Hurricane Sandy and what has been left in its wake, including millions of homes lost and many people who lost their lives as well, or who are recovering from injury, affects our economy in general and that of the auto industry. It affects us all in many ways, but while nothing can make up for the tragedy of this kind of event, brands and businesses can make small differences with their customers that not only helps people stay positive, but keeps them loyal.

1to1 Media has had several articles on how to best deal with customers in the aftermath.

“Despite companies’ best intentions and preparations, customer service might suffer during and after a disaster. This is when companies need to formally apologize to their customers for any failures. This apology, Crabbe-Barberis notes, needs to come from a high-level executive, and be coupled with a plan to resolve the problem and keep it from happening again.”

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We cannot control the weather or that a near quarter of a million new and used vehicles were lost from this disaster, but we can be there for the customers that need help with finances, or who might simply need a new vehicle to replace one that was destroyed. These needs may eventually boost auto sales after the understandable dip from the disaster and loss of dealership vehicles.

NBC News reports that some 16,000 brand new vehicles will have to be scrapped, and many more used vehicles are simply too damaged to repair. Toyota Motor Corp said that 30,000 of October industry sales were lost due to less customer traffic or delayed purchases by consumers, but each of the major automakers believes things will turn around in November and December as we are able to put Hurricane Sandy behind us.

The most important thing now is communication and understanding through good customer service.

“Not only have we seen the power communication has when keeping us connected, but these avenues–social media, text messaging, and mobile devices–have the power to bolster our strength as a nation and bring us together when hardship hits. Tweets may seem simple, and texting may take no effort, but the motivation that drives these actions and the results that come about have the power to save lives, ease minds, and rebuild homes.”

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Many people in affected areas during the storm, even without power in their homes, were able to update friends and family by calling, texting, and even updating their Facebook status from their phones. Dealerships and brands can do the same, communicating with customers through the mediums they can most easily use in a time of distress.

We must remember that the holidays are just around the corner, for both boosting sales and spirits as we move on from this disaster. Stay connected, stay available, and stay positive, and your customers will thank you for it.