January 25, 2016 – Putting a natural disaster plan together can be a daunting process – it’s time-consuming and daunting. However, anyone who has experienced a crisis like it would probably agree that having a plan in place helps to ensure the least possible negative impact for the business.
One of the most important tools of your business is the phone system. It’s a requirement in order for you to get the help needed as well as ensure the safety of the employees and the business. If the dial tone is lost, the first part of the response efforts are hindered significantly.
Phones and Emergencies
While we usually think of a natural disaster crisis as something like a flood, earthquake, or a fire, smaller events like a water leak or a robbery can be equally devastating to businesses. When critical business elements like the phones are compromised, not only is productivity lost, the costs against the business begin to escalate rapidly.
The Importance of a Crisis Plan and Communication Solution
FEMA reports that 40% of businesses who become victim to a natural disaster are never able to reopen, and 25% fail the first year after that crisis occurs. Successful businesses today understand the importance of preparing for the worst even if the worst seems unlikely to occur. If crisis strikes, employees need to understand what’s happening, nearby businesses need to be contacted, and emergency response groups may need to respond for assistance.
Creating Your Crisis Communication Plan
When developing your crisis communication solution, there are five important elements:
- Detailed Communication Plan: This part of the plan should define exactly how the organization will communicate with each other regarding the crisis. It should focus on the purpose of the communication, who’ll be in charge of activating it, and the tools and procedures needed.
- Crisis Communication Team: The team of people who will be responsible for the gathering of information about the crisis and reporting it to interested individuals and the media. Specific roles should be defined such as a spokesperson, who monitors both the internal communication as well as any backups for those roles.
- Prepared Responses: Consider the many possible crisis situations your business could potentially experience and develop some basic responses that can be used immediately after the crisis occurs, or adjusted slightly during an emergency.
- Internal Communications Process: In this area of the plan, you should outline how employees will receive information about what’s happening. The plan should also define how employees should respond if the phone system is no longer available. This area should include hard copies of all the media and social media policies.
- Important Contacts: A response team should not need to look around for the phone numbers of people who need to be contacted. This area of the plan includes the phone numbers and contact information for the team members. Examples include the police/fire departments, health organizations, and helpful evacuation centers or resources.
ShoreTel Sky Communication Solution
With all the elements involved in a crisis, having your phone system down isn’t a welcomed issue to an already extremely stressful situation. Although no system is completely disaster-proof, phone systems like ShoreTel Sky provide features to help ensure your plan is executed effectively.
ShoreTel Sky IP phone systems offer cost-effective communication solutions to help prevent the loss of connectivity during a crisis.
Safety Features Include:
- Server Backup: We offer multiple options for server backup so customers are always able to manage the system and use the advanced features.
- Double-Take: This feature provides a backup virtual server to another location using a WAN connection connected to the primary server.
- ShoreTel Design: Sound architecture and applications are the backbone of the ShoreTel Sky solution. The design includes N+1 redundancy and switch-based hardware for highest availability.
Investing the time into developing your company’s crisis communication solutions is an important element of the stability of your organization. Because if the business does face a natural disaster or crisis, you will be prepared to weather the storm as it’s happening as well as the important recovery period.