Businesses in 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 operate in the automotive industry and contribute to the transportation of goods, people, and services are considered to be essential services. Since these businesses will continue to serve customers in-person, taking additional precautions or adding new procedures can help keep your employees healthy and provide peace of mind to your customers.
When Accepting In-Person Payments
If you're still accepting payments from customers in person, you will want to keep your terminals as clean as possible.
Another way to limit the transfer of germs is to encourage tap payments which will limit the number of people who need to touch the terminal and the transfer of germs from payment cards to the terminal. Visa and Mastercard are currently working to increase the limit on tap to $250 from the previous limit of $100 to encourage more customers to pay using tap and avoid touching the PIN pad.
Accept Payments Online or Over the Phone
There are different online tools you can use instead of a traditional terminal to help minimize contact and practice social distancing while still serving your customers.
You can use a virtual terminal to process payments from customers over the phone. To accept a payment, you would simply key-in the customer's payment information using your computer, phone, or tablet while they are on the phone or waiting in their vehicle.
Sending digital invoices to customers is another way you can easily connect to your customers for payment. Simply email the invoice to the customer and once it's received, the customer will open the invoice and click on the Pay Now button to submit their payment right there. You will be notified as soon as payment is received.
Most virtual terminals and invoicing tools will also give you the option to send email receipts to customers making it easy to give customers a record of their transaction without needing to handle paper receipts.
Tips for Protecting Your Business
Here are some of the adjustments we have seen businesses in the automotive industry adapt. 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, such as reliable transportation, to the people who need it.
Some of the adjustments we have seen the automotive industry take include:
Reminding customers of social distancing when they book appointments and emailing over any changes to how they are providing services before customers arrive at their location
- Asking customers to remain in their vehicles with the windows rolled up for the duration of their service
- Using a key-drop for contactless service
- Providing disinfectant wipes for keys that customers can use before dropping them off
- Cleaning their terminals between each customer
- Installing plastic shields at customer counters to protect employees
- Switching to email receipts instead of using paper receipts
- Adding tape or markers on the floor of the shop to encourage physical distancing if customers are still visiting in-person
- Encouraging tap payments or using online tools including a virtual terminal or invoicing to collect contactless payments
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 Customer Service team would be happy to help.