Planning is the Best Way to Minimize Disaster Impacts
by Donna Fluss, DMG Consulting
As hurricane Sandy bears down on the East Coast, it reminds me of the importance of disaster recovery (DR) and business continuity (BC) planning, something that too many contact centers neglect. Most enterprise leaders agree that disaster recovery and business continuity planning is critical, but all too often budget constraints prevent organizations from making the necessary plans. Unfortunately, hurricanes, tornadoes, snowstorms, floods, fires and acts of terrorism remind us of how important it is to have strong DR and BC plans in place.
Preparing for a Disaster
The primary goal when preparing for a disaster is to build a plan to keep your contact center operating during a disaster. The strategy you choose will depend on your technical capabilities and resiliency, number of sites and their geographical dispersion, the percentage of work that can be deferred in the short term without major business ramifications and serious customer dissatisfaction, and how much you are willing to spend to keep your business going in the event of a disaster. Here are a number of ways to prepare your contact center and limit the negative impact and cost of disasters:
Testing is Key
In a worldwide benchmark study on contact center disaster recovery, DMG found that only 36.7% of companies were confident that they could operate without serious impact on service quality and the customer experience during a disaster. This percentage is low because a majority of contact centers either do not have DR and BC plans or are not keeping them up-to-date. This same study revealed that only 4.7% of companies test their DR and BC plans on a monthly basis. This leaves 95.3% of contact centers at risk of a major meltdown in an emergency, which is not a position that most of us want to be in. The best plans won’t help if your staff does not know what to do and the technology does not work. So, it’s essential to run a full business continuity test once a year, and test various aspects of the plan on a quarterly basis.
Nobody likes to think about disasters, but whether they are “acts of God,” such as a hurricane, or man-made, such as a terrorist attack, they happen. Not every company will be hit by unexpected events, but all contact centers should be prepared so that they can mitigate the impact on their customers and bottom line without putting their employees at risk.