Early Monday afternoon, as Hurricane Sandy was barreling toward the Northeast U.S., my family and I received a robo call at our home from Allstate noting how policy holders like us could access information about hurricane preparations on allstate.com. I also received a similar email from our insurance agent which offered guidelines on preparing our property, creating an emergency supply kit, taking an inventory of our valuables, and tips for storing policy information should we need to file a claim following the storm. Although some of these steps stand to assist Allstate in streamlining its claims processing efforts, this type of proactive outreach is a really effective way to demonstrate to customers that a company is concerned about their interests when lives are at stake and people are feeling vulnerable.Power companies are also known for providing customers with proactive outreach during storms and Con Edison was no exception. The utility notified some of its customers in Manhattan that it may have to cut power to their neighborhoods in the event of flooding. But in doing so, the power company recommended to customers that they unplug major appliances to prevent those devices from being damaged in the event of a power surge once power has been restored to those areas.
Of course, there are other ways that companies can provide customers with proactive outreach during an emergency. Supermarkets and home improvement retailers can notify customers about the availability of critical supplies as well as updates about their operating hours and steps they can take to protect their homes. Companies that demonstrate they have their customers' best interests at heart and reach out to them with useful information and helpful tips during a crisis position themselves to strengthen customer loyalty, especially when a customer feels like the company has their back when it counts most.