We’re now almost two weeks from our Northeast weather event (Hurricane Irene). It was bad for a lot of people – lot of flooding, lots of damage, etc. I know you Florida people are laughing that a CAT 1 hurriucane was such a big deal, and I do understand. It’s the way I laugh when you guys get an inch of snow and everything comes to a standstill. Now try a decent blizzard – there’s your comparison.
Anyway, I was prettymuch unscathed – I lost internet for a day or two, but that’s about it. But the storm did teach me something in regards to small businesses and being “out of touch”. And that is, you get ONE day.
That’s it – short of a 9-11 / Katrina-type event, you only get one day to be “out of touch”. In today’s world of smartphones / internet everywhere, after one day of no communication, your clients will becomes antsy. After two days, they’ll start getting mad. After three days… forget it; they found someone else with smartphone internet.
I realized this from how *I* expect certain things to be handled – if I e-mail someone a question, I expect a reply. Now, I’m not really all that type-A, so tomorrow works for a reply. And if I knew you got hit with a storm, I’ll give you an other day. But three days of no reply? Unless we have some kind of special relationship, that doesn’t work. I’ll figure either the storm washed your business (or you) away. I’ll have a moment of quiet reflection, and then I’ll go to Google to find your replacement.
I suspect most people feel like the above. We live in a world where staying in touch is VERY possible. I have an iphone, so I can get internet anywhere. Even if my power goes out, I can charge it from my car if needs be. I have an app that lets me share files w/ my computer and send attachments (of course, being an online business, my computer will be running from my generator if I lost power for any length of time.) I’m NEVER out of touch via e-mail unless I *want* to be (like when I go on vacation). I could even throw the laptop in the truck and go somewhere where there’s wifi.
The point is, the above is extremely possible for any businessperson, even a “work out of his basement” dude like myself. Large companies have large resources to withstand storms/events and communicate. We have smartphones. Both are effective.
One last thing – I do not mean to sound heartless here. Of course if there’s event where life and limb are lost, it’s ok not to return a call. I get that. But conversely, you can’t be out of touch a week because you lost power. That’s just not acceptable today.