How to Keep Your Customers During a DisasterApril 1, 2015
Firestorm (a business continuity, risk mitigation and crisis management company) conducted a survey of 1,000 large companies, both manufacturers and service providers, on their disaster recovery plans. A third of respondents said they couldn’t identify who their critical suppliers were. Of the remaining two-thirds, half said they hadn’t viewed their suppliers’ business contingency plans. If a natural disaster paralyzes any points in your supply or distribution chain, how should you handle customers that are depending on you for their orders? Insurance can pay for the lost revenue, but it may be difficult to move on if customers took their business elsewhere. [more]
Step one would be to remember the importance of communicating with customers. Immediately contact all affected customers and offer them alternatives, such as:
- product(s) equal or greater value
- gift cards and/or product and shipping discounts
Communication is key here. If the disaster is of an appropriate scale, you should also set up a toll-free number (separate from your standard customer service line) specifically to address customer concerns over the disaster. Set up an FAQ and keep your entire customer-base updated via email and social media. If your communications are fast and upfront about the situation, you’ll be more likely to keep you customer happy, and loyal.