Disaster recoveries aren’t necessarily based around natural disasters. Human and technological problems can cause business disruption and force your team to activate your business continuity plan or some sections of it. An extremely important part is the management of your customers’ relationships. A disruption of sales and customer care can be extremely damaging for your brand and future trading agreements. Remember… ‘the show must go on!’
How to develop a Business Continuity Plan?
The development of a Business Continuity Plan requires the involvement of managers and directors of different business areas including IT and HR. They should think in the worst case scenario and design solutions to meet potential hazards or service/production discontinuity while reducing the risk of losses. You must think the responsibilities and implications for all stakeholders within the company including employees, suppliers, clients and the general public.
According to CIO, there are six general steps:
- Identify the scope of the plan.
- Identify key business areas.
- Identify critical functions.
- Identify dependencies between various business areas and functions.
- Determine acceptable downtime for each critical function.
- Create a plan to maintain operations.
While we are not experts on creating business continuity plans, we are definitely experts in supporting customer needs when they are the most required.
The role of a contact centre in your business continuity plan
The scope of your business continuity plan should account for the impact that the business disruption would have for your clients and potential clients. Contact centre manned by sales and customer support agents is mostly the first point of contact for them. Having a person answering phones and emails, it clearly states that you are open for business. However, the difference is made evident when that person knows your business process and the right answers to clients’ inquiries. Therefore, what systems do they need access to perform their job?
Additional Key questions to develop your plan:
- What is your time frame and under what circumstances will you activate your disaster recovery plan?
- Do you have backup copies of all your customer information?
- What is your critical communication path and who is responsible for it?
- Can your network be accessed remotely or from alternate devices or locations?
- Do you have designated physical location for your team?
- Have you tested your disaster recovery plan and if so how often have you scheduled plan updates.
When outsourcing to a Contact Centre makes sense as part of your continuity plan?
Your team will always be the best people to manage your customer base. They will know them inside out and would be able to align their needs with your business offerings. However, a contact centre can be easily integrated into your team as part of the day to day activities (dedicated customer support representatives) or just when you need them (overflow, after hours or in a disaster situation!). Training is the key to a successful implementation.
If we just focus on your continuity plan, outsourcing to a contact centre makes sense if…
- Your systems can be accessed remotely (e.g. through your website, online app…)
- Your phone can be diverted (all of them can!)
- You have defined processes in place with steps to follow
- A designated point of contact in your company is appointed for tricky situations
- You don’t have a second office where your existing team can be relocated quickly
If you are reviewing your business continuity plan, get in touch as see how cost-effective is to add us to your plans.