This is part one of a two-part series. Read part two here.

Hurricanes, tornadoes and other types of natural disasters are rarely considered by businesses when they’re developing their customer service plan, but those companies that plan ahead are often the only ones left standing after severe weather.

For an answering service company, this type of forethought is even more important because it’s not just your own customers who will suffer if you can’t carry on.

Unfortunately, however, many answering service companies don’t have a disaster plan in place, either because they’re located in areas with relatively few threats or because they simply haven’t been in business long enough to consider the serious consequences of their going offline. An answering service can literally be the only connection a damaged business has to its customers while it scrambles to get back to business as usual.

Preparing for Natural Disasters is Paramount to Excellent Customer Service

When disasters strike, customers may panic and feel like they’re completely alone and helpless. Whether you’re running a property management company or a medical office, your customers may call looking for emergency information. From whom to contact if their apartment has been severely damaged to when they’ll be able to refill their prescriptions, natural disasters leave people with a lot of questions. They turn to their providers for answers, and if you’re suddenly unavailable, what will they do?

Even if you can’t answer the phone personally, your answering service company can if it is prepared with a disaster plan. You can provide callers, customers and clients with emergency contact numbers, instructions for safely evacuating dangerous buildings, information on when your office will be open again and other pertinent details with your answering service so they can help your clients during some difficult days.

Reassure Customers Following a Disaster and Other Unforeseen Events

Having a disaster plan in place will help reassure your customers that everything is going to be ok and that it will get back to normal soon. Such a plan will also improve their opinion of your company dramatically. Panicked callers need a friendly voice to connect with during these stressful times, providing a trained answering service during your disaster recovery will help you maintain a sense of normalcy as best as you can, as well as handling what is likely to be a huge influx of calls once the dust settles.

Even if your business is undamaged and the phone lines untouched, a deluge of callers wanting to find out if you’ve been blown off the map can overwhelm your staff and leave frustrated callers listening to a busy signal as their fellow consumers clog the phone lines with their concerned calls. You simply cannot reassure that many people on your own, but an answering service can — and they’ll handle all those callers at the same time.

Not every answering service has a disaster plan, but if your business is a vital one, you should seriously consider choosing a service that does. Without a disaster plan, it may be very easy for customers to panic and defect to a competitor who happens to be still be open or available over the phone. Answering Service Care has been in business for over four decades and in that time we’ve developed one heck of a disaster plan. We’ll discuss that more in part two of this two-part series.