Every year, the news is filled with winter weather tragedies. While serious issues like loss of life are not common as a result of snow and ice, the temporary closure of businesses is frequent. Major companies often see their facilities shut down in the wake of winter weather - and many people’s paychecks suffer a result.
Modern call centers utilize technology that is meant to withstand the problems that might compromise traditional telephony, such as VoIP (voice over internet protocol). But what happens when internet connections are hampered by inclement weather?
No matter what the changing seasons bring, your VoIP-reliant contact center must have a call center disaster recovery plan in place. Without one, you face the same problems other businesses do during inclement weather, power outages, and more, including lapses in customer service, reduced employee pay, and additional complications associated with getting machines and software back up and running.
Here are the facts you need for creating a workable call center disaster recovery plan - and implementing it in your center.
First You’ll Need to Identify Risk Factors for Your Center
There are many problems that inclement weather can cause for your contact center. Because of the nature of the modern call center and its reliance on VoIP technology, the wind and precipitation common in winter can knock out or destroy important components. Whether you’re experiencing a power outage, broken or downed cables, service or system failure, or other issue related to the weather, some problems you may encounter as a result include:
- Network outages
- Service disruptions
- Lack of internet service coverage
- Software failure
- Loss of access to important database information
These are all risks inherent to the contact center, but it doesn’t mean that they are without solutions.
Then, Determine What Backup Options You Have
How do you prevent or counteract the risks mentioned above? While you can’t stop the winter weather, you can plan for it with these backup options and risk remedies:
- Always have access to backup power. This is perhaps the most important remedy on the list since many of the other risks in a contact center arise because of power being cut.
- Provision of emergency or backup internet service that is not dependent on the same factors as your primary system.
- The use of a VoIP system and other software that automatically alerts your technical support team when there is a compromise or failure. This will make recovery quicker and easier for everyone.
Of course, the most important backup option your center has will always be a comprehensive call center disaster recovery plan. By preparing for emergencies ahead of time, you can ensure that your team and your technology are ready when they occur.
Next, Understand System Failure and Cloud Failover
For many VoIP providers and their contact center clients, cloud failover is already a priority. In the event of a failure or compromise to the VoIP system, the provider can manage calls over an alternative system until the primary system can be restored or replaced. However, not every contact center manager knows to check with their VoIP provider to ensure that these measures are in place.
Be sure to check with your provider to make sure that a failure won’t keep you from receiving calls. Failover ensures that even in the event of an outage or emergency, your center can continue receiving calls. Whether those calls are rerouted to another VoIP interface or to more traditional telephony methods during your recovery, ensuring that your center is still receiving necessary communications is key.
Finally, Check Off the Components of Your Call Center Disaster Recovery Plan
Wouldn’t it be great if you had an easy-to-use checklist for creating your call center disaster recovery plan? We thought so, too. Check out this list and use the points as a guide when creating your recovery plan:
- Does your everyday maintenance plan cover disaster scenarios?
- Does your facility have access to backup power sources?
- Are there provisions in your service-level agreement (SLA) for remedies to service disruption?
- Do your agents have access to backup equipment should a disaster scenario compromise theirs or cause theirs to fail? (This should include phone equipment, circuit boards, etc.)
- Are there backup copies of your software - including your VoIP or other voice communications system?
- When was the last time you updated your contact list for service providers, vendors, etc.? This information should be kept current at all times in case of disaster or disruption.
- Do you have remote agent technology available to your staff so that agents can work remotely or from alternative locations in the event of a disaster?
- Do you have accurate and current contact information for your entire staff in the event that mass communication is necessary?
- Does your facility have a backup or alternative site from which you can at least temporarily operate? This is important since damage or compromise of your physical site can cause delays, disruptions, and even full shutdowns of your center without provisions for alternative workspace. Also, be sure to make plans for the safe and secure relocation of technology, information, and agents - and the prompt set up of equipment at your new location.
With all of that information in mind, it shouldn’t be hard for your management team to create a workable call center disaster recovery plan. Simply remember to keep your facility’s unique challenges and needs in mind and address all risk factors when planning ahead. Also, remember to test your recovery plan periodically and make updates as necessary. A plan that doesn’t work in the moment of need is no effective plan at all!
For more information on creating and implementing your call center disaster recovery plan, contact the industry experts at ChaseData. We have the software and solutions your team needs to weather-proof your center so that you can continue to provide top-notch service every day of the year - no matter the season! For more information, give us a call today!