Mind Your Business: Providing Disaster Relief

By Steve Michaels

Q. We generate a lot of extra revenue whenever there is a hurricane, power outage, or snowstorm. Is there any way that we can capitalize on all the work we do for these clients during natural disasters?

A. That’s a great question and I have a great answer from Wil Porter from Ansaphone Service in Massachusetts:

The day after a snowstorm, tornado, power outage, or flood you have a great opportunity to reinforce or introduce clients to the great value you bring to the table. I know many of you are literally exhausted from the onslaught that just happened, but the advantages could far outweigh this extra effort.

This is the time to call your large clients as well as those clients that used you more than what would be typical for that day, telling them that you wanted to make sure that they have recovered from the storm. Are they all dug out, above water, with power restored?  Do they need you to continue to provide services for them until things are back to normal? Review the types and number of calls received. Most calls received during a disaster will be far different from those received during normal circumstances. These messages can provide great insight and lead to recommendations of other services and solutions.

A good introduction might be, “We should review your instructions and obtain additional information in case this kind of thing happens again.” Some other suggestions to consider:

Coordination: “If there is a weather-related event coming, who should be called to coordinate information?”

Facilities: “Can we store the names and numbers of people to contact in the event that your management staff needs to reach building managers to alert them of problems or receive updates?”

Call out protocols: “Some of your employees, especially new ones, may not remember the protocol for reporting absences. Let us know how to handle those calls more efficiently for you.”

Snow line: You can suggest setting up a “snow line” for employees to call to find out if they are supposed work.

As Wil concluded in his email, “We are not just one less thing to worry about, but one great thing that they can count on!”

Steve Michaels is a business broker with TAS Marketing and can be contacted at 800-369-6126 or tas@tasmarketing.com for questions.

[From Connection Magazine April 2009]

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