Run retailers that are still getting the kinks out of their curbside pickup services can turn to Numa, a technology company that is offering for a limited time a free new kind of answering service powered by artificial intelligence (AI) that ensures businesses never miss a call or text. Numa this month is temporarily waiving all fees, as well as contract and credit card requirements, to support businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Offering at least two months of its service free of charge, Numa extends a lifeline to help small and medium-size run retailers communicate with their customers and clients during one of the most troubling times in history.

While the backbone of the technology is used for general communications, for run retailers limited to curbside pickup a key component is the ability to offer text-to-order with curbside pickup, even if they don’t have any online ordering site.

“One thing we know for sure in this time of great uncertainty is that it’s no longer business as usual,” says Numa co-founder Tasso Roumeliotis, who founded Location Labs and was an early pioneer in mobile and location-based technology. “As the COVID-19 crisis intensifies, most Americans are now aware that retail shops are being disproportionately affected, many forced to shut their doors and leave scores of employees without jobs. More than ever, we are reminded that these small, independent, local and family-owned businesses—Main Street USA—are the backbone of America and need our support.”

Other parts of the free Numa technology include:

  • Collecting contact information (and opt-in) from customers so they can be notified via a mass text as business conditions change.
  • Viewing and responding to all customer communication, even if the business is closed.
  • Easily updating hours and voicemail messages from anywhere.
  • Responding to common questions automatically.

“We urge businesses to take advantage of this, the sooner the better,” adds Roumeliotis. “And we want everyone to know we are all in this together.”

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