As we enter June, hurricane season is officially upon us. For those with businesses and homes in areas like the Atlantic Coast and the Gulf of Mexico, the time is now to begin hurricane preparations.
Creating a hurricane preparation plan for your home may be something you put off until a storm shows up in The Gulf, but your hurricane preparation plan for your business should be considered and created as soon as possible.
Use these three simple tips to prepare your business for the 2020 hurricane season.
1. Evaluate What Is Most Important
When it comes time to prepare for this year's hurricane season, your business should focus on your employees, your customers, and your locations.
Protect Your Employees
Your business will only be as strong as your employees, so be sure to take care of them, especially in emergency situations. During a weather disaster, your employees will look to you for information and guidance. Be sure to provide your employees with information concerning:
- Whether to evacuate or stay put
- How and where to get information about the emergency itself
- What areas of the building to avoid
- How and when it is safe to return back to the workplace
Think of Your Customers and Callers
During and after a hurricane, your call levels will likely increase and your customers will need you more than ever.
How Home Services Businesses Are Affected By Hurricanes: When dealing with the aftermaths of a hurricane, homeowners can suffer greatly. Power outages can cause electricity issues, the increase in people at home can result in a plumbing problem, and to make matters worse, an a/c unit can give out.
Before long your phones will be ringing nonstop. If you are in the office, answering all these calls will be impossible! And missing a call in the home services business can result in lost revenue, as any missed call can be a new customer calling to schedule a service.
Partnering with an answering service can help prevent such revenue loss. An answering service can answer overflow and after-hours calls, schedule appointments and, even integrate with your CRM. When choosing the best answering service to partner with, be sure that they have experience in your specific industry and have the capabilities to service you and your customers in the best way possible.
Learn how Dexcomm can provide an industry-specific solution for your home services business.
How Medical Offices Are Affected By Hurricanes: While hurricanes often come with warnings, they can be more impactful than we originally assume. If a hurricane causes certain levels of damage, your clients will call in hopes of rescheduling or canceling appointments. They may even call just to get information on when your business will open back up.
This influx of calls can overwhelm any receptionist, and may even prevent your staff from fulfilling other responsibilities. A medical answering service can prove quite beneficial in this type of situation by handling overflow calls. If you do choose to work with a medical answering service, ensure that they are HIPAA compliant and professional.
Consider All Locations
If your business has multiple locations, you'll also want to consider the unique needs of each location. Some locations may be more affected by a potential storm than others and require more planning and more resources.
2. Create A Plan
Back Up Data
Hurricanes are unpredictable, so ensuring that your data is backed up offsite in case of flooding or damage is a great way to prepare your business. You can also use a cloud-based system to guarantee that your important data is kept safe.
Forward Your Business Calls
Before you evacuate your office, be sure to have a plan for forwarding your business calls. You may choose to forward your calls to your personal phone or have an employee responsible for answering calls on a cell phone. While this solution may work on weekends when you have low call volume, it isn't ideal for customer service.
Employees who take a business cell home with them may not be able or willing to answer every single call that your company receives. During a hurricane, this will be even less likely, as your employees will be focused on safety.
Instead of potentially missing important customer calls, consider forwarding your calls to a 24/7 answering service. A premium answering service can handle your calls with the compassion and professionalism that an in-house employee would, while providing flexibility for you and your team.
Review Insurance Contracts
Don't wait until after a storm to check your insurance coverage. Now is the best time to review contracts with insurance providers and determine what is covered in weather-related accidents.
The most important thing you can do to protect your business during hurricane season is to communicate.
Communicate With Your Employees
Your employees will be looking to you for leadership and consistent information. Consider sending out emails or texts to employees that tell them:
- Details about the storm
- How the hurricane may or may not affect their work
- If your workplace will remain open or if employees should work remotely
Communicate With Your Customers
Your customers will have questions during this time as well. Consider creating a post on your social media accounts or blog that explains any changes to your hours and addresses possible closures.
Communicate With Your Answering Service Provider
If you currently partner with an answering service, you'll want to reach out and let them know of any closures that will result in them receiving more of your forwarded calls.
You'll also want to ask your telephone answering service partner how they prepare for hurricane season and other emergencies. Ask your partner the following questions:
- What does your redundancy look like?
- Will you still be able to answer my calls if a power outage occurs?
- If downtime occurs, how long should it be expected to last?
Key PointsBy evaluating what is most important, creating and following a plan, and communicating, your business will be well prepared for whatever the 2020 hurricane season may bring.