An Eye Toward the Future: Preparing Your Contact Center’s BCP

An Eye Toward the Future:
Preparing Your Contact Center’s BCP

Dennis Weikle, PPT Solutions

Introduction

If the sudden onset of the COVID-19 pandemic has taught the contact center industry anything, it's how necessary a business continuity plan (BCP) is in this day and age. For companies with a well-planned, well-tested BCP, maintaining steady workflow while providing a good customer experience this last quarter was simply a matter of pivoting away from the old operational model by putting their backup plans into action. For most contact centers, that meant a remote, work-from-home business model. But companies with no contingency plan were left scrambling.

An Eye Toward the Future:
Preparing Your Contact Center's BCP

Dennis Weikle, PPT Solutions

Introduction

If the sudden onset of the COVID-19 pandemic has taught the contact center industry anything, it's how necessary a business continuity plan (BCP) is in this day and age. For companies with a well-planned, well-tested BCP, maintaining steady workflow while providing a good customer experience this last quarter was simply a matter of pivoting away from the old operational model by putting their backup plans into action. For most contact centers, that meant a remote, work-from-home business model. But companies with no contingency plan were left scrambling.

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There's a rocky road ahead no matter what industry you're in. Your business cannot afford to be caught unaware by the next emergency. That's why it's essential to turn this moment of crisis into an opportunity to revisit or develop a BCP to protect your contact center.

What's the Difference Between a BCP and a DR?

First, let's get the nomenclature out of the way. Many people use the terms "business continuity plan (BCP)" and "disaster response (DR)" interchangeably. However, they are not entirely the same thing. Your company's DR plan is a subset of the larger BCP. A business continuity plan entails all the key roles, operational tasks, resources and logistics necessary to restore long-term business operations for your contact center. It's a way for your company to get back on its feet, enabling your employees to carry out mission-critical tasks despite the situation.

A disaster response plan, on the other hand, is more limited in scope. It includes the immediate, short-term steps necessary to ensure your employees' personal safety. Those steps will include:

  • A safe exit strategy from your building
  • A procedure for accounting for each employee
  • A safe hub or meeting point in which to regroup

It may help to envision it like this: your company's DR is the first step in its larger BCP. It is a preamble that ensures the safety of your staff so that you can focus on restoring your long-term operations.

What Should Your Company's BCP Include?

Unfortunately, the onset of COVID-19 took far too many businesses by surprise. For many contact center professionals, those plans were improvised last-minute. The result? Any attempt at a BCP seemed more like disaster relief than contingency planning.

According to a Forbes article from June 2020, more than 16 million on-site workers have been suddenly uprooted and forced to work from home as a result of COVID-19. If your contact center found itself struggling to transition its workforce, infrastructure and resources to a work-at-home (WAH) model, now is the time to draft a thorough continuity plan.
Here's what a good BCP should include:

  • A goal or objective in case of emergency
  • A steering committee or planning team
  • A business impact analysis
  • The plan itself
  • A mechanism for periodically testing the continuity plan

In most cases, your company's goal will be to get business operations up and running as quickly as possible with minimal interruption. The business impact analysis, or BIA, is a critical step that helps you and your team determine the most critical functions and resources you need in order to further develop your plan.

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How Often Should You Review Your BCP?

Once you've drafted your company's BCP, it's time to implement your contingency plan. In order to make sure that your plan is sound, you need to establish some method of periodically testing it. That method should include drills to get your staff accustomed to carrying out emergency procedures such as evacuations.

COVID-19 has shown us all how rapidly a situation can evolve. That's why you need to review your BCP at least twice a year to make sure it's up-to-date. It is also helpful to hold an emergency drill at least once a year to ensure employee compliance and understanding.

Preparing for What Comes Next

We live in an increasingly complex world. It is not a matter of whether there will be another situation on the same level as COVID, it's a matter of when. Your company needs to plan its operations with an eye towards the future. If you are a contact center professional, that means ensuring that your employees can carry out critical tasks remotely, maintaining a high-quality customer experience in the process. PPT Solutions can help provide you with guidance and resources as you prepare your company for the future. Contact us today to learn more and schedule a complimentary consultation.

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