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Cloud Contact Center: Improving Disaster Recovery

By: Bob Dunmire on July 2nd, 2019

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Cloud Contact Center: Improving Disaster Recovery

Contact Center Management

Disasters happen. That’s why there are Disaster Recovery plans. At GCS, we have Disaster Recovery, but we first take the approach of Disaster Avoidance. By understanding why disasters happen, you can build process and systems to prevent them from ever having an impact on your center performance.

Disasters don’t have to be just hurricanes or floods. You could experience a mass power outage or have a piece of hardware fail. When your call center is on-premise and confined to your own facilities, you will have no choice but to rely on a generator or a particularly speedy tech team to allow your contact center to function until the issue can be fixed – and that’s a best-case scenario. If your “disaster” involves a traffic jam, blizzard, or illness of epidemic proportions, you may have a fully-functioning call center and no one to run it.

Cloud contact centers offer a path to disaster recovery.

 

What is a Cloud Contact Center?

Cloud contact centers are facilities that exist separately from a single location. A cloud contact center for your company could involve a way for your team to log in from home. Your agents can take calls, and your supervisors can manage their efforts. They aren’t tied to a specific location.

 

Disaster Recovery

Cloud contact centers have many uses. You can use a cloud contact center to allow your employees to work from home. By using a rotating schedule, you could offer your agents one day a week working from home. Cloud contact centers can attract good agents who need more flexible working arrangements as well, helping you reduce attrition.

It is also an effective way to employ more agents than your call center can handle. It can help with the need to scale up for seasonal work or for spikes during peak hours or promotional events.

However, cloud contact centers REALLY shine in the face of disaster.

Having a cloud contact center in place works well when there is a mild inconvenience of a disaster. When something happens that prevents your agents from coming into work, a cloud contact center makes it easy to stay up-and-running. Also, it helps protect your critical files and company information. If a real disaster struck, like a massive earthquake or wildfire, you would still be able to access everything. You could establish a new call center as soon as the dust settled.

 

Reporting

Disasters take their toll in many ways. One of the biggest is in reporting. Many companies have backups of customer information tucked away in a cloud, but they generally don’t have all of their reporting backed up in the same way. Cloud contact centers remedy this shortcoming.


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Call Abandonment

Call abandonment is a real problem in a disaster. Business continuity is damaged. This usually happens in one of two ways. The first is improper call routing. After disaster strikes, some of your systems may be inoperable. As your IVR or well-meaning agents transfer callers, they may not be sent to the right location, and the ones that are may not get an answer. Your customers end up hanging up, potentially costing your company a sale or the chance to make a customer happy.

You might also experience a flood of calls. Call traffic and volume can go up drastically in the event of a disaster. The broader your company’s reach, the more likely you could see a sudden surge in call volume that your system is not equipped to handle. Before you know it, the lines are jammed, and your customers cannot get through.

Historical Data

Historical data is another issue. If a disaster destroys your on-site equipment and you do not have cloud back-ups, your data will be lost. Some of this could include confidential customer information that is difficult to replace without risking a loss of trust. You would lose historical data as well. Without those figures, running your call center after the disaster would be like starting over. You would have few of the insights you’ve worked so hard to gather.

 

Shortened Downtime

After a disaster, hardware failure, or software issue, it will take time to get your contact center back up. You may have to be down for days, if not weeks, as you source a new location, attempt to restore or recreate as much information as possible, and purchase new equipment. The longer it takes, the more your company image could be impacted. Your customers expect you to be prepared for the worst. When you are not ready, it reflects poorly on you as an organization. Some of your customers will stop trusting that you have everything under control, and many of them may turn to one of your competitors.

 

Financial Benefits

Having a cloud contact center at the ready doesn’t just make your life easier. It also has some significant economic benefits. Your insurance will cover any of the losses you sustain from damage to your facility. Property insurance is going to cover the cost of equipment and the loss of your real estate, but the fallout from a disaster is not limited to tangible items.

You may experience lost sales from the disaster – sales that, for the most part, will never be recovered. Customer satisfaction may go down too, and your brand image could take a hit. Cloud contact centers prevent that from happening. As far as your customers are concerned, it is business as usual. That carries its own value.

Paying on Usage

Also, cloud contact centers are different than on-premise facilities. When you set up your cloud contact center, you should remember that you do not have the same costs as outfitting a call center from scratch. The costs of purchasing, maintaining and eventually updating, hardware and software licenses are not solely yours.

You gain real flexibility in how you pay for the service. You can buy cloud contact center services on a per-seat basis or a per-feature basis. You can also choose to buy cloud contact center services on a per-minute basis, but the costs can be a little higher. This usage-based pricing allows you to scale up or down as needed. On a short-term basis, you can pay just for what you need, instead of having a fixed cost room full of equipment that never changes.

Flexibility

Cloud contact centers are going to give you the ability to scale up to meet unexpected demand and the flexibility to access agents from home. If you contract with a call center services vendor, you could have agents on demand and forestall these issues, but you have to have cloud contact center services enabled to make that a possibility. Even if you prefer to have an on-site call center facility, a cloud contact center can be a useful back-up or for overflow.

 

Conclusion

Everything you can do in a physical call center environment, you can do in the cloud. You can scale your business while enjoying the ultimate flexibility – no single location or fixed number of agents. This agility has its own benefits, but it shines in disaster recovery. Cloud contact centers help you keep your customer information and reporting while reducing downtime – and it is cost-effective. Outfitting a cloud contact center is not the same as setting up a call center on-premise. You only pay for what you use when you use it.

Contact GCS today. There are pros and cons to a Cloud based contact center system. GCS  can help you determine the best configuration for your center. We can help you set up a premise or cloud based contact center that gives you peace of mind AND fits your budget.

 


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