seeing the effects of the coronavirus too.
I'm talking about Google.
Currently, Google My Business has halted a few of its regular services and has limited functionality for other features.
What features of Google My Business are affected by COVID-19?
The features that Google My Business has halted altogether are reviews, review responses, and Q&A.
Until further notice, these features will not be available for Google users or businesses to update.
Google also has limited functionality for updating business information at this time, meaning you might not be able to relay business closures to your customers on Google.
Other items of information that may be delayed include:
- Business name
- Phone number
- Special hours
- Products and services
You should continue to update your Google My Business listing when changes take place; however, just know that it may take longer to publish your changes than usual.
Google hasn't announced how long this will last, so for the time being, send business updates to your customers by other means.
How to get business announcements to customers during COVID-19
If you are concerned about how you will announce changes in hours to your current and new customers, I have three tips that can help.
- Post all changes to your website. Create a banner on your homepage that draws attention to any changes you have made regarding the coronavirus: hour changes, online store capabilities, curbside pickup, etc.
- Post these changes to your social media channels (including boosting changes as ads to ensure that your local community is aware of them).
- Send out an email campaign or newsletter to inform consumers of these new changes.
It is critical right now to keep your customers informed to keep business operations running as much and as smoothly as possible.
For more information about how COVID-19 is impacting businesses, visit the COVID-19 resource page.