Disasters can happen at any moment – with days of notice or none at all. Being prepared for these disasters, especially with your company, is vital. TechTarget recently posted an article outlining specific steps to take when creating your call center disaster recovery plan. A summary is below:
Creating a Disaster Recovery Plan
Call centers have unique requirements that should be considered when creating a disaster recovery plan. In addition to general disaster recovery planning best practices, here are a number of specific considerations:
- Document and test routing and processing of call center calls to agent homes.
- Examine options for alternate routing of calls across carriers.
- Determine if an alternate physical cable path into the telecom service office providing facilities to the call center can be implemented.
- Examine backup options for MPLS service to enhance call routing and completing capabilities.
- Examine alternate routing options to the Internet by more than one ISP.
- Establish an action plan in case of an Internet service outage.
- Identify and review local telephone carrier plans to address a catastrophic outage in its switching office.
- Investigate cloud-based call center service providers, including their service performance track record, experience with service disruptions and how they handled them, experience developing and testing disaster recovery plans for their services, and acceptance of service-level agreements for call center performance.
- Establish call re-direction services and document procedures for activating them with local telephone companies and other carriers.
- Document all incoming circuits and other relevant network services to identify possible service single points of failure.
- Discuss disaster recovery options with local telephone carriers to reduce their position as a possible single point of failure for the call center.
- Establish, document, and regularly test options for re-establishing VPNs used by the call center if a service outage occurs.
- Initiate regular testing of emergency power systems at all locations; ensure that switchover procedures (from primary to emergency power) are documented.
- Identify options to supplement existing primary power supplies with UPS equipment, batteries, and other emergency power systems.
- Identify options to back up specialized services (e.g., OC3 or Ethernet).
- Consider deploying alternate locations such as a secondary data center as a DR site for the call center; document and test fail-over procedures for each site, establish procedures for relocating call center staff as needed.
- Establish a formal policy for moving agents to home offices in an emergency.
- Establish, document and regularly test the call center system’s ability to rapidly transition to an alternate work site environment; verify which applications can also be transitioned and if screen pops and CTI (computer-telephony integration) functions can be performed remotely.
- Ensure that agents are cross-trained so that if they have to relocate to an alternate call center site they can become productive quickly.
- Establish, document and regularly test disaster recovery plans for all call center applications and technologies; ensure that critical systems can fail over to an alternate site.
- Ensure that documented instructions for conference bridges (on-site or hosted) are available and that multiple call center associates are trained in how to activate and manage the bridge.
- Ensure that documented instructions for any other specialized systems associated with the call center (e.g., interactive voice response) are available and that employees are trained in how to activate and manage them.
- Establish a process and schedule for regularly reviewing and updating contact lists.
- Establish a process and schedule to document and regularly test disaster recovery plans and procedures.
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