This is an unsettling, unnerving time for our country, and with new mandates coming out by the day, business as usual – especially for brick and mortar locations – is a thing of the past (for now). With changes to business comes the need to update your customers on those changes, specifically to hours of operation or temporary closures, so customers don’t attempt to call or visit your location and receive a negative experience.
We’ve compiled a checklist of which citations to update and how best to do so, immediately.
Google My Business
With Google My Business, which shows your business’ contact information in the Google search results page, there are a few different options for business owners affected by COVID-19 but each have benefits and drawbacks.
- Mark your business as temporarily closed. This will require contacting Google My Business support directly, which at this time may be significantly harder and delayed. This option adds a “temporarily closed” ribbon at the top of your listing, and will require you to contact GMB again to remove it once your business re-opens. It’s recommended for businesses with only one or two locations, but would be harder to manage with 10 or more locations. Some drawbacks of this option include not being able to accept new customer reviews, and not showing up in the local finder.
- Set holiday hours, and update periodically. This is available to businesses that already have regular business hours included in their listing, and will require you to mark your business as closed for each day separately – it is a manual process but allows you to keep your business open on Google
- Mark your business as permanently closed. For businesses that are looking at an indefinite amount of time closed, this may be the best and easiest option to maintain. And although the label of “permanently closed” sounds just that, you’ll actually be able to reopen the listing once you’re ready – not an if, but WHEN. Let’s think positively.
- Create a new post that announces the change in business hours and availability. No matter which option you choose for business or hour settings, we recommend following that up with a post on your GMB profile to make the changes 100% transparent to your audience.
For Yelp listings, the options are similar to GMB in that you can change your hours of operation to special holiday hours, mark each day as closed, or temporarily close your business. Conversely, we don’t recommend that you permanently close your Yelp listing, as is possible in GMB, because you won’t be able to reopen it.
- Marking all days as closed
- To temporarily mark your business as closed, you must submit a request at this form while logged into your business account.
Other Business Hours Citations
- Update your website. Outside of directory listings, this is where returning customers and clients will go for updates as a “source of truth”, so if your hours of operation or closure details are not found here it will cause major confusion.
- Don’t forget your social media profiles. Update your availability across all platforms that you have a profile established, whether you routinely use it or not. It’s also important to follow up on those changes with a post to your followers, explaining the change. Be clear, honest and supportive. Whether you’re planning on being closed for one month or until further notice, make sure your audience is aware.