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If Disaster Strikes, Will Your Answering Service Be Ready?

Disaster Recovery

As we’ve seen over the past few weeks, Mother Nature is unpredictable. One minute, she’ll give us sunshine and blue skies, and in the next, a hurricane will be barreling down your door. While we can’t always fully prepare for Mother Nature’s wrath, ensuring that your business’ communication lines are in constant operation in the midst of a crisis should never be left to chance.

For any industry, loss from fires, floods, natural disasters and other calamities can be mitigated by a well-designed business continuity plan (BCP), inclusive of an IT disaster recovery plan, that will outline specific, predetermined steps to be taken to help the business recover. This is especially true for the call center industry, which your business may rely on 24/7/365. Call center destruction impacts employees and their families, and quite obviously, the client base that the call center supports, should services become temporarily or completely unavailable.

If you are currently outsourcing to an answering service that was hard-hit by Hurricane Harvey or Hurricane Irma and had no business continuity plan in place, then you know firsthand how quickly communications can cease. Depending on the type of business you run, disaster recovery may not have been a major issue. But if you could not function without your offsite receptionists, then you were likely faced with a tough choice: can we stay afloat while we wait for the service to bounce back, or is it time to jump ship in search of a safer port-of-call?

Whether you’re working with an answering service, or you’re in the market for one, the guide below will provide an overview of the questions you’ll want to ask them to ensure that your business has maximum protection from any unwelcome events that may interrupt call center support. The more comprehensive the BCP, the more likely you won’t be dragged down with a sinking ship.

Power to the People

No, it’s not a rally cry. We mean power. Real power. Every piece of technology that the call center uses requires electricity. Ask these questions:

VoIP and Phone Connectivity

A call center without phones is like a car without wheels. There’s not a whole lot the answering service agent can do other than sit there. Ask these questions:

The Data Dilemma

Many answering services provide more than message taking. They may be placing web-based orders, scheduling appointments online, managing your live chat channel, and more. Ask these questions:

Servers and Networks and Software, Oh My!

Infrastructure. It’s an important word because it encompasses a lot of stuff. Call centers use a boatload of different software, they probably have a number of systems working off a shared network, and depending on their size, they might house a whole room full of servers. Ask these questions:



Servers and Databases

How the Call Center Can Help

Aside from the above technical considerations, it’s important to know what your options are when assessing business communications disaster recovery. Ask these questions:

What You Should Do if Your Call Center is Down

Just in case your answering service cannot recover from a catastrophic event, you’ll want to have a backup plan.

What You Should Do if Your Call Center is Up, but Your Phones are Down

As many businesses recently experienced, you may be located in the danger zone while your call center is in the clear. In that case, you’ll need another checklist on hand to get through the days ahead:

Even if we happen to know when and where disaster will strike, it doesn’t always mean that the area is prepped for a crisis. As a business owner, anytime you put your livelihood in the hands of another, you’re taking a chance. So, do your due diligence, research the questions we’ve put together, and have a disaster recovery plan of your own so that you’ll be ready for whatever Mother Nature throws at you.

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