In the Atlantic, hurricane season begins on June 1 and lasts until November 30. Businesses located on the Gulf and Atlantic coasts are vulnerable to hurricanes for half of the year, and without proper preparation, they can be devastated if one strikes.

Many businesses are not prepared to respond to a natural disaster like a hurricane. According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), of the businesses that close due to a disaster, 40% never reopen.

With that said, disaster planning should be a critical part of every business’ operational objectives, particularly when it comes to customer service. While it’s hard to predict the damage that a hurricane will cause to a business’ office, equipment, or employees, one thing that business leaders can control is how their customers are communicated with before, during and after a storm. An answering service can literally be your business’ only connection to your customers while it works to recover.

Here are some ways to protect your business this hurricane season, and recover more efficiently if a storm strikes.

Understand your level of risk

Your business’ location determines your level of risk. Being located closer to the coast, particularly in southern states, means that you have a higher risk of storm damage. This is due to high wind gusts, flooding, failed power lines, and other types of damage caused by hurricanes.

However, it is important to note that hurricanes have gotten stronger and more powerful in recent years. Now even businesses that are farther inland could be at risk of hurricane damage in the future.

Have a hurricane plan in place so your business is prepared

Though the Atlantic hurricane season starts each year on June 1, emergency planning should be a year-round priority. Business owners in hurricane-prone areas should make sure they are ready for a potential storm.

In the aftermath of a hurricane, it’s crucial that you can maintain communication with your customers, vendors and employees at all times. Here are three reasons to make sure that your business has a communication plan in place, thus making sure everyone who needs to communicate with your business still can.

  • Customers will appreciate the excellent service during a stressful time. Natural disasters are extremely stressful for many people, and they will likely want to contact your business looking for emergency information. Even if you can’t answer the phone personally, an answering service can provide callers with answers and assistance, and help them get through the difficult days.
  • Maintaining a sense of normalcy will reassure customers, and improve their opinion of your company. Being able to contact your business and hear a friendly voice will bring reassurance and comfort to panicked callers. They will appreciate hearing that everything will be okay and that things will soon be business as usual.
  • 24/7 communication allows your business to recover faster from a disaster. By never losing contact with customers, vendors, and employees, you can keep some parts of your business running, as usual, saving thousands of dollars in lost revenue.

Having a live answering service on standby can help your business avoid communications downtime before, during, and after a hurricane. Your customers, employees, and vendors will still be able to get in touch with your business, and their messages can be passed along to the proper individuals even if your standard methods of business communications have been disrupted.