Rory Whelan, Marketing Manager, eReceptionist discusses the importance of having the right technology in place in times of travel and weather disruption.
Recently, Londoners have been faced with travel chaos as a 48 hour tube strike took place across the capital. Luckily, another 72 hour strike planned was called off after the RMT union reached an agreement to suspend it. However, while the strike may have been suspended, it’s unlikely to be the last, and it’ll only be a matter of time before workers find themselves battling further travel chaos once again. This chaos does not just stop at tube strikes in the capital, bad weather earlier in the year dramatically impacted businesses up and down the country. Rather than wait for the inevitable bad weather and strikes to happen again, businesses should be making contingency plans now for when employees are unable to make it into the office. When this does happen, it can have severe repercussions for start-ups and small businesses that need all hands on deck to deal with vital customer and incoming enquiries which could otherwise go unanswered.
The obvious answer is to let employees work from home rather than tackle public transport during a strike or bad weather. However, while nearly all employees will have access to a landline or mobiles to make and receive calls, it’s essential to make sure that an effective telephone answering service is in place so that any calls to the general office number don’t get missed. Our research* has shown that nearly two thirds of potential customers wouldn’t leave a message if a call went unanswered. The consequences are more than clear in this case. Similarly, other vital communications that could be missed include contracts and other official signed documentation. Again, a delay in responding to these important documents could result in lost revenues and business.
While the unions may feel the actions they are taking are fully justified, for start ups attempting to get their feet off the ground, the chaos and disruption causes significant headaches as many struggle to frantically put new systems and processes in place to enable them to cope and function as normal. This is where cloud technology is invaluable come rain, shine or industrial action. Affordable, easy to implement, cheap to maintain and accessible from anywhere, its cloud based solutions which can dramatically help businesses to still function as usual during strikes and bad weather. By enabling remote working for example, at a time when revenue could more of less come to a halt, it can bring significant benefits in terms of business output and efficiency. Businesses would surely prefer to make the investment in the right technology, rather than have a barren office or exhausted, stressed staff even before the day has begun!
For the average member of the public, a mobile or tablet app is something one might associate with leisure or fun. However, there are many which can help business communication. Today, a lot of business technology programmes fixed to desktops, come with accompanying apps which professionals can use on the go or remotely to transfer important business documentation. Many don’t require you to print or sign documents off, you can simply do that with the touch of your finger in some cases. Therefore, employees working from home in times of disruption won’t have to worry about paper, ink and printing important documents, all they’ll need is a mobile or tablet device.
Its not easy full stop being a start-up business today, therefore the right systems and processes need to be in place, so when industrial action or bad weather does strike it brings minimal disruption. Whilst Londoners for instance may have avoided travel chaos this time, there may be more strikes around the corner. Don’t let your new business be left underground, get researching new technologies today which will leave your start up unaffected during times of chaos and confusion.
*Survey of 1,000 UK consumers by Cint Research, December 2012