In the world of disaster restoration, the Contents Department often stands as the emotional backbone of the operation. When disaster strikes, it's not just the drywall and insulation of a home that need attention—it's the memories too.


Building Trust with Customers

The restoration process as a whole can be lengthy. Ranging anywhere from three to eight months, with larger more extensive projects that can even extend up to a year at times. Contents teams are the first ones in and the last ones out, bearing the responsibility of handling cherished items with care and compassion for the entire duration of the project. 

As the team that has the initial interaction, the contents department plays a critical role in both building and maintaining trust with customers. Trust is established from the very beginning while walking with homeowners through their property, identifying, discussing and documenting important items.

Taking the time to understand which items hold the most value emotionally and monetarily, the Contents Team demonstrates empathy and attention to detail — all crucial for establishing a trusting relationship.

These are the moments that I truly enjoy hearing my team discuss amongst themselves sharing with excitement unique stories or sentiments the customers have mentioned to each of them individually.

“She showed me her first elephant – it started her whole collection. It was so sweet that I started tearing up.“
 “Mr. ____ is so funny and lived such a cool life; he’s done so many different things in his life. He told us about how he got his stamp collection.”
 “Can you ask Ms. ____ how her dog is doing while you’re there? He had to get a lump on his head biopsied last week.” 

Customers often form a strong bond with the contents department, turning to them as a reliable source of information and support throughout the restoration process.

Emotional Support during Restoration

The restoration process more often than not is an emotionally taxing experience for customers, and the Contents Department is at the heart of it all, providing much-needed emotional support. 

As the structural work progresses, the Contents Department continues to maintain close communication with the customer, providing regular updates on the status of their belongings and addressing any concerns that may arise during these stressful months. The customer relies on the Contents Team for information and reassurance throughout their restoration journey.

The members of the contents department all spend a significant amount of time understanding the personal value of each item, allowing unique perspectives and the ability to offer personalized support. They empathize with customers' distress, providing not just technical assistance but emotional comfort.

The emotional labor involved in this work is not to be overlooked; this role requires a high level of emotional intelligence and stamina. Contents Teams often find themselves taking on the role of a "safe place” and an emotional sounding board that absorbs and mitigates customers' frustration and anxiety. 

The emotional toll on the Contents Team can be significant at times. Constantly providing emotional support and handling distressed customers can lead to stress and burnout amongst everyone. 

I have witnessed it recently myself with my staff. We have had several months of extremely fast-paced projects in combination with an unusual abundance of customers that require additional emotional support. It's clear to me that my team is giving it their all every day – however, the spirits are beginning to dip amongst them and squabbles with peers arise.

Disaster Restoration is not just about restoring the buildings and cleaning up the physical aftermath; it’s about restoring hope and stability to customers' lives. While preserving their valued memories and treasured items.