Businesses across all industries are feeling the impact of COVID-19 as they adjust operational practices to adhere to new government regulations to keep both their team and their customers safe.
Even businesses that are considered essential services and are allowed to continue operating are looking for new ways to accept payments and serve their customers. The team at Helcim wants to help businesses find new ways to accept payments and keep their businesses operating. We have found the tenacity and determination of the small business community inspiring as they work together to conduct business in new ways using online tools like virtual terminals, hosted payment pages, invoicing, and online stores. Businesses who have never before sold products online have had to pivot their operations and rally their teams to offer delivery, online ordering, and product pickups in order to keep sales flowing.
Guidelines for businesses and classification categories for essential services may vary by jurisdiction. We recommend you check with your local and federal government to ensure you stay up-to-date on the latest guidelines and restrictions as they are updated.
Many businesses that offer professional services including lawyers, paralegals, engineers, accountants, translators, insurance brokers, realtors, and financial service providers are widely considered to be essential services and can continue to operate while adhering to recommendations from the local health authorities.
When Accepting In-Person Payments
If your business is accepting in-person payments from customers, we recommend reviewing how to clean the terminal between each use. You can view the steps on how to clean and disinfect your terminals here.
Cleaning the terminal between uses can help prevent the spread of germs from one person to the next. You can also encourage customers to pay using NFC payments, or tap-and-pay so they do not need to touch the PIN pad or handle the terminal directly.
Accepting customers by appointment only and limiting the number of clients you can see throughout the day can also help to limit the potential spread of germs and let people practice physical distancing whenever possible. If you have a waiting room, consider removing seating temporarily and spacing out remaining seats to give people extra space.
Accept Payments Online or Over the Phone
Review your services and see if you can temporarily switch to offering meetings online or over the phone. If you are able to serve your customers remotely you can use online payment options to continue to accept payments.
Once you wrap up a phone or video appointment with a customer you can process their payment using the virtual terminal, or you can send them an invoice. If you are using the virtual terminal you can simply enter their payment information to the virtual terminal while you have the customer on the phone and process the payment right away.
If you prefer to send an invoice after your appointment is wrapped up, your customers can submit their payments by clicking on the Pay Now button in the invoice to submit the payment. You will be notified as soon as payment is received.
Both of these options make it easy to continue to accept payments while practicing physical distancing or not meeting your clients at all. All of your payment and customer information will be stored in your account for easy reference and you can send email receipts to customers so they also have a record of their payment.
Tips for Protecting Your Business
Here are some of the adjustments we have seen businesses offering professional services make. We want to share them in case they can help other businesses who are looking for ways to continue their operations. By working together and sharing ideas, we can find ways to keep commerce flowing and provide essential services, including insurance, legal advice, accounting services, and more, to the people who need it.
Some of the adjustments we have seen the professional services industry take include:
- Consider if any of your appointments or services can be offered virtually, either over the phone or using video conferencing options instead of meeting in person
- If you’re still seeing clients in person, limit the number of people who come into the office at any one time
- Ask clients to confirm they feel healthy before meeting with you, offer a flexible rescheduling option if they are feeling unwell
- See if you can apply your expertise to the current situation and provide advice through webinars or live streams
Business will return to normal eventually, but in the meantime, we believe that generosity and collaboration will help us overcome these challenges. At Helcim, we have always been committed to sharing resources and knowledge that empowers business owners. We will continue to share information on how businesses can adapt to new government regulations, accept online payments and find ways to keep their business operating. If you would like to learn more about any of the tools mentioned in this post or see how your business could accept online or phone payments, our team of Helcim Gurus would be happy to help.
Not a Helcim Merchant?
If your business needs to accept credit and debit cards in person or online, Helcim provides honest, transparent, and affordable credit card processing that stands out in an industry known for shady business practices and customer exploitation. Our Interchange Plus pricing is widely regarded as the most honest and affordable billing method in the industry and our customer service is consistently lauded as a step above. If you have any questions or would like a complimentary rate comparison, don’t hesitate to contact our friendly Customer Service team.