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320 Granite Run Drive, PO Box 3320, Lancaster, PA 17604-3320
Business Protection Bulletin
Protect Your Commercial Property From Wind Damage
Big Wind Day, observed on April 12, commemorates the earth’s highest surface wind. The 231 mph wind occurred on the Mount Washington Observatory in 1934. While your business may never experience such high wind velocities, take measures to protect your commercial property from wind damage.
Inspect the Roof
Your building’s roof is the first line of defense during a wind storm. A professional contractor can inspect your roof to ensure it will resist wind. Be sure to secure loose shingles, replace worn, missing, or aging materials, and repair weak spots. Additionally, check the waterproof flashing’s integrity and clean debris out of the gutters.
Examine Exterior Walls, Doors, and Window
Wind can penetrate walls, doors, and windows, creating chaos inside your building. Inspect these outdoor structural elements, and identify areas that should be sealed and reinforced. A commercial contractor may need to replace siding, seal cracks, install impact-resistant glass, and take other steps to strengthen your building.
Unsecured vehicles can become deadly projectiles during high-wind storms. Park your fleet in a parking garage or other secure location to protect the vehicles. If you must park outside, choose a sheltered spot that’s located away from power lines, trees, and other dangers.
Strong winds can uproot dead trees and remove loose branches. Hire a certified arborist to examine the trees around your property. You may need to stabilize, remove, or trim trees and branches that hang near power and utility lines or otherwise threaten your property.
Anchor Outdoor Items
Signs, fences, lampposts, dumpsters, HVAC units, and even landscaping materials can fly away or cause damage in high winds. Anchor all outdoor items securely to the ground before wind storms start. You may also need to replace items that are worn or otherwise unsafe, such as loose fence posts or hard garden rocks.
Create a Storm Shelter
Depending on the velocity of the wind, you may need a storm shelter that protects your employees, customers, expensive inventory, and valuable electronics. This shelter, located in the safest part of your building, includes a break room and a bathroom but no windows.
Update your Business Insurance
Ensure you have adequate insurance before a wind storm strikes. Your commercial property policy should include enough coverage to repair or replace damaged structures, equipment, and other items. If your business is located in a high-risk zone, consider purchasing an endorsement with extra coverage for wind damage.
In preparation for Big Wind Day, secure your property. These steps can protect your business from wind damage in April and year-round.
Customer Service Evolution in the New Age
Technology has advanced the speed and scale at which consumers can communicate about their brand interactions. As a result, businesses have had to determine how to respond to customers on a personal level in what is now a very public, digital space.
If a person had a poor customer experience at a restaurant a few years ago, they may have warned friends not to eat there or written down their complaints on a comment card. Today many people feel comfortable venting their frustrations to an exponentially larger, public audience: the entire Internet. Many companies are still struggling to identify which grievances necessitate a personal reply, which ones can be left alone, and which complaints require escalation and/or a security response.
We reached out to our Microsoft privacy experts again this week to ask how companies should approach online customer feedback, especially where privacy and security are concerned. In an interview with Microsoft for Work, Marisa Rogers, Global Sales and Marketing Privacy Manager, and Kristi Berry, Senior Privacy Manager weighed in on the issue.
Berry: This is a huge question. Things have changed a lot because of evolving industry trends and evolving attitudes towards technology and social media. In general, people are much more comfortable with these types of data collection and comfortable with this social, digital world. They are more aware and paying much more attention to what's going on. For us that makes it more and more important to provide the right levels of controls for the customer to manage their privacy.
Rogers: There were recent news reports of a man who was boarding a Southwest flight and tweeted about his bad customer service experience with the gate agent real-time. He included the agent's first name and the gate location where he boarded his plane. It caused him to be removed from the plane and to be interviewed by security officials before he was allowed to go on the flight. Certainly in the public space, people are increasingly using social media to comment both positively and negatively on customer service.
Now, in this particular case, [there was] heightened sensitivity because it had to do with a situation in an airport where someone was complaining about a bad experience. Companies will need to carefully consider how they respond to make sure the response is proportionate to the complaint. There are many examples of companies responding to feedback on social media that are both good and bad.
Rogers: In the first place, you have to be prepared to receive the complaints. You should have a plan of action on how you want to address questions or comments that are neutral-to-negative to your business. This may include having some standard answers ready to go and thinking about how to diffuse difficult situations through social media. Remember you can take it offline if it's more appropriate to address the person's specific issue.
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