Kiakoura Earthquake - Customers and Suppliers Advice in a Disaster

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Keep your customers informed

Everyone knows the event has happened it has gone worldwide and if your business is to supply to businesses outside of your area, be pro-active and keep them informed. 

As a business, you probably have a long-term relationship with your clients so they will be feeling your pain.  However they will also be dependent on your product or service and they cannot wait forever.  Make sure you give them updates, tell them of your issues honestly and clearly state the issues. 

Keep your customers informed with regular updates.  Customers want to hear from you and not via the news media.    Your customers may be forced to get another supplier but their door should remain open for when you can get back into supplying goods and services again.  If you know another supplier who can supply the same goods, and you trust them, see if they can work with your client until you have recovered.  That competitor may be able to take some of your staff temporarily to give them extra capacity and thus also relieve you of the problem of what to do with your personnel.   Even though we businesses compete between each other, in moments of crisis your competitors will often step in to help. .

Keep your key suppliers informed.

They will be sharing your pain; suppliers will want to know what is going on and what they can do to help you.  Some suppliers may be able to put people on the ground to help your business recover. 

Keep your bank and other critical financial services informed.  If you anticipate that you may have trouble paying your bills talk to your suppliers and ask for extended credit or progress payments. 

Advice to Suppliers of disaster impacted areas

Show tolerance and understanding.  Provide extended credit terms or lift their limits, if at all possible.  As an example, one of Standby’s clients is a credit and debit card company.  One of their countries got severely flooded and Standby was involved in an advisory role.  Our advice was to give the card holders an extra month on payment of their cards.  They did and they now have a very loyal card member base in that country.