Atlanta, GA – May 31, 2006 — With the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Agency (NOAA) predicting that the hurricane season starting June 1 will rival or exceed 2005 in number and ferocity of storms, Gulf Coast and Eastern Seaboard companies need to consider how they will continue to serve customers and maintain contact with employees after major hurricanes. FEMA urges “every individual, every business, every community to have a hurricane plan and have it in place now before the hurricane season gets here.”
Voice Communication and Business Continuity
Last year’s record-breaking storms demonstrated that maintaining vital voice communication during a crisis can make the difference between business continuity and financial disaster:
- Hurricane Katrina wiped out telephone and wireless service along the Gulf Coast from Louisiana to Florida.
- Cell towers downed by wind and power to switches disrupted by flooding caused 1.75 million Gulf customers to lose phone or cell services, many for more than a month.
- With no phone capability, communicating with employees, vendors and customers became nearly impossible.
- Thousands of business failures resulting from the 2005 Gulf hurricanes accounted for approximately 400,000 job losses.
Business Continuity Planning
“Business continuity planning for hurricanes must include comprehensive and duplicate communications systems,” says Joe Schiavone, a disaster recovery expert at VoiceNation. “If phone service and power fail in one region, automated transfers of order lines, customer service lines, and employee telephone systems keep companies operational and provide a way to reach employees and customers.”
“Companies need to first reestablish contact with employees. Without them nothing happens,” said VoiceNation CEO Jay Reeder. VoiceNation is the leading national provider of communication system back-ups for disaster recovery and business continuity. VoiceNation clients include thousands of small businesses as well as many among the Fortune 500, like Blue Cross and AIG.
“Now is the perfect time to get a virtual communications back up in place,” assures Reeder. “This could be the last opportunities many businesses have to protect themselves from financial disaster due to this summer’s severe storm season. With back-up voice services, businesses can continue to serve customers.”
Hurricane Proof Your Business
Reeder recommends that companies reevaluate their communication plans for natural disasters. Lessons from Hurricanes Katrina and Rita include the need for businesses to:
- Create secondary and even third-order alternatives for critical communication systems such as phones, email and web sites
- Establish a publicized toll-free number to ease the strain on employees of determining whether they need to go to work as usual, stay at home or leave for remote work locations immediately
- Arrange for a live answering service to take messages for the business or offer trained operators to answer calls and provide updates to employees during an evacuation
- Provide on-line employee registration to facilitate locating dispersed staff
- Consider fax-to-email or fax server back up plans
- Contract for remote or live answering assistance to continue to assist customers with questions or orders by phone while the company regroup
Says Schiavone, “Companies can’t afford not to back up their voice services. Many don’t realize how affordable it is. VoiceNation has most clients completely protected in about a week. Our simple but robust system can handle everything from rerouting calls to your employees to backing up incoming fax orders or sending all voice mail to email. Today’s technology can take care of your communication needs in a crisis.”
Discover more about communications solutions that work no matter what the weather–read VoiceNation’s article, “Nine Ways to Hurricane Proof Your Business.”
VoiceNation, America’s leader in virtual PBX and voicemail was founded in 2002 by President Jay Reeder and opened their Next Generation call centers in 2009. The company has grown to serve more than 40,000 customers including FEMA, Blue Cross/Blue Shield, Dell, AIG and the U.S. Coast Guard. They leverage the very latest in proprietary technology solutions in order to deliver quality call answering services at the lowest cost to their customers. To learn more about VoiceNation and their services, please visit http://www.voicenation.com/.
For more information, contact:
Graham C. Taylor
1.866.766.5050, ext. 150