When Hurricane Sandy struck a few weeks ago, it caught many people completely off-guard. In addition to the destruction that it left in its path, it also hurt businesses large and small up and down the East Coast. Although it caused some ecommerce sites to go dark for a few days, several brands went out of their way to respond to the storm and help solve problems that customers affected by the storm may be running into. Here’s what they did:
Addressed potential account issues and credit cards
The Ann Taylor and LOFT sites went down following the storm, but the Ann Inc. crew made sure that they were available via phone for customers and ready to answer any questions they may have about their accounts. They posted customer service numbers on their social accounts, encouraging cardholders and customers affected by the storm to give them a call.
Why this rocks: For East Coasters left without power, this information gave them the ability to contact the company and resolve any issues about lost credit cards or missing orders. It also gave customers from the rest of the country the ability to check in on the status of orders, even with the site down.
Arranged donations for those affected
As soon as the storm hit, the Red Cross began taking donations and arranging for volunteers to assist those affected. Even though SMS messaging made it extremely easy for people to donate directly and quickly to the Red Cross, that didn’t stop other brands from finding ways to help collect money and goods needed. The Charles Hotel in Massachusetts coordinated two separate drives — one calling for gently used clothing and unopened toiletries, while the other involved a $199/night promotion for guests with $5 from each night’s stay donated to relief efforts.
Why this rocks: The Charles Hotel’s two separate promotions not only offered choices to fans and patrons wanting to donate, but also made it easy for those without money to spare to do so. It also gave the hotel positive attention from the press, fostered a sense of community and endeared fans to it even more.
Offered extensions for scheduled payments/bills
As if the effects Sandy weren’t bad enough, the fact that it hit at the end of October and beginning of November caused problems for a lot of people who had bills due. Mail carrier services were delayed and the lack of electricity along the coast made it difficult for customers to arrange online payments. New York & Company, also directly affected by the storm, recognized this problem and issued a statement via the brand’s social accounts, inviting NY&Co cardholders to make alternate or extended payment arrangements by giving a customer service rep a call.
Why this rocks: Late fees can be a major hit to a customer’s bank account — especially if they are already facing financial issues and their payment arrived late because of forces outside of their control.