While Hurricane Michael is the recent U.S. natural catastrophe, every week businesses face the threat of a potential man-made or environmental disaster.
Developing a good business continuity plan can make the difference between losing customers and creating customer advocates for long-term brand loyalty. Insurance companies can help you to replace physical things, but their policies cannot help you recover customers who jump ship to your competitors. Where most companies fail to plan, you can plan to win.
Here are some basic things to keep in mind:
- Identify all critical business functions and time-sensitive processes and resources;
- Developing a plan to recover essential business operations is not effective during a disaster. Your team will surely forget vital things which make your company run smoothly. Success comes with previous planning;
- Dedicate a business continuity team and provide them with their assignments and the resources to support them before a disaster;
- Conduct training, brainstorming sessions and exercises to ensure the strength of the plan for the business continuity team and testing and exercises to evaluate recovery strategies and the business continuity plan.
An analysis of business impact should take place annually. Understanding the operational and financial impact of a disaster is critical during the planning and prioritization of vital functions.
Beyond these basics of business continuity planning, we always remind our clients that communication is critical during a disaster and as mentioned above. It makes the difference between losing customers and creating brand ambassadors. Most customers understand the impact a disaster can have on individuals. However, most customers expect businesses to have insurance, teams of people to help the company thrive during disasters. When customers do not see this type of organization in place, they will begin to seek out alternatives, especially in business to business industries. Companies are often looked at as entities and not groups of humans working on their client’s behalf.
Here are three things to keep in mind.
- Humanize the results of a disaster. Prevent your communications from sounding sterile. Provide a view of how your company is working to get back to 100%. Humanizing your messaging reminds customers your brand is not just an entity. For example, if your company has vital members of its team out of the office because of loss of their homes or loved ones during a disaster, share this information with customers. Remind your customers that behind your company’s brand is a group of humans that are just like them who are trying to recoup during a disaster.
- Ensure your communications are scheduled, and you share how often updates will be provided. Do not miss the updates either. Show your brand can be trusted and keep its word.
- Your spokesperson, communications and customer account teams should have the latest in public updates. Misspeaking can also build mistrust and show your organization is lacking organization.
There are many other tips we share with our clients, plus exact messaging for various disasters.
If you ever get stuck or need to work on developing a business continuity plan for your company or need an external team to help run communications, please contact our team. From internal messaging for your employees to communicate with existing customers and leads, Above Promotions can assist your brand.