This month, we’re continuing to share tips and insights for small business-owners that can help them thrive in a tough economy. (Plus, it’s August in South Florida, which is usually slow even in the best of times.) Let’s talk about virtual tools that can help you keep customers on the hook and hopefully close more sales.

Virtual Tours
There are now many affordable, high-quality visualization tools on the market, from simple walkthrough videos to fully interactive, self-guided tour platforms. Many of these are plugins you can host right on your website. This immersive technology combines sound, images, motion and graphics to help sell real estate, promote a school or even just give potential customers a peek inside your company. That alone can help them feel connected to your business and more willing to patronize it.

Virtual Assistants
If you ever feel like you can’t respond to social media messages and website inquiries fast enough, you might want to consider a virtual assistant. VAs use advancements in artificial intelligence to take on tasks like customer engagement, and you can already find this type of service built into the Messenger part of your Facebook Business page. Another example is a website chatbot that pops up and offers to help or answer questions when someone visits your site. Do a quick search for “website chatbot” to see just how many options are out there.

Virtual Phones
Say you’re running a restaurant and doing mainly – or only – takeout orders. Chances are you’re on the phone a lot. Virtual phone services like Google Voice and Ring Central can help in some really interesting ways. Here’s one: when a customer calls your business number, you can have multiple cell phones ring so the call is answered fast. Or, if you’re on the phone and can’t answer, you can have the call automatically routed to another employee so you don’t miss the sale.

Virtual Office Party
Sometimes it’s the human investments that count. Right now, many teams are working remotely and it’s having a real effect on morale. Arrange a virtual happy hour for Friday afternoon where you stop work at 3, jump on Zoom or Google Meet, grab your beverage of choice and just talk. A little checkin and some socializing can recharge people’s spirits for the week ahead.

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About Brand Poets

Founded by Tana M. Llinás, Brand Poets is a collective of strategists, storytellers, and digital artisans crafting smart, poignant campaigns that command attention.

Instagram: @BrandPoets

This article was originally published in the Community Newspapers.