Tuesday, May 19, 2015

When a Hurricane Comes Calling: How Your Call Management System Can Help You Prepare

Well, folks, it's that time of year again: hurricane season. It starts in a few weeks on June 1, and rumor has it we're in for one of the least active hurricane seasons in a decade. But this news isn't a free pass to put hurricane preparedness on hold this year.

Before you hit the beach, use this handy guide from the American Red Cross to help you get storm ready.

We also want to let you in on a little secret the guide doesn't mention: You can use your call management system as a preparedness tool.

Communication is a crucial part of preparing for hurricanes (and other disasters too). To help your business weather a storm, it's important to make sure your prospects and employees aren't left in the dark about what's going on with the company. Here are two ways you can use your call management system to keep the lines of communication open.

Reroute Calls During a Power Outage

Even if your business isn't damaged by a hurricane, it might still experience power outages that could knock your phones out. But just because the power is out doesn't mean you’ll have to evacuate potential sales.

Several years ago, as Hurricane Ike was bearing down on the coast of Texas, we worked with a client to create a simple contingency plan in case any of the business's 15 locations in Houston experienced an outage.

If the phones were knocked out, we had Enhanced Call Completion set up and ready to have calls forwarded to a voicemail system, recorded and emailed to the correct dealership. This would ensure that messages, leads and sales were not lost due to the conditions.

You can create a similar solution for your business using your call routing tool. You might also want to record a voicemail message explaining why you’re not answering the phone (like "We’re currently unable to answer the phones due to Hurricane X, but we'll return your call as soon as possible").

Keep Your Employees in the Loop

Broadcast messages aren't just for your customers. You can use them to keep your employees informed during emergency situations.

For example, you could send a message saying, "We have lost the roof at our Suzuki location and all employees are not to return to work until Tuesday," or, "The front road to the dealership is closed until further notice. For now, please enter the dealership from the west entrance."

A little bit of prep goes a long way — each of these steps take minimal effort to set up but can play an important role in helping your business survive the effects of a hurricane.

Can you think of other ways you can use your call management system for hurricane preparedness? Let us know in the comments!

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