Maximizing profits is essential for businesses to thrive. Therefore, this is the main focus of many business owners, but very few focus time and effort on disaster and emergency preparedness. Are you prepared to support business activities while responding to an emergency? Emergency response lines are an important tool. To stay relevant and avoid business shutdowns, especially when the market is uncertain, organizations must run an effective business continuity management program with a reliable business continuity plan.
Emergency notification systems, employee hotlines, remote workforce support systems, online order processing, emergency support planning, and customer contact plans are essential tools to detail in your business continuity plan. In an emergency, events occur without any warning. For instance, your company may experience workplace violence, disease outbreaks, cybercrime, coronavirus, power outages, urban wildlife, active shooter, tornadoes, hurricanes, and many other natural disasters. Whenever such issues occur, they lead to impaired communication channels. Hence, it becomes challenging to relay important information to employees and customers.
The first step for any business is an emergency response line that can be initiated immediately. These hotlines are often automated using AI-powered technology and support your customers, employees, and potential customers.
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Here are our three business continuity tips related to emergency response lines:
1. Test all, test often!
You established an emergency response system many years ago. But when was the last time you tested it? Your business always needs to stay prepared to deal with potential emergencies; hence, it is essential to do routine testing of your emergency response lines.
While developing the testing program for your system, don’t forget to change the day, time, and season. Ensure that your system works on different days and times of the week. The sequence of devices must also be varied, and you should target different devices. If you receive a lower response rate during testing, organize pre-announced tests with groups of people.
2. Educate your employee base about your emergency system.
While testing your emergency notification system, employees may receive messages via email and text. The chances are that they do not recognize the number, and they will ignore it. Ignoring the message is not a favorable condition during emergency testing – you need to know whether it’s working and if people are receiving notifications!
To avoid this problem, make clear announcements to your employee base when setting up emergency response lines for the first time. And, set reminders to continue notifying them throughout the year. Ask your employees to save the specific emergency number as “Urgent” to their phone to immediately grab their attention.
3. Make sure all of your employee contact information is up to date:
There is nothing worse than discovering that you have the wrong contact information for your employees while you’re in the midst of an emergency! If your employees or contacts have changed their phone numbers and emails without updating your database, it may pose massive harm to them when disaster strikes. Ensure that you have the correct contact information for those that need to receive a notification during an emergency before anything has happened. If helpful, create an internal team that can review and audit contact information periodically. Keep reminding your employees to update their information (biannually or quarterly) in your systems.
These simple practices can help you establish processes that support your employees and customers and strengthen your brand’s credibility during a time of need.