This weekend, along with much of the Eastern Seaboard, DealerOn prepared for an onslaught as weather and media reports warned of potentially devastating force from Hurricane Sandy.
Making the safety of our employees our number one priority, we still wanted to live up to our commitment to deliver industry-leading customer service, and did not want to let the hurricane close us down if we could do so safely. In the DC area, where DealerOn HQ is located, power has traditionally been volatile to impactful storms such as this one. Bracing for a week of outages, account management and production staff took their phones home with them on Friday afternoon. On Sunday afternoon, one of our operations team members happened to be driving home from a wedding in Michigan, and we had him stop and buy an 8,000-watt, 250-pound power generator as we feared all the local stores would be sold out.
Sunday night starting at 2AM, operations staff loaded several desktops, laptops, phones, network switches, and wires galore into a car, along with the power generator, three five-gallon canisters of gasoline, and 4G internet modems from both Verizon and AT&T. Having a mini-corporate office on wheels enough for the entire account management staff to work from, we felt confident that we could run customer service from anywhere, even from the side of the highway.
As it turns out, several key account management staff happen to live within one mile of Ali Amirrezvani, DealerOn’s CEO. Early Monday morning, we decided to set up shop at Ali’s house with local staff, and had the rest of our team work remotely; not wanting them to drive through any part of the storm. We set up our generator, hooked up four computer and phone stations on the dining room table, and also two stations in the kitchen. Also having staff in Michigan safely away from the storm and not in danger of power outage, we felt confident in running smoothly.
By 930AM, the whole staff was ready to rumble. The power generator was ready to take over, including to power our internet – but just in case, we had our 4G modems ready to plug in and take over as well. An overall calm day for Support, we had a relaxed call volume (between the hurricane, and end of the month for our dealers). Even Maksym, Ali’s younger son, joined in on our party.
Running smoothly and with power until 7PM, we closed up shop and ate dinner together. Bracing for the worst of the impact on Monday night, we woke up to the entire team and our office with power, and only light rain conditions. We all felt lucky having been able to avoid the brunt of the storm. Our hearts go out to those who lost their lives in the storm, as well as to the millions of people still without power throughout the Mid-Atlantic and New England.
The whole team is back in the office today, and we are gathering for a big lunch – on the company tab. After a successful 48 hours for DealerOn, we’d like to congratulate the entire team for their dedication and their ability to operate effectively and successfully under a very stressful situation. Cheers!