A good disaster plan is essential for the longevity of your inbound call center. Without one, you’re susceptible to a number of scenarios that could bring down your entire business. A majority of call centers operate long hours and sometimes 24 hours a day so downtime must be avoided at all costs. We encourage our customers all around the world to follow a variety of steps so that they’re fully prepared in the case of an emergency. In this article we’ll highlight some of these steps and discuss disaster preparedness for your call center.
Establish a channel of communication
If disaster strikes, you need to be able to contact your employees. In some cases, your usual manner of communication may not be available. Your call center should keep a comprehensive list of each employee and regularly update their contact information.
Regardless of the communication channel you choose, your employees should be informed and know which outlets to check for information from you.
Consider your call center technology
Is your call center utilizing cloud contact center technology or is your call center based on-premise? Your answer to this question greatly impacts how your call center handles an emergency. You need to consider and understand the limitations of your call center technology for any type of event.
Traditional call center
With an on-premise call center, your call center technology is completely housed at your physical office location. Because of that, your call center is 100% dependent on the hardware installed there. If a disaster impacts your ability to make it to your office or effects your office physically, your call center may be unable to function.
If you have an on-premise call center, your disaster preparedness plan should include coordination with your building’s management team to make sure that your office is accessible and functional after a disaster. If it isn't, you'll need to work with them to gain access back to your office.
Virtual call center
Because of its mobility, a lot of call center owners choose to utilize Cloud technology and run their call center virtually. With a virtual call center, no on-site hardware is needed since everything runs over the Internet. That means a physical office isn’t necessarily required.
Unlike a traditional call center, you don’t have to worry about your physical office location because your entire system is in the Cloud. However, you’ll need to work closely with your provider to ensure that they aren’t effected by the emergency as well. While most provider have their own disaster plan, it’s important that you’re constantly communicating with them in order to ensure that your service stays online.
Virtual call center technology is also useful because it allows your employees to work anywhere with an Internet connection. So even if employees aren’t able to make it to work or something impacts your office location, your call center can stay up and running by utilizing remote employees.
Does your call center have other office locations? If so, using call routing software and rerouting calls to another office is an effective way to help your location manage business all while still recovering from your disaster. This solution should be planned ahead of time for each of your locations. You'll have to work closely with your provider to ensure the success of this transfer.
You can never be overly prepared when an emergency strikes. Backup plans are critical during times of crisis so be prepared. Depending on the overall disaster plan you create for your call center, you should have extra copies of important information including customer and vendor files, backup batteries and equipment for a potentially new worksite, a list of items you need to recover and anything else that you specifically require. It's important to have your disaster plan clearly planned out.
Your team should also be trained on the disaster preparedness information you've planned. Agents and managers should be trained on the processes that will be implemented in these scenarios. Frequently revisit and communicate the plan so the information stays relevant to your employees.
Last, your backup systems and plans should be tested 1-2 times yearly. This ensures that your plan will hold up during a real emergency.
A disaster preparedness plan will take a lot of work to create but it's worth every second when it comes to the longevity and success of your call center. The points above are a good starting point to finally creating an indepth and effective disaster plan for your call center.