What would you do if your phone lines, for your business, went down today?
What if a natural disaster devastated your area?
What if a fire took out your main customer support office?
In 2017, the Federal Reserve conducted a survey on how US small businesses handled disasters, and how prepared they were to face one. Of the more than 300-billion dollars in damages to small businesses, only 17% of them said they had a contingency plan in place for disasters. In fact, only 40-60 percent of businesses that go through a disaster, will stay in business. Sadly, more will fail after just twelve months post-disaster.
Your company might be in the California wildfire zones or the hurricane paths in the Florida Panhandle. Maybe you’re in the Midwest and find yourself bracing for severe weather events all year long. The fact is, most geographic areas face some kind of unforeseen challenges in keeping their businesses open and their customers served. These kinds of events can completely derail a company and reshape it for years to come.
When Disaster Strikes
Recently, in California, The Camp Fire completely wiped out more than 260 businesses in just a few days. This ranged from single owned small businesses to full-blown corporate entities and even a hospital.
Also, in Florida, hurricane Michael hit small businesses exponentially, to the point that many will not rebuild. In a community where corporations didn’t exist, (to keep beach-town charm alive) small business owners are now left to figure out how to completely recreate their community and bring back tourism.
Disaster preparedness is a priority for any business owner. Just think of the customer retention and appreciation your company may experience if yours, is one of the only businesses up and running after a crisis in your community.
Have you thought about preparing for these types of events and how you would recover? It takes only a few days of disaster recovery to lose business while you sort through the insurance process, clean up the chaos or recover crucial systems you need to get back online. This can leave your customers to fend for themselves as they might not understand the gravity of your situation. Working through the unexpected, successfully, can be simple if you have a plan in place.
Why Do You Need a Disaster Preparedness Call Center Plan?
1. A Smoother Recovery
When a business is prepared, the recovery process can move both faster and easier. This plan will show your customers how they can rely on your company, even at a time of crisis. Further, It will help employees understand their role in the recovery process and eliminate the sense of panic that comes in these situations.
2. Cost-Efficient Option
A call center operation can be incredibly cost-effective. These kinds of operations allow a business to spread out their investment of crisis management over a period of time, rather than at the time of an emergency when funds will be most needed to recover.
3. Maintain and Scale
A crisis event will typically wipe out a business that is relying on technology, online sales, and customer service support. A call center operation service can reduce, or even stimulate a business’s scalability. 4. Know Your Customers Better When you chose to work with a call center you will learn more about your customers during an emergency event. The collection of crucial information at these times will further help you anticipate what your customers need, and may even uncover new ways your business can serve them.
5. Build Customer Loyalty and Trust
The demand for exceptional customer service in our fast-paced world is critical to a company’s future. This demand doesn’t cease just because of a crisis. When your business is prepared for a disaster, customers know they can trust working with you, which will repay you in a long-term business loyalty.
6. Self Reliant Business
Institutions like FEMA can support people and their businesses during a disaster event. However, chances are your business will be on a waitlist to receive support behind the critical care of human life. Having a call center support service will allow you to get back to business again while you wait for outside resources to catch up.
7. Less Stress and Fewer Mistakes
An emergency disaster event will, no doubt, create confusion and bring mounting stress. This can highlight an organization’s vulnerabilities. When trying to compensate for these vulnerabilities, mistakes can be made in handling your business and the needs of customers. Having a call center operation can significantly cut down on these mistakes, if not, eliminate them overall.
8. Human Capital Confidence
We know how hard it can be to retain quality staff and maintain their level of happiness in the workplace. When your business is prepared for a crisis, your workforce will gain greater confidence in the company and perform better as a result. When interviewed, “peace of mind” is a top priority for employees when it comes to their ideal workplaces. When employees know that their organization has their back in an emergency situation, you will retain top producers who have a strong commitment to your business.
9. Attention in The Right Place
Your attention will be wide spread in a crisis environment. It’s nearly impossible to keep track of all the variables, let alone, of your customers or vendors. A call center service can relieve that pressure and give your customers superior care while you handle the immediate tasks of infrastructure.
10. A Resource Haven
An added benefit of having a disaster call center supporting your business is having access to their extensive network of resources. Call centers have business networks to support all kinds of different needs and situations especially those you might not even know you need yet. This might come in the form of outsourcing aspects of your business or even creating dispatchers to support a segment of your customer base. These are situations you cannot plan for necessarily, but having an outside call center will eliminate the search for these resources when you are already stretched too thin.
Consider the Impossible
Imagine the unthinkable for a moment. A disaster strikes your community, and as a result, it will take weeks for the recovery process to begin. Your business was damaged in this event but could operate on a limited basis if you just had someone to tend to customer calls. You are busy working with the city to repair your structure and recover your systems grids.
This disaster situation doesn’t have to end poorly. With some insight and planning, your business can be in operation despite its main infrastructure taking on damages. In fact, customers who use your business (especially online) may not even see a change in their exceptional service because of your preparedness.
How Can We Support Your Business?
Our call centers have the appropriate infrastructure and technology in place to best serve your business if some emergency event were to ever take place. We know how costly it could be to do this on your own, therefore, we have thought of everything when it comes to what you might need during a challenging time.
We can provide your business with a complete spectrum of foundation duties. This can include answering services such as; taking messages, dispatching, call patching, reservations and even voicemail monitoring.
In addition, our inbound call center services are a great fit for moments when disaster situations strike. Our Brand Ambassadors can match your company mission and step in to be an extension of your team, who might be recovering themselves. We can assist in business outsourcing and even employee communications. We also have Help Desk options along with helplines and business order processing including returns.
As your employees tend to their own recovery process and attempt to get back to a sense of normalcy, we will be there in the meantime to ensure your business doesn’t suffer through that process. Our Customer Service Professionals act as your emergency communications team between your employees and even your customers.
Our call centers have the unique ability to convert your calls into various types of communication; such as text message, email or secure messages. This is key in an emergency when phone lines might be down or your internet and electrical grids are offline.
Our team of customer support professionals has been supporting businesses for more than fifteen years. They have spent countless hours understanding best practices so they can be the calm and efficient arm of your business during disaster situations. We are the expert communicators that know how important it is to respect and pay close attention to your customers during these kinds of events.
How Our Services Work
There is no “boilerplate” when it comes to business contingency plans. Your business and the companies we work with have unique needs and applications. When you choose AnswerFirst you are choosing a partner, not just a service, and we fully understand the significance of that decision.
For less than $250 a year, you can arrange to have your calls redirected to AnswerFirst anytime. Our team operates 24/7 and 365 days a year. All you need to do is contact your phone service carrier and provide them with the unique forwarding number we maintain solely for your company.
We have live Customer Service Professionals standing by 24-hours a day and are able to react to your needs, as well as the needs of your clients and employees.
Some of the details that make AnswerFirst a leader in this industry is our own preparedness. We practice what we preach in business contingency planning. We have invested in our business with the best technologies to save our customers those significant costs. Also, our feedback is exceptional. Whether it’s our less than 15-second hold time record or our approach to trying to answer calls in two rings or less. We are always on top of what makes this industry so powerful. We invite you to see what our clients say about in working with us.
Learn more about how our call center can help you with a business contingency plan in the event of an emergency, by giving one of our sales associates a call today. We will walk you through the process and create a system that will not only give you a sense of readiness but will give your business a leg up in being proactive.
A Trial Run
A final thought when getting your business ready for a potential disaster. Practice. All the planning in the world will do little to no good if you and your team aren’t practicing for a crisis situation. In fact, many businesses will conduct strategy meetings after disasters strike elsewhere in the world. These meetings result in streamlining disaster plans and reveal holes that might otherwise be overlooked when creating strategies. Run test disaster drills for your business with employees to see how well everyone performs and adjust where necessary. These trial runs can be great team building opportunities that leave your staff feeling confident and more supported.
Resources For Better Crisis Management
1. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has a number of resources on their website to support you before and after a crisis event. These include Disaster Business Objectives and Impact Analysis.
2. The Red Cross has various resources to support you, your employees and your business when disaster hits. We suggest looking a their “Ready Rating” system for additional support.
3. The US Chamber of Commerce offers resources with their “Quick Guide” in preparing for a disaster. They can work with your local chamber of Commerce in supporting a faster recovery for your business.
4. Finally, the IRS also has information on how you can ready your business for a potential disaster. This will help you prepare in working with them more effectively during your recovery period.
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