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I run a multi-site environment with two locations. We use a hosted service contact center for disaster recovery. I am fairly confident that in an emergency we could have our calls forwarded to the hosted provider and have our agents log in to take calls. What else should I be concerned about to make certain that we can function at a similar service level as we do today?

I run a multi-site environment with two locations. We use a hosted service contact center for disaster recovery. I am fairly confident that in an emergency we could have our calls forwarded to the hosted provider and have our agents log in to take calls. What else should I be concerned about to make certain that we can function at a similar service level as we do today?

4/29/2008

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Question
I run a multi-site environment with two locations. We use a hosted service contact center for disaster recovery. I am fairly confident that in an emergency we could have our calls forwarded to the hosted provider and have our agents log in to take calls. What else should I be concerned about to make certain that we can function at a similar service level as we do today?

Answer
A growing number of enterprises are signing up with hosted contact center infrastructure vendors to have back-up support in case a disaster destroys their primary technology site. This is a good approach for addressing a situation where agents are available, but the site is not functioning. (Agents can either go to a back-up facility or work from home.) To ensure a fully functional back-up environment, it is also necessary to address the servicing applications, such as the interactive voice response system and customer relationship management suite, in addition to core routing and queuing technology.

A second disaster scenario that companies must unfortunately consider is where the staff is also impacted, as was the case on 9/11. While we hope that a situation never occurs where your agent population is not available to handle customer interactions, we do recommend creating a mobilization plan that addresses both technology and staff needs, pulling in alternate resources from support and other staff groups. The mobilization plan should be prioritized – contact center management and support staff, such as from training and quality assurance, can be called upon first. After that, we suggest using resources from the marketing organization. If your company is not opposed to using an outsourcer, we suggest having one on retainer for this purpose. The goal of the plan is to keep your enterprise in business long enough to retrain staff and re-populate the contact center.

The scenarios discussed above are “worst case” situations and are fortunately rare. It is more common to be confronted with a disaster that negatively impacts the operation of a contact center for only a relatively short period of time. The cause may be a flood, tornado or other weather event that destroys a contact center facility or prevents agents from being able to travel to the site. In these situations, using hosting for both the core contact center infrastructure and servicing applications should be sufficient, particularly if agents are able to work from their homes.

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