Any type of business is susceptible to emergencies. And as 2020 and the COVID-19 pandemic have shown us, the future is unpredictable and our plans can change at any time. But if you are running a small business, keeping an updated disaster preparedness plan can help you be ready for when the next unexpected event takes place. It can also take a significant burden off your shoulders, since you will be able to focus on other things
As a business owner, it is very likely that you have gone to great lengths to make sure your business is safe. You probably have an alarm system and cameras installed at your workplace to deter any possible break-ins, you may store all your databases in a cloud service to prevent data loss, and you almost certainly have some type of insurance in place. So, what else can you do to prepare your business against emergencies, and why should you do it?
Here are some of the reasons why disaster preparedness planning is crucial for every business:
Reason #1. It provides continuity for your customers.
If several customers had made appointments with your business before disaster struck, it will be useful to be able to keep your lines of communication open. In some cases, you may need to take note of cancellations, provide a new appointment, or make arrangements to ship a product on short notice.
A simple way to provide this continuity is to work with a virtual answering service, which will provide a remote call center where trained operators will ensure that your customers can communicate with your business, even during an emergency. If your business is temporarily unreachable, operators will proceed to take messages and deliver them to you as soon as possible. They will also provide customers’ with updated information regarding the status of your business.
Reason #2. It can help prevent or reduce losses during an emergency.
A good disaster preparedness plan will minimize the time that it takes for your business to get back to work during an emergency. Being able to keep your business running will make it easier for you to still earn money and minimize the losses that you may suffer as a result of the emergency.
After a disaster, you may need to seek out new providers, establish a temporary location for your business, have some employees work from home, or make certain repairs to your facilities. The recovery process after an emergency will be much smoother if you have a good plan in place beforehand, which will minimize the need to improvise as events unfold. Instead, you will know what you need to do and which options are available to ensure that your business is able to return to normal as quickly as possible.
Reason #3. It can increase customer loyalty and satisfaction.
Knowing that your business will be available even during difficult times can give your clients peace of mind. They will know that when things get tough, they will still be able to call your business and get the services or products that they need from you.
Something as simple as hiring a virtual answering service to make sure that your telephone lines are operated 24/7 during an emergency can give customers the assurance that they need. They will know that their messages will reach your business directly, and that they won’t have to wait too long to get what they need.
And once the disaster passes, your customers will remember the great service that you provided and will be more likely to remain loyal to your brand. Their satisfaction can also improve your business’ reputation and the likelihood that existing customers will recommend your services to more people, increasing your clientele. Disasters can be a trying and stressful time, but having a preparedness plan can turn a difficult situation into an opportunity for growth and improvement.
Reason #4. It can give you an advantage over your competition.
If your business is up and running during a disaster, and your competitors’ aren’t, it will be much easier for you to attract new customers. Say, for example, that you are the only plumbing business with a virtual answering service and a preparedness plan during a flash flood or a large power outage in your area.
The clients who require plumbing services during the emergency will eventually contact you — they may find your information online, or other clients will refer them to you. This will give you the opportunity to win over new clients and gain an important advantage over any competitors who are unable to operate during a disaster situation.