We’re in our third week of “stay at home” here in New England. Two weeks down...who knows how many more weeks to go? Each day, we receive new information and new precautions as our society has quickly retreated into “social distancing” for the greater good. These unprecedented guidelines have presented challenges for every sector of society, including businesses and organizations that watched their current mode of operation come to an unexpected halt.
In times of uncertainty and change, there are those who come to the rescue and help others adapt to the evolving landscape. Kate Gilbert is one of those people. Last week, she took her technical skills and helped four businesses adapt their logistics to better serve their community in a different way, even during “social distancing.”
How to Offer Classes Virtually & Eliminate the Learning Curve
Two locally owned businesses near Kate found themselves unable to hold the classes they worked so hard to provide. One was a team of professional vocalists offering singing lessons to various skill levels and the other entrepreneur that offers singalongs to young children. With social distancing disrupting their normal classes, bringing them online seemed to be a necessary but daunting task, especially for the instructors with no prior experience with video calls or virtual meetings.
For each business, Kate was able to bring their classes online via Zoom and Google Drive technology. “I helped her teachers get comfortable with hosting a meeting in Zoom,” said Kate, adding that this “is a whole new world that we’re just barely scratching the surface of.”
Because Kate became familiar with their business, she was able to tailor her training to exactly what they needed to know for their particular service and audience, including some basic but critical Zoom management skills.
To re-create the real-life singalong experience for her audience, Kate taught the instructors where to sit and position the camera. To keep the audience engaged, instructors were taught to mute all participants to avoid distracting background noises, but also how to unmute the participants to converse with them one by one.
“It actually works really well if you call every audience member by name… It does something to personalize their experience,” Kate taught them.
She also taught them the importance of controlling chat messages when offering classes or services, especially to children or teenagers. Her instruction included tips on how to record the sessions so that the instructors or managers could later review the materials, and can even capture video clips and still photos to be used in marketing materials later.
She’s happy to report that these businesses are up and running, and “it’s working fantastically.”
Switching to No-Contact Estimates
One of Kate’s long time clients Golden Group Roofing provides vital roof repair services. Worried customers reported that they needed immediate roof repair estimates but were also concerned about interacting with the roofing professionals face-to-face.
Thankfully, the Golden Group Roofing has long been using the latest technology to provide detailed estimates from afar using satellite technology. No contact or personal interaction needed. Kate was able to help them to quickly change their landing page and tweak their website input form so that they could instantly start providing “virtual estimates” to help their customers with home maintenance requests while still keeping everyone safe.
It was critical to the community “because people are still going to need roofs and home repairs, and skylights are still going to leak,” said Kate. She helped Golden Group Roofing create a virtual consultation to keep everyone at a distance and “still have it be accurate and actionable.”
Changing Business Models on the Fly
As we all know, restaurants and bars have been closed for in-person dining for a while. A popular mom-and-pop vendor that had a very successful breakfast & lunch food cart outside a busy subway station near Kate found that they needed to change drastically in order to stay in business.
They needed a radical change of business operations to change from their in-person food cart to a delivery service with online ordering to avoid completely shutting down. Kate helped them set up an online questionnaire and subscription service so that local diners could order their breakfast or lunch online. She also helped set up a system so that the right meals went to the right customers. This drastic but quick change helped keep their food cart business running and delivering meals to hungry customers.
While we may not all be first responders, we still have our own individual set of skills that can have a big impact on someone’s life, even a small scale. Each one of us has a gift to solve a problem for another person, family, or business. Thanks to Kate, four businesses were able to continue serving their customers, especially at a time when those services may be needed the most.
If you’re interested in learning more about how you can move your business to Zoom, check out Kate’s free webinar at https://wpmaster.me/zoom/. She also provides office hours with private consultations so that you get advice that’s completely tailored to your business. Visit Kate’s website for her consultation “office hours” at www.wpmaster.me.
There are so many of you out there with gifts that still need to be shared to the world. What are yours? If you are helping other people adapt their personal lives or business operations during this “new normal” then I want to hear from you and share your story. Be well, my friends.