Disasters and their effects on business technology come without warning and can have significant impact on your company’s image and bottom line. Making matters worse, if you haven’t implemented a disaster recovery/business continuity plan (BC/DR), your platform may not have the flexibility and scalability needed to respond to the situation and handle recovery requirements, potentially leaving you off-line for hours, days or even weeks.
Many contact centers are not prepared to ensure business continuity under emergency situations. Most disaster planning in contact centers is focused on recovery instead of business continuity. Contact center executives and managers need to understand the impact different disasters or emergencies can have on their operations and evaluate the solutions that keep business operations going while the system recovers.
What is business continuity and disaster recovery?
Paramount to providing service in the event of an emergency is to ensure that citizens are always able to reach the contact center even in the event of network or voice service outages. Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery (BC/DR) for network and voice connections should be part of any emergency plan, pandemic or not.
So, what is BC/DR? Contact centers need a secure data connection to operate. Often times companies will use multiprotocol label switching (MPLS), a software defined network (SD-WAN) from a cloud contact center provider or network providers. Many companies still use T1 or DSL connections from a carrier.
However, a single connection isn’t enough. Part of an effective BC/DR plan is employing a second connection to serve as a backup, as well as software protocols that automatically switch to the backup network should network downtime occur.
The same process should be employed for voice connections, as it is the most widely used channel for contact centers. Voice as a Service (VaaS) or hosted voice for contact centers is often delivered on an internet service provider (ISP) of the company’s choice. Should the ISP experience an outage, a backup connection with a separate ISP can prevent voice services from going down. Cloud contact center providers such as NICE inContact can provide their own voice services to contact centers and ensure redundancy by using a mix of multiple ISPs—sometimes up to nine or ten. Using a mix of even just three ISPs reduces the chance of voice downtime to one in more than a billion.
Impact on contact centers
There are various types of emergencies that can affect business processes: severe weather, earthquakes, fires, epidemics and illnesses, traffic congestions, hardware and human error—just to name a few. The resulting impact on staff availability, infrastructure downtimes, busy signals, or excessive wait times have direct and indirect repercussions, as well as immediate and long-term operational and financial impacts.