Scientists across the US agree that extreme weather events are on the rise. Aside from storms and floods, America has also seen an uptick in other types of emergencies, including riots, violent attacks, and industrial fires. How would your business handle the interruption brought on by such a disaster? Here’s what you need to know about creating a business continuity plan and why an emergency phone answering service should be a prime component.

What Is a Business Continuity Plan?

A business continuity plan is an emergency preparedness protocol in case a disaster strikes. Your entire town could be hit by an earthquake, hurricane, or tornado. It’s also possible that your building suffers damages on its own from fire or a burst pipe, for instance.

Your predetermined business continuity response goes into effect regardless of the cause of disruption or how widespread it is. It allows your company, at minimum, to communicate with employees, customers, and other essential people, such as vendors or suppliers. It might also permit you to carry on business to reduce revenue loss.

What types of contingencies are usually built into a business continuity plan?

  • A way to reach workers to let them know whether or not to show up at work and to make certain everyone is accounted for if there is a disaster during business hours
  • A channel for customers and other important people to reach the business if it is closed or offline
  • A clearinghouse for information about the status of the business, such as what’s happening with projects and when things are expected to return to normal
  • Who is performing any vital roles outside their typical business duties (e.g., a recovery team)
  • Data backup, cyber security, and other concerns related to information technology
  • Insurance and legal processes in case of various emergency scenarios

Cover of a binder that reads "Business Continuity Plan"

How Do You Incorporate an Emergency Phone Answering Service into Your Continuity Plan?

As mentioned above, having a way for customers and others to reach your business is vital after any kind of disaster. If only your building or your immediate area is affected, your phones will likely be down, and your internet will be out too. In larger-scale catastrophes, it may be difficult to access overburdened cell towers, or the towers themselves may have been damaged.

Therefore, having a business phone answering service as a key part of your company’s disaster response solutions can make sure you still have a voice for the world when the worst happens. Clients can reach a live human to inform them what’s happened and take important messages. If you have a medical, dental, or psychology practice, this is particularly crucial to ensure patients with questions or emergencies get the attention they require.

Employees have a central location to exchange information, whether they are working remotely or also dealing with the consequences of a disaster. Other essential people, like attorneys and insurance agents, can send messages or receive information left for them.

If you select the best business answering service, you can scale services according to your needs, depending on your unique business and why you need assistance, including:

  • After-hours answering
  • Employee call-in
  • 24/7 phone response
  • Help desk technical support
  • Virtual receptionist
  • Automated answering & call routing
  • Text and email notifications
  • Call dispatching

Two agents working at an emergency answering service reviewing account information together

The Benefits of Partnering with a Business Answering Service BEFORE an Emergency Occurs

Experts in corporate disaster response stress that to make a business continuity plan most effective, it must be practiced. It starts with running tabletop scenarios involving emergencies most likely to happen to your business based on your industry, geographic location, and other possible risks. For example, if you are headquartered in California, mock disaster response drills for an earthquake or wildfire make sense. In the Southeast, hurricanes and flooding are common. Businesses in the Northeast face snowstorms and deep freezes, so preparing for these emergencies is wise.

It also helps to have all the components you need for a sufficient disaster response in place before you start drilling emergency plans. This lets you test out each element to ensure it functions as it should in a real catastrophe. It’s why fire departments and hospitals run disaster preparedness scenarios periodically and review the results.

You could, of course, have an emergency answering service on deck, ready to jump in if your company experiences an emergency. However, having a relationship with the service first makes more sense, so you know each other and phone operators are familiar with your needs. You can easily run a drill when you have that connection in place, rather than trying to start from scratch. And should a real emergency arise, you’ll have the confidence of knowing your call center can handle whatever you throw at them.

You may have already considered partnering with a call center for a variety of reasons, like:

  • Wanting to reduce the costs associated with a full-time receptionist
  • Not being able to fill phone answering or reception desk positions
  • Spending too much time on the phone at the expense of other areas of the business (a common startup problem)
  • Needing to cover after-hours calls and emergencies
  • Trying to reduce gas costs and vehicle wear with more efficient employee dispatching
  • Providing product or service technical assistance remotely for customers

Why Choose Absent Answer for Your Emergency Answering Service?

You can check two things off your list when you collaborate with Absent Answer. We can provide business answering services and more for your day-to-day operations, and we can also help you set up emergency protocols as part of your business continuity plan.

At our secure location, system failures are prevented through redundancies, as well as upgraded servers. We also utilize backup power options, so we’ll never have a service outage due to power loss. Virtual call center capabilities further our uptime by ensuring we can take calls without our physical location.

You will enjoy multiple benefits when you work with Absent Answer:

  • Decades of experience across many industries
  • Customizable solutions for your company
  • Availability 24/7/365
  • Easy integrations with your online systems
  • Phone operators located in the United States

Want to learn more so your business is ready if disaster strikes? Call Absent Answer today at (888) 414-2405, or contact us online to discuss your live answering service needs. We are here to help!

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