A sudden ice storm can shut down your contact center for a day, or a catastrophic cyclone can stop operations for months. To ensure that your business is not negatively impacted by a disaster, natural or otherwise, it’s important to have business continuity plans in place, especially for your contact center.
Business continuity ensures that critical business systems are always operational. These systems will vary from business to business but often include IT, supply chain (storage, distribution and logistics), and customer care.
Potential issues to plan for are more than those related to natural disasters. Something as minor as a power outage can affect operations for hours. By planning for major and minor situation, you minimize risk and protect your company.
One option to consider is the use of hosted call center technology. Through a hosted solution, your agents can access the same platform they use daily from any location; the only requirements are a computer and a phone line. This location can be a secondary business facility, an agent’s home, or anywhere in the U.S.
The primary benefit of a hosted solution is that your own agents are utilized. They know the ins and outs of your business, as it’s what they do everyday. There is no need to train additional external agents for a possible need, so service quality is not a concern. Additionally, a hosted solution allows your business to introduce a work-from-home program.
Another option is deployment of a small virtual call center, which then becomes your safety net. Because these virtual agents are part of your daily operations, they are an extension of your contact center and are thus intimate with your operations and culture.
The main benefit of using virtual agents is that they are dispersed geographically. In large-scale natural disasters, the areas surrounding your company may be heavily affected, not allowing your agents to work from another local building or from their own homes. As these virtual agents could be located anywhere in the U.S., the likelihood that the entire virtual team would be affected is minimized, ensuring continuity in your operations.
Many factors will impact your business continuity plan. For some companies, not having an operational contact center for a couple of days may be acceptable. For others, however. an hour of downtime may be unacceptable. Regardless of your requirements, there are solutions to ensure that your company is up and running in any situation.