The 2023 hurricane season is almost here. This Hurricane Preparedness Week, it’s time to plan ahead and make sure that your restoration business can survive and thrive through the coming months. Today we’re talking about ways restorers can prepare for hurricane season call surges.
Weather and climate disasters have cost the economy over $2 trillion over the last 40 years, and the trend suggests this is going to continue in the years to come. While no one wants to see homes and businesses in their community struggle, it is a huge opportunity for restoration businesses.
3 ways to prepare for hurricane season call surges
1. Review your current systems and processes
This is the key place to start. Just like you would check over your tools, you need to do this with your phones and how you answer calls. Being prepared for hurricane call surges sounds simple, but there’s more to it. Here are three questions to ask yourself:
- Can our current phone system handle the drastically increased call volumes?? And what will happen if it can’t?
- Do we have enough people to answer those calls?
- Are those people likely to be personally affected by the hurricane?
For number one, work out how many calls you can take at a time. You don’t want people reaching a busy tone or worse, voicemail. Either of those will send them straight to the competition. Know how many calls your system is capable of taking and see if you need to increase it.
Second, do you have the people to answer those calls? You will need more staff than usual to answer calls and talk to people who are having one of the worst experiences of their life. With the majority of your team onsite assessing damage and securing properties, and your expertise in more demand than ever, you need to think about who is going to answer the calls and receive the FNOL from insurers.
Finally, where are your team members based? What impact will the hurricane have on them? If your community is hit by a hurricane then your people and your offices are going to be in the same situation as everyone else. Are they still going to be able to answer calls? Is your office or their homes going to have power? What is your backup plan if your team is affected by the hurricane?
2. Know what information you need to start a job
You’ve been in the industry for years and this is not your first hurricane, but does your team know what information needs to be gathered? When you get a surge in calls after a hurricane, this is the time your restoration business needs to be at the top of its game. You need to get the information to start working, but crucially, for insurance companies so you get paid.
Knowing what information you need to gather will make all the difference. You’ll have people answering calls with less experience, and talking to people who are incredibly stressed.
Prepare a script for your team. Make a checklist of the information you need to get from every call.
This is a technique used by professionals in all kinds of high-stress situations – from the military to surgeons – because it works. Know the information you need, and train your team. They can then focus on doing the job and supporting your customers in their time of need.
3. Get your information in the right place
When you’re preparing for a surge in calls, the last thing you need is more calls from your techs asking for information about a job. Technology is rapidly changing the restoration industry, and handling calls is part of this.
Connect your calls to your field service software. The information captured on the call then automatically goes into the software and your team can access the details onsite. It’s a simple efficiency that will save everyone time and show you to be the professionals you are to clients.
How to prepare for hurricane season call surges with AnswerForce
You can take all three of these steps yourself. But AnswerForce is here to help. Our team has worked with restoration businesses for years to prepare them for call surges. We know how important your response to a hurricane is for your business, and our services are designed to scale as you need them.
- 24/7 answering – after-hours, weekends, and holidays are included in every plan.
- Distributed model with teams across the US, Canada, and the UK so you never have outages, even when hurricanes strike.
- Customized scripting and experienced account managers to make sure you have the right questions in place.
- Hundreds of receptionists to handle call surges so no one is waiting for an answer.