Industry Knowledge – Identify Challenges and considerations for business continuity in the contact center

Disasters come without warning and can have a huge impact on a Contact Center’s image, brand and reputation. A business continuity plan (BCP) deals with how business prepares for disaster events that could disrupt the business. It helps the contact center to continue to deliver customer service at a defined level and ensure employee safety. This may involve diverting the calls and agents to an alternative location depending on the intensity of the disaster. Business Continuity events can be planned or unplanned. Some of the common events include
  • Storms
  • Blizzards
  • Earthquakes
  • Fires
  • Floods
  • Power outages
  • Cyber attacks
  • Telenetwork disruptions
  • Network disruptions
  • Security Incidents
  • Data Breach
  • Epidemics and Illnesses
  • Traffic Congestions
  • Hardware and Human failures.

Companies should make sure that they have identified the business critical elements so that effective planning can be made. Planning should cover every crucial aspect starting from budgeting to estimated time in recovery of operations. Some examples of critical elements include voice and information systems, Network, Synchronization of callers data with the systems. The identification of these elements is followed by implementation and execution of the plan. Depending on the intensity of disaster there will be different kinds of responses and action plans that need to be taken.

A BCP should cover three main areas people, processes and technology (not much flexibility available around this area which limits the planning). It is difficult to prevent the disaster completely, measures can be taken to reduce its impact to a significant level. Following measures can be taken to help address the challenges in business continuity
  • Organizations should identify the business critical systems that are necessary to maintain operations in contact centers.
  • They should analyze the level of support offered by external contractors so that there wouldn’t be a delay when some specific events call for on-site support.
  • The DR plan should address the needs of all the stakeholders connected to a call center such as customers, agents, and vendors.
  • With new technologies and systems getting on board each day, the DR plan should be updated in light of the same.
  • Once the plan has been developed, mock tests should be conducted at specified intervals to achieve the intended results.
Failures in operations can sometimes lead to major consequences. Some of the potential risks to contact center operations include
  • The number of incoming calls getting reduced due to outage or service interruption.
  • Inability to make quick changes to call routing depending on the situation
  • Poor integration of CRM databases, predictive dialers, and security applications
  • Power outage or server failure resulting in loss of data and supporting information
  • Absenteeism that will put pressure on other staffs to handle communications
  • A failure in the Local Area Network due to technical issues

Developing a BCP consists of different stages

  • Accessing Risk (any of the above steps can be used for assessing risk)
  • Analyze the Business critical elements and the business impact
  • Design cost-effective solutions
  • Implement the solutions
  • Test the solutions (do mock up drills)
  • Review and maintain the plan to ensure information is adequate.
Contents of BCP
  • Checklist and documentation of processes that are to be used
  • Circumstances for activating the plan
  • A communication plan to the stakeholders.
  • BCP testing procedures and schedule.
  • Document the Recovery Procedures.
  • Identify the manual work procedures.
  • Identify roles and responsibilities.
  • Recovery Time Objective – Maximum acceptable time to restore a business function
  • Recovery Point Objective – an acceptable amount of data that may not be recovered.

One Comment

  • Venu Reply

    This looks awesome. Thanks for starting this blog.

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