If your business has had to close due to COVID-19, we understand that this will be a really difficult time for you. This guide is here to walk you through the next steps that will help your business while you need to stay closed, and get you ready to re-open when the time comes.

Timely survival guide for COVID-19

This is one of a collection of articles we’ve created here at Timely with tools and information that you can use to help your business during COVID-19. Visit our COVID-19 resource hub to see more.

This guide will help you:

  1. Mark your calendar with the dates you are going to be closed
  2. Communicate to your clients about your closed dates
  3. Turn off your reminders and other messages
  4. Set up online bookings so you can still fill your calendar for when you’re open again
  5. Run your business from home, which is easy with Timely
  6. Keep working on your business to keep revenue coming in with gift vouchers, a loyalty programme, consultations, and more. 

Let’s do it!

Step 1. Add your closed dates

This part’s easy, and the most important. Just click here and enter the dates you’re closed. Visit the help doc for more information.

Step 2. Inform your clients that you’ll be closed

To let your clients know that you’ll be closed for a while, we recommend you;

  1. Send a message to all your clients via an SMS campaign or an email
  2. Send another message to any clients that have an upcoming booking. They need to hear that you can no longer take their booking and they need to reschedule.

Check out our blog on using SMS campaigns for more ideas and message templates.

Step 3. Turn off your reminders and other automatic messages

You won’t want clients getting messages while you’re closed and it’s easier to reschedule appointments to when you reopen if you don’t cancel or delete those bookings. 

We recommend you;

  1. Delete any Reminder, Did not show, or Booking changes messages. If you’ve customised these messages, they’ll still be there when you restart them
  2. Pause any Follow up or Rebooking messages
  3. Check if you have any staff notifications and turn these off too

Once your calendar is in order and you’ve got an opening date, you can turn these back on. 

Go to your Messaging settings to delete and pause your messages.

Step 4: Set up online bookings for when you reopen

If you already take online bookings 

If you’ve followed step 1 then you’re pretty much good to go. But it’s also a good idea to add a message to the booking pages, letting clients know your closed dates and what happens if those dates change.

Check out the help doc for info on adding custom booking messages.

Don’t have online bookings set up? 

If you haven’t made the leap into the wonderful word of online bookings, this is the time to do it. Adding online bookings is simple and we can help you set it up. It means your clients can make bookings (and even pay you deposits!) while your doors are closed.

Check out the help doc to get started with online booking.

Online payments are your new friend

When it comes time to open those doors again you want to be taking online payments. After weeks away, getting money upfront from clients is going to make a big difference. If your area was to go into lockdown again you’ve got the cash to help you through and you can defer your bookings. 

Find out how to take online payments in this help doc

Step 5. Get ready to keep using Timely from home

One of the best things about Timely is that it’s easy to use from home. You can set up individual logins for your staff so you can let them work in your account from home too (but you can still see what they’re doing and decide their level of access). There are no additional charges to use Timely from home. 

Nice work! You’ve done the main things you need to. Clients know what’s going on, and bookings can keep coming in.

When you’re ready, there’s more you can do below in Step 6.

Step 6. Work on your business to keep revenue coming in

It’s the perfect time to work on your business. You have an opportunity to do those things you’ve always wanted to and set yourself up for re-opening. There are going to be a lot of hairy people that need waxing, grey roots that need dyeing, and monobrows that need taming when things start to reopen, so be prepared for when that time comes! 

Promote gift vouchers to your clients

Your clients want to support your business while you’re in lockdown! A great tool to keep money coming into your business is selling online gift vouchers. Promote gift vouchers to your clients through this time that they can use for future appointments. 

How to set up gift vouchers

Setting up online gift vouchers is easy! Head to Setup > Gift vouchers and check the ‘Custom amount vouchers can be purchased online‘ box. You’ll need to have a payment gateway like Paypal or Stripe connected to Timely to sell vouchers online, so check out the help guide if you’re stuck. 

Get your business ready to re-open

Now’s the time to action those things you’ve been meaning to do but never found the time! What better time to get online bookings set up or to start that Rewards program you’ve been thinking about forever. We’ll be busy helping you get set up with these things over the coming weeks, but a great place to get some inspiration is to watch our new videos on Consult, Online booking, Automated SMS and using the iOS App.

Talk to our team about discounts on your subscription

We’re determined to help your business get through this and come out the other side better than ever, so talk to us about your options. Just send us an email at [email protected]

Final note

We know this is a really tough time. The Timely team will be continuing to work and bring you new features to help your business thrive when everyone is back up and running. As always, we value your opinion and feedback, so feel free to reach out to us with any questions or suggestions, or to let us know about any content you’d like to see from us.