Imagine that your call center has been paralyzed by a sudden disaster; say a massive fire in the building. There is not even a shred of doubt that your business would get significantly impacted by the event. However, there has to be a Plan B to minimize the impact and get back to the usual drill as soon as possible.
If you plan ahead and stay prepared for any untoward incident, chances are that you would come out unscathed from such unfortunate events. Remember that the above scenario is truer for a call center that has developed recently. The world over, people are increasingly focusing on disaster management and business continuity plans. This planning is absolutely essential to reduce costs during an emergency or to just make sure that your business is able to survive the disaster.
Here is a rundown of how to prepare such a contingency plan just in case your primary defenses collapse and a disaster suddenly occurs:
- Know your strategy: First know what a good business continuity plan is. Chances are that you might have to do a lot of reading on the subject to ensure that you are not a laggard in the process. Any business demands the operators to be on top of what they are doing and call centers are no exceptions. Remember a business continuity plan is a complete dossier on the combined processes of how to prevent disasters, reduce costs and casualties if one takes place and taking the business forward henceforth. Thus, it is not just enough to think after the disaster. It is equally important to be aware of eventualities even before anything happens.
- Analyze your situation: Thereafter, make a good analysis of all the risk factors that might afflict your call center. It is very important to know where your call center stands. Conduct a preliminary round of discussion with your employees so that they could also contribute their two cents based on their experiences. Subsequently, prepare a good paper on where and how your organization needs to start reacting to the demands of time.
- Make a back-up: In today’s world, a call center is largely dependent on technology, software, data and equipment. Make multiple back-ups of all your data, ensure that all your licensed software discs have multiple copies and insure all your costly equipment. It is important to understand the primordial role of technology in the day-to-day operation of a call center. However, also make sure that all your employees are insured against any possible eventuality.
- Train your employees: Everything would be rendered meaningless if your employees are not upto the task. Conduct training programs with your employees such that each one of them is aware of the contingency methods just in case a disaster strikes. Repeat the training at regular intervals of time to enlighten them on the newer disaster procedures. It is important to conduct mock-drills so that you could assess their preparedness.
- Calculate your possible losses: Calculate your possible down-times just in case a disaster happens and ensure that a back-up process is in place. For a call center, its customers constitute the bread and butter. So, make sure that if at all any disruptions happens, the scenario is properly communicated to the customers.
- Conduct an analysis on the impact that a disaster might have on your business: Do an analysis of the business impact. The analysis is done by calculating the impact that a disaster might have on individual areas of the operation. Based on the inputs, make a critical study of how long it is going to take for all the individual processes to get back in shape.
- Make a check-list on the priority assignments: Prepare a priority check-list so that you would know the relative importance of each of the existent practices and decide your course of action accordingly. The telephone lines and all the communication channels would constitute an obvious priority as all the operations of a call center largely depend on the efficacy of the same.
- Always be ready to change your plan: It is very important to understand that no plan in this world is completely full-proof. Every plan has at least one possible lacuna. So, keep that in consideration and stay prepared to change all your prior planning just in case the erupted situation is entirely new. It has been seen a countless number of times that the propensity to rigidly stick to the pre-set plan might sometimes prove to be counterproductive.
While preparing a business continuity plan for your call center, just mind that here too you have to be ahead of your competition so that your organization makes a better recovery if the same disaster hits your competitors as well.