When the river crested at 31.12 feet on June 13, 2008, ImOn Communications – a company only in business for 14 months at the time – was prepared.
Patrice Carroll, CEO of ImOn, directed an evacuation plan for the company and its employees, and ImOn’s engineering team did some strategic sandbagging. As a result:
- ImOn’s Customer Care center never went down. The team relocated to ImOn’s warehouse location on the SW side of Cedar Rapids immediately and the phones were switched over with no downtime.
- ImOn employees only missed one day of work – the day of the crest – and were back at work Friday at ImOn’s warehouse, with full service first thing Monday morning.
- Of ImOn’s three hub locations that took on water, the company only lost one. The other two were up and active again within weeks.
Delivering for Customers and Community
ImOn’s compassion and community spirit – both elements of the ImOn brand today – set them apart as industry leaders immediately following the flood. Specifically:
- Even though it is an industry norm to charge customers for damaged equipment such as cable boxes and modems, ImOn told customers impacted by the flood that if they returned their equipment, whether damaged or not, there would be no charges. Other providers in the area did not initially make this offer to their customers, but were ultimately forced to follow ImOn’s lead.
- ImOn set up tents in flood-impacted areas, distributed bottled water, and allowed customers to return their equipment in their neighborhood rather than having to find ImOn’s temporary location.
- When impacted customers called to cancel their service, ImOn suspended their accounts instead, which allowed them to maintain their same email address throughout the crisis and afterward. They also assisted phone customers by hard forwarding their lines to cell phone numbers when requested.
Connecting Businesses Throughout Cedar Rapids
Ten years ago, ImOn Communications was primarily a residential provider with few business customers. Yet, the company helped many major businesses get back up and connected within weeks of the flood. Randy Schoon, manager of the outside plant (OSP) and engineering, had the OK straight from Ms. Carroll to “do whatever it takes” to get businesses back up and running. The company didn’t even think about billing these businesses for weeks, some for months, even up to a year after the emergency was over.
This is when ImOn Communications demonstrated their ability to serve larger businesses. Many of these same organizations are among ImOn’s 1200+ business customers today.
Randy and his team worked 18 hour days, 6 days a week for the first few months after the flood. Among the businesses and organizations ImOn helped get reconnected are:
- Mercy Hospital
- Linn County Sherrif’s Office
- Linn County offices
- Pierson’s Flower Shop
- United Fire Group
- Armstrong Development
- Great America Financial Services