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COVID-19

Supporting you during COVID-19

During this unexpected time, our team is on board to continue assisting you. We are currently maintaining our standard operating hours and are available from 9:00am – 6:00pm, Monday to Friday.

For enquiries, please contact us by calling our support team on: 1800 810 211

 

COVID-19 FAQ’s for Businesses

White Pages is here to help Australian businesses in this time of uncertainty. We’ve answered some of your questions below.

How can I keep customers informed of changes to my business?

It’s important to ensure your customers can easily find how to contact you and how your business has adapted during the pandemic. The ways in which you can do this vary depending on the White Pages service you have.

 

White Pages Listings

 

To update your business details or to add new information, please contact customer services on 1800 810 211 or submit any changes via our online form.

Some information you may consider updating:

  • Any changes to trading hours or how you are trading during the pandemic
  • Updating your business information, to outline any special precautions, extra services or expected delays for example.
  • Updating your phone number to a mobile number if your business is now operating remotely.

Don’t forget to update your social media channels, Google My Business and Bing accounts to reflect your changes.

Please note, we are experiencing a high volume of requests and may take up to 5 days to respond to online form requests.

 

White Pages Connect

 

White Pages Connect customers are able to login to the tool and update business information, these details will then update your online listings across the top search engines, social sites, maps and apps – including Google and Facebook. All with a single click.

We recommend updating the following information to keep your customers informed:

  • Any changes to trading during the pandemic. We recommend using the ‘special opening hours’ section of your White Pages Connect tool for this.
  • Updating your business information, to outline any changes to the services you offer, special precautions or expected delays in light of the pandemic. You can do this in the ‘long description’ section within the basic data tab.
  • Changing your phone number to a mobile number if your business is now operating remotely.
  • With things changing from day to day, creating posts is a great way to share regular updates with customers on your response to the pandemic and any changes to the business. Regular posts also keep your business front of mind for customers during the crisis. It is important that your posts are relevant and valuable during this unprecedented time. Please note, posts are available to White Pages Connect Elite customers only.

Click here to learn more about White Pages Connect or contact our expert team on 1800 031 668.

 

White Pages Connect Enterprise and Premium

 

Please contact your Key Account Manager or the Customer Success team who will be able to assist you with updates across your locations. Click here for more details.

How can I make adjustments to my listing or subscription?

We understand that businesses have been affected during this unprecedented time. Should you need to make changes, please contact us by calling our support team on: 1800 810 211 from 9:00am – 6:00pm, Monday to Friday (AEST).

Should I set special opening hours for my locations?

With many businesses having to alter the way they trade during this unprecedented time, we strongly recommend to use the opening hours notes and special opening hours features in White Pages Connect to inform customers if there have been any changes due to COVID-19.

Special opening hours apply for a certain period only. Please use this field to inform customers whether you have had to temporarily close, extend or reduce trading hours during the crisis. Closing a location for 7+ consecutive days will be considered as ‘temporarily closed’ on some directories.

To provide customers with further details, it’s worthwhile updating your description or adding a post. This will help provide clarity to customers on changes to the way your business operate or to simply inform customer if it’s business as usual. Click here to find out more on how to add a post.

Special opening hours can only be added to accounts that have normal opening hours completed. You should not remove or update your normal opening hours, as this can cause an error.

Login to your White Pages Connect account to get started.

How do I set special opening hours for my location or mark it as temporarily closed?

We’ve put together quick video guides to updating opening hours in White Pages Connect to help you inform your customers when your business is open during the crisis.

 

1. Navigating to special opening hours in White Pages Connect

 

 

2. Updating special opening hours in White Pages Connect or marking a business as temporarily closed due to COVID-19.

 

 

3. Updating opening hours and information in White Pages Connect

 

 

Login to your White Pages Connect account to get started.

How long does it take for my special opening hours changes to be displayed?

Some directories take up to seven days to update your listing, so it is important special opening hours are added or updated as soon as possible. Whilst you update these for pandemic affected dates, it’s worth considering the upcoming public holidays too.

Support your special opening hours with a post, as this will appear across Google* and Facebook at your specified time.

Login to your White Pages Connect account to get started.

NOTE: *Google posts related to COVID-19 are now temporarily permitted for all businesses with White Pages Connect Elite. This rule is subject to change by Google for businesses with 10+ locations.

How do I create a post in White Pages Connect?

This guide provides a step-by-step approach to posting in White Pages Connect.

 

How to post and respond to reviews in White Pages Connect

 

Login to your White Pages Connect account to get started.

Please note: This feature is available in White Pages Connect Elite only. To learn more about White Pages Connect, click here or contact our expert team on 1800 031 668.

 

Are Google posts available for chain businesses with 10+ locations?

Google posts related to COVID-19 are now temporarily permitted for all businesses with White Pages Connect Elite. This rule is subject to change by Google for businesses with 10+ locations.

Important Note: Posts that include a phone number may be rejected.

Posts to Google must mention ‘COVID-19 update’ in the title and should inform your customers of any changes to your services, hours or temporary closures. Posts are text only and Google may reject posts that do not meet their guidelines.

Should I re-name my location as “XYZ closed until further notice” or “XYZ still open during the pandemic”?

No. Renaming your business or setting it to ‘Permanently closed’ could trigger re-verification of your business on Google, which may be detrimental to your online visibility.

Special opening hours is designed for temporary changes to trading. If your store is closed due to the crisis, this can be indicated in your special opening hours, too.

Are there any restrictions on Google My Business?

Google has made some temporary changes to Google My Business to focus on the reliability of information on Google Search and Google Maps during the crisis. As a result, there are restrictions on some of the functions of Google My Business:

  • Google is currently prioritising the processing of GMB changes and verification based on relevance criteria. This may cause delays for some business changes.
  • New reviews, new short names, all videos, and all Q&A are all currently unavailable.
  • You will now be able to reply to Google reviews through White Pages Connect.
  • For more information on the changes to Google My Business, visit the Google My Business COVID-19 Help page.

Please note, reviews, posts and Q&A are available to White Pages Connect Elite customers only.

What do the Google My Business restrictions mean for my White Pages Connect account?

It is important to update White Pages Connect for customers to understand any changes to your business at this time. That’s why, there are no restrictions to White Pages Connect currently, however, you may receive an error if trying to update a temporarily restricted feature on Google My Business.

Any updates made may take a little longer than usual to display on Google My Business. New Google reviews and the ability to post questions and answers have been temporarily disabled by Google.

Please note, reviews, posts and Q&A are available to White Pages Connect Elite customers only.

 

Why am I not receiving Google reviews?

Google has paused the ability for customers to review businesses currently. This is so that Google can focus on critical edits and accurate information during the COVID-19 crisis.

Please note, reviews are available to White Pages Connect Elite customers only.

What support is available for businesses during COVID-19?

At White Pages, we are committed to helping Australian businesses during the COVID-19 crisis and beyond. We’ve broken down what the Federal Government’s $17.6 billion stimulus package means for Aussies and their businesses.

There are four elements to the Government’s stimulus package.

One off $750 payment to households

The first incentive, a one-off payment of $750 to around 6.5 million lower-income Australians, is intended to be spent to keep the economy going. The payment will be made from 31 March 2020 but with about half of those benefiting being typically frugal pensioners it may not be the right target audience. The Grattan Institute says: “Many pensioners are net savers so there is a risk that a lot of the money doesn’t make it back into the economy.”

Visit treasury.gov.au/coronavirus/households for more information.

Up to $25,000 for SMBs – cash flow assistance

The second incentive provides up to $25,000 to SMBs to cover the costs of employee wages and salaries. It is available to businesses with a turnover below $50 million that employ staff, between 1 January 2020 and 30 June 2020. These eligible businesses will receive a payment equal to 50% of their PAYG withheld, delivered as a credit in their BAS from March to June 2020, with a minimum $2,000 payment and up to a cap of $25,000. This measure will cost $6.7 billion over four years and will happen automatically based on the Business Activity Statements. About 690,000 businesses employing around 7.8 million people are expected to benefit from this incentive.

There is good news if you retain or employ apprentices. $1.3 billion will be made available to support SMBs to support the jobs of around 120,000 apprentices and trainees. Eligible employers can apply for a wage subsidy of 50% of an apprentice’s or trainee’s wage for up to nine months from 1 January 2020 to 30 September 2020 up to $21,000 per apprentice. Businesses can register for the subsidy from early April 2020 with final claims for payment due by 31 December 2020.

The government estimates that up to 70,000 SMBs will access the incentive to support around 117,000 apprentices.

Visit treasury.gov.au/coronavirus/businesses for more information.

Asset write-offs/ accelerated depreciation – to support business investment

The third incentive is the allocation of $3.9 billion to encourage businesses to spend. The instant asset write-off threshold will be increased from $30,000 to $150,000 for businesses with aggregated annual turnover of less than $500 million (up from $50 million). The higher threshold is in place from 12 March until 30 June 2020 and applies to new or second-hand assets first used or installed ready for use during these dates. The threshold applies on a per asset basis, so eligible businesses can immediately write-off multiple assets. From 1 July 2020, the threshold will revert to $1,000 for small businesses (annual turnover of less than $10 million), however, businesses not entitled to this instant asset write-off may be entitled to the 50% investment incentive.

In addition to the above, businesses with a turnover of less than $500 million that are purchasing new depreciable assets, will be able to deduct an additional 50% of the asset cost in the year of purchase from 12 March 2020 until 30 June 2021 (15 month investment incentive).

These business investment measures are expected to support more than 3.5 million businesses (over 99% of businesses) employing more than 9.7 million employees.

Visit treasury.gov.au/coronavirus/business-investment for more information.

Regional support fund

The fourth incentive is a $1 billion fund to support regions most significantly affected by the coronavirus outbreak. It says that those “disproportionately affected” include those heavily reliant on industries such as tourism, agriculture and education.

And the ATO also made changes

In addition to the above, on 12 March, the ATO announced a series of concessions to assist businesses. These were:

  • deferring by up to 4 months the payment of tax amounts due through the BAS (including PAYG instalments), income tax assessments, FBT assessments and excise by affected businesses;
  • allowing affected businesses on a quarterly reporting cycle to opt into monthly GST reporting to get quicker access to any GST refunds;
  • allowing affected businesses to vary PAYG instalment amounts to zero for the April 2020 quarter. Businesses that vary their PAYG instalment to zero can also claim a refund for any instalments made for the September 2019 and December 2019 quarters;
  • remitting any interest and penalties, incurred by affected businesses on or after 23 January 2020, that have been applied to tax liabilities; and
  • allowing affected businesses to enter into low-interest payment plans for their existing and ongoing tax liabilities.

The ATO assistance is not automatic, taxpayers must first contact the ATO to request assistance, and if eligible, the ATO will ‘tailor’ the assistance package for the relevant taxpayer.

For more information visit the ATO website.

This information is accurate as at 16 March 2020.