Tornadoes in the south, hurricanes along the coast, earthquakes in the west. Disasters come in many forms and usually unannounced.
Just ask Houston Astros fans. The "disaster," in this case, was an internet outage that occurred, of all times, during the decisive Game 7 of the 2017 World Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers. You know, the most critical game in Astros history. The outage was widespread and lasted several hours, mostly in Texas -- including the Dallas and Austin areas, and, you guessed it, the Houston area. While the Astros went on to win its first-ever championship, thousands of fans weren't able to stream or follow the game online. And if that wasn't enough, the same outage also impacted a smaller number of residents in the Los Angeles area.
Again, disaster can strike at any time and can come in many forms. For call centers or businesses that deal with a relatively high volume of calls, something like that could lead to thousands of dollars in losses while eroding consumer confidence in your company.
That's why it's imperative to develop a call center disaster recovery plan.
In call centers, where large units of information and data are being transmitted, any kind of power outage can be devastating. Productivity and customer satisfaction isn't the only thing at risk -- so, too, is company and customer security and data.
A call center disaster recovery plan is critical in minimizing the impact of disruptions to network, information systems, and callers. Managers need to be aware of potential risks and security breaches while maintaining analysis and checks of hardware, software, and overall digital infrastructure, including all cloud-based solutions.
Identify the risks
To develop a concise, comprehensive disaster recovery plan, perform an internal audit of all possible dangers posed to your call center. These risks should cover a wide range of potential challenges, including:
- Loss of network-based information (such as Caller ID and client information).
- Loss of connection due to black or brown-outs, internet outage, human error, software failure, network outage or service disruption. Any of these scenarios means calls aren't coming in.
- Physical damage to equipment from natural disasters. Again, when infrastructure goes down, calls usually stop. And that's often adding disaster on top of disaster.
How to develop your Call Center Disaster Recovery Plan
Now that you’ve identified all - or at least, most - of the risks faced by call centers, it’s time to develop your call center disaster recovery plan tailored to your individual needs.
- The foundation of any call center disaster recovery plan should be a customized software solution, complete with options like CRM integrations, cloud-based apps, built-in analytic tools, etc.
- You need options when it comes to existing primary power supplies, whether it's a generator, backup battery systems, etc.
- The IT staff needs to develop an Emergency Contact list that includes local power supply companies.
- Likewise, managers should update contact lists of all vendor and network service providers. This handy reference ensures all necessary parties can be contacted for servicing as promptly as possible. You need a top-shelf online security system to protect data.
- Backup, backup, backup. All data needs a backup system. For example, ChaseData uses a cloud-based call center software to back up vital information. That means all that essential information is never lost when the power goes out.
- If possible, re-direct calls to another location that's not affected by the disaster. Some employees can stay on-site while the problem is fixed. Meanwhile, incoming calls are being forwarded to another location or even to specific cell phones, so no calls are missed, and business can go on.
It's Better to Be Proactive than Reactive
The internet outage that prevented thousands of customers from a major cable company from watching the Astros' World Series win didn't just impact Texas and California. News reports say the outage was nationwide, and it lasted several hours at many locations. But, generally speaking, businesses such as cable, internet, and power companies have a disaster recovery plan already in place.
In other words, that hours-long outage could have lasted much longer.
A call center disaster recovery plan is no different. When disaster strikes -- whatever and whenever that is -- a lack of planning could be its own disaster for your company and your customers.