Can you weather the storm? Disaster recovery plans vital for business warns outsourcing experts

Answering specialists Answer4u has seen a surge of enquiries from businesses since the start of the year (60% growth in Disaster Recovery Service enquiries) as outsourcing key operations like telephone and IT services could prevent hundreds of businesses going out of action due to bad weather.

Figures released earlier this month by professional services company PwC revealed that more than 1,800 homes and businesses were affected by the flooding during the last two months of 2013. This will amount to losses of up to £400m for the insurance industry, as payouts are arranged for all of those caught up in the flooding.

Hundreds of homes and businesses were without power for Christmas as the rivers burst their banks; and those battered by the storms in late 2013 are now gearing up for a another battle against the elements.

Now, the UK is again bracing itself to face the tough weather conditions which have been plaguing the US, alongside a new batch of flooding warnings which are being released. Over the next week, freezing winds and rain are expected to batter the country as the severe weather makes its way from the other side of the Atlantic.

Reports from some of the worst-hit parts of America have suggested that losses to businesses from the freezing conditions have run into millions of dollars. Health warnings were released after temperatures in some parts of Chicago sunk to -40 degrees as the arctic environment dug in its heels.

One US-based aviation operation analytics company, MasFlight, estimated that airlines and their disappointed passengers lost more than $1.4bn in the first six days of the year as flights were cancelled once the weather set in.

However, it isn’t just the big chill that British businesses are having to contend with; heavy rain and flooding continues to ravage several parts of the country. Reports out this week suggest that more than 550 homes and businesses have been affected by flooding since the New Year — that’s more than 55 new flooding victims per day, with more weather warnings being released on a daily basis throughout the Midlands and the South East of England.

As the poor weather threatens to worsen, businesses are seeking advice on how to minimise the risk to the day-to-day running of their companies, and how to ensure that their customer base is not affected.

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Managing Director, Mark Menhennet, from Answer-4u said:

“It’s difficult to predict when the weather will become so unmanageable that your business could start to suffer.”

“But when extreme weather conditions hit, like the ones seen in the US over the past weeks, and the flooding in the UK before Christmas, businesses can really start hemorrhaging money. Vital services may be inoperable and resources may be down as people struggle to get into work — these issues can quickly build up and cost an incredible amount of money over a short period of time.”

Mark said that Answer-4u was seeing more and more businesses turn to outsourcing their calls to their telephone answering service.

“It’s another layer of protection for a business,” Mark explains. “If your company cannot operate due to circumstances beyond your control, you’re safe in the knowledge that your calls are being taken 24/7. I think a lot of businesses see that this is an optimum way to minimise the risk of important calls going unanswered, and maximise the level of customer satisfaction, even in the face of severe adversity.”

By the time the ‘big freeze’ makes its way over here this week, it won’t be as unmanageable as the severe conditions the US has encountered. But that’s not to say that businesses on this side of the Pond should get complacent; weather conditions can turn at any moment, and preparation is everything if you don’t want to lose time, money and resources.

Answer-4u’s disaster recovery call centre services are helping UK businesses weather the storm!

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