Non-voice channels within the contact centre are rapidly edging into the territory once dominated by voice interactions.
Five points to consider when assessing a recovery site for your contact centre
Contact or Call centres have become vital sales and support hubs for many companies, which mean that a recovery plan forms a vital component of their business continuity strategies. But an effective disaster recovery site for a contact centre must meet certain criteria, and its vital not to underestimate their importance.
Contact centres are complex institutions and many dimensions need to be considered when deciding on a recovery site, says Steven King, Business Development Manager, at ContinuitySA, Africas leading supplier of business continuity management services. Based on our years of experience in providing this service to blue-chip clients across the continent, we believe that the following issues need to be considered when making a decision.
- Does the recovery site operate on the infrastructure-as-a-service model? The contact centre recovery site needs to have the same level of technology as the production site, and it needs to be highly flexible in how it provides that infrastructure. Companies that are taking care of their own recovery site may find this a challenge, particularly as they would typically use production staff to maintain itthus spreading scarce resources even thinner. If the recovery centre is operated by a third party, it should be on infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) model. Not only does this remove the expenses from the capital to the operational expenses budget, it also effectively shifts the responsibility to the service provider.
Using IaaS also means that the infrastructure can be scaled up and down, something that can be vital during a recovery. When an organisation invokes a disruption it will typically move around one-third of their contact centre workforce onto the recovery site, and may only provide for a corresponding proportion of normal voice and data traffic. However, it is usually the case that for the first few days after a disaster there is a significant spike in calls, says King. Under an IaaS model, the provider could scale up capacity, such as the bandwidth required, for that period.
- Is the technology at the right level? When assessing the merits of a sites technology infrastructure, the following four areas need detailed scrutiny: PBX, switches, routers and phone/ data lines. Is the PBX supported, and can it handle the call volumes? Are the routers and switches able to be configured for the desired call flowabsolutely vital in a contact centre?
A related question is whether the building is serviced by multiple telecommunications providers. A contact centre is only as good as its links to the outside world, and being restricted to one supplier is not acceptable, from the cost and redundancy points of view.
- Is the building itself adequate? Here one should consider not only the question of whether the space on offer is sufficient but also security. If the contact centre is a 24/7 operation, for example, does the security accommodate shifts? Does the building have enough generators and fuel reserves, as well as uninterruptable power supply units? Is the building on key transport routes?
- Have the seats been purchased under the right model? Seats in a recovery centre offered by a third party can be purchased either on a syndicated or dedicated basis. Syndicated seats are shared with other clients, reducing the cost considerably but are offered on a first-come-first-served basis in the event of both companies experiencing a disaster at the same time, in the same geographic location. Even when this happens, says King, if the service provider has done its capacity planning well, it should still have enough seats for both clients.
- Can you test if your contact centre is ready for an incident or disaster? Its absolutely essential that every element of a business continuity plan can be tested, and that regular tests are undertakencontact centres are no exception. In practice, most companies find it hard to test an in-sourced recovery contact centre recovery site properly and regularly because of the impact on their current business operations.
ContinuitySA is Africa's leading provider of business continuity management and related services. The company boasts some of the continents most highly skilled and qualified business continuity and disaster management experts who help companies, organisations and government departments of all sizes prepare for and deal with all eventualities. These include potential threats, events, incidences and unforeseen or sudden disruptions due to human error or natural events.
ContinuitySA offers a complete business continuity management solution which delivers fully managed ICT resilience through backup and recovery solutions, leveraging off an extensive nation-wide base of infrastructure, data centres, bandwidth and ICT capability.
ContinuitySA operates the largest recovery facilities in southern Africa. It has a number of recovery centres in Southern Africa with over 20000 square metres of recovery facilities in Midrand, Gauteng. Smaller sites have been located in Cape Town, Botswana, Mozambique and a joint venture has been established in Mauritius.
ContinuitySA. Our business is keeping you in business.
Additional information about ContinuitySA can be found at www.continuitysa.com
Issued by Rebecca Warsop, Warstreet Marketing on 011 8079842 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
With more customers owning smart mobile devices, companies are facing an ever increasing need to communicate and respond to customers using channels, other than a simple voice call.
If youíre in the business of developing and distributing insurance products, then you know that telesales should be an indispensable part of taking your products to market.
The 2014 Reinsurance Group of America (RGA) SA Bancassurance survey shows that call centres are one of the key channels for bancassurance distribution and the majority of banks rely on outsourced call centres to handle their insurance telesales.
What does a grocer, landscaper, bookseller and telecommunications business have in common? Staying profitable in an extremely tight economy. Offering customers something they canít get at their rivalsí businesses and a reason to come streaming through their doors.