Tonight I will spend the 30th night in a row in a hotel. The first couple of weeks I was on vacation and the last two because our home flooded on New Year’s Eve as a result of a frozen pipe in our attic. The last two weeks of hotel stays have not been as much fun as the first!

As I mentioned in my last post, my wife and I continue to experience gratitude as the most noticeable and profound emotion from this experience. We’re grateful that our disaster wasn’t worse than it is, for the kind and wonderful people who have helped us, the financial resources in the form of insurance we have to put our home back together, and other blessings. But, there have been some other emotions showing up as well.

Yesterday I had to apologize to an employee for something I said to her and the way I said it which is not like me. I also noticed that the Whoop device I wear, which tracks heart rate among other things, is telling me I’m not sleeping well and I’m stressed. As the things that must be done pile up, but the day doesn’t get longer, I am noticing that I feel frustrated.

As I said last week, I want to learn from this experience so that our organization, and I hope yours, can better understand what our clients go through when they have a “claim” so we can do an even better job of helping them.

Here are some thoughts from my experience:

-When people go through a death in the family, or a disaster, people rush to help. Then they go back to their lives and those affected directly are left to figure out what to do next on their own. Even though I’m in the business I have lots of questions. One of them is who to ask? I also don’t want to be a burden or bother people unduly. In our agency, we’re going to catalog all these questions with answers in a FAQ and plan to send it to clients a few days after the disaster.

-While moving into our temporary residence, I looked at my photos of my home that I took before any belongings were removed in order to tell someone where to look for something I needed. I found I hadn’t taken a picture of it. My purpose originally was to record how we had decorated each room so we could redo it in six months. I now know I did a very poor job because I was in a hurry, overwhelmed, etc. We are going to do this for clients in the future so it gets done well.

-We are obviously more emotionally drained than I thought. In our agency we are going to develop something we can send to clients to let them know to expect this, how to watch for it and to let them know, it’s okay. We are going to develop a process to check in all during the claim to just let them know we care. This is something I think we all need for months after the disaster strikes.

What else can I learn from this to help us do a great job of caring for clients after the storm? I’ll continue to share those thoughts I have with you as we go along. In the meantime, I’d love to hear from you about your experiences, or how you work to help your clients get back to normal.

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