These days, most contact centers utilize a technology known as VoIP or ‘voice over internet protocol’. This technology is uniquely suited to the application of the call center because it allows voice data to be sent in “packets” over the internet rather than via traditional telephony methods. This is more cost-effective, more efficient, and makes mass calling and call receipt easier for a facility to handle.
However, there are some major drawbacks to using VoIP technology. It presents unique challenges in the face of a disaster - even redefining what a disaster means for the centers that use the method. In the event of an internet connection compromise or a failure of the system, the centers that use this technology can be left without a way to connect with clients and consumers.
This is why having a solid call center disaster recovery plan is so important. Here’s what you need to know about creating your own:
How the Average Call Center Works - and Why That’s a Problem
In a typical contact center, there are two primary systems. The information system - where all consumer or client information is cataloged - and the voice or communications system. In some modern call centers, these two systems are integrated, but in general, they are still separate entities that work together to provide better customer service and experience.
During a call, the call center agent can pull up details about consumers or clients from the information system. If they are speaking to a new contact, they can enter this information while they chat with the caller. This can all be done while they are doing a voice exchange, seamlessly allowing the consumer to access information that will help them provide the best possible experience and the least amount of repetition and unnecessary pauses in conversation.
The problem with this setup is that it isn’t foolproof. In fact, the reliance on a separate system can be very risky, especially when one or more of your systems experience failure. What happens when the on-site records go down and you can’t access client information? What happens when the internet connection is compromised and you cannot hold voice conversations with consumers? These are risks that should be addressed before you can create a workable call center disaster recovery plan.
Identifying Risks to Your Call Center Operations
With multiple components relying on one another to provide service to callers and clients, your contact center is full of potential risk points. Identifying these risks will help you to establish ways to address them. Your facility’s call center disaster recovery plan should be designed specifically with countering each of your unique risks in mind.
Some of the most common potential risks include:
- The loss of a physical connection from the network to the switch. This can occur as a result of trunk interface failure, cables being severed, or even during a storm in which lightning strikes the property.
- The inability to receive incoming calls due to a service disruption such as a network failure or power outage.
- A loss of access to network-based information, such as the details that make processing calls possible. This may include caller identification and much more.
- The compromise or loss of the entire network due to power outage or other, more serious disasters.
- The failure of the LAN - or local area network - that connects all the components and systems of your call center.
- Having no access to agent workstations because of power outages, systems failures, or a lapse in internet provision.
- The loss of a working call center switch. This can be the result of circuit board failure, software failure, or even human error.
Additionally, loss of agents can be a disaster to your center, whether this is due to illness, injury, work stoppage related to union causes, or other reasons. How you create a call enter disaster recovery plan is heavily dependent on what type of disasters you are most likely to encounter in your facility.
What Your Disaster Preparedness Plan Needs
How prepared is your center for disaster? Before you create your disaster recovery plan based on the risks you have identified, determine whether you have these measures already in place. Your plan should entail filling in the gaps.
- Important system hardware and equipment should be located in separate rooms.
- HVAC facilities should be separate from the areas where this equipment is kept.
- Backup power source access should be readily available.
- Separate phone lines and internet connections should be used from what other local businesses are working with - especially if your center shares a building with another business.
- A supply of backup switch and circuit boards should be readily accessible so that a change-out can be made promptly after disaster strikes.
- Databases should be backed up constantly and should have a backup location off-premise as well as in a cloud, to ensure accessibility of information after a disaster.
Creating Your Call Center Disaster Recovery Plan
Now that you know what goes into creating your disaster recovery plan, the next step is to create one for your center. Your primary goals should be ensuring that all information is up-to-date and backed up in numerous locations and formats, as well as providing backup equipment, energy sources, and connectivity options for agents and your overall operation. Only by addressing all of these issues can you create a disaster recovery plan that won’t just help you feel prepared in the event of trouble - it will help bail you out if things do ever take a turn for the worst.
For everything your team needs to create and implement the perfect call center disaster recovery plan, contact the industry experts at ChaseData. We have the tools and technology you need to disaster-proof your facility and prepare for the worst - in the best way possible! Give us a call today to learn more!