Business empathy is a must to be successful. Our clients typically do not call us when things are smooth. Today was one of those non-smooth days. Emails began to come in from our best clients, putting us on alert for emergency repairs at their facilities – assuming they are needed. The phones were ringing, with clients asking us what we thought about the Hurricane plot and its accuracy. There were meetings in facility offices around the country discussing the timing and need to board up facilities along the path. Here is what the path looks like while I am writing this…
As things begin to ramp up, it is important for all businesses to clarify internal and external communications. Detail how you will be in contact with employees, customers, and others during and following a hurricane or other potential disaster. Ensure you have created a staff phone tree, as well as management contact information. You may also want to include critical mission vendors’ contact information. Additionally, make sure you have signs available indicating your facility is closed, cancel all reservations, and post closing information on the homepage of your website and share that information on your social media accounts.
Secure your facility, board up windows, place sandbags by the doors and entrances to reduce potential flooding, remove ice from the ice bins and/or ice machines and unplug all appliances and electronics. Prepare for utility and service disruptions, have a plan in place to deal with extended outages during and following a hurricane or other disaster. Reduce food supplies, and if you find the area is under evacuation, consider donating food items to the local fire department, shelters, and emergency facilities. Lastly, secure your data and information technology systems.
Keep in mind it is people who will be impacted the most. Throughout the supply chain we serve, there are people; people who need their facility back on line because they need their job, people without power who need a place to feed their family, people who simply want their life back the way it was, normal, free of debris, down wires, AC available, the choices they had before the storm.
We had our own meeting this morning, between Operations and Client Relations, sharing concerns and taking inventory of our material requirements should we be called into action. We also discussed our schedule, where our crews are, and which work orders can slip a week or two if we are called into emergency restoration mode. Our clients know “we can’t build the Church for Easter” – so we have a Project Management and Technician workforce that is built to sustain a reasonable backlog of business – no one expects a hurricane – and it’s been 10 years since one hit Florida – so, we couldn’t possibly carry additional labor or equipment capacity for 10 years waiting on a catastrophe.
We do our best, even as the storm approaches, to uphold our value proposition to our clients – professional project management, constant communication and collaboration before, during and after the job, and consistent quality work performed to exacting standards. Even with an oncoming hurricane, RFS is “Remodeling the Renovation Experience”.