Assess your center ’ s resiliency by answering these questions :
· Do we have some level of site agility , through work-from-home , multiple sites , and / or partners ?
· Do we have redundancy for all our “ mission critical ” systems and networks ? If so , do they failover automatically or do we have a clear plan for how to invoke failover ?
· Do we have a way to route our calls to available resources under various scenarios of issues and outages ? Do we have built-in routing configurations for “ typical ” scenarios and processes ready to invoke for less common but possible scenarios ?
· Do we have clear plans for what to do if we are significantly understaffed ( due to volume increases , and / or various system , facility , and / or staffing issues )?
· For any of these scenarios , do we have documented guidelines for when our plans are invoked ( e . g ., how long an issue must last before we do something ), how we take action , who is responsible to do what ( including notifications ), how we test it is working , how we return to “ normal ,” and how we keep our plans up to date ?
· Are those plans up-to-date based on our current state for technology , agent locations , and processes ?
and the realities of relinquishing control for managing infrastructure ( including network connectivity and carriers ) and applications , potentially introducing new types and frequency of issues .
With agents in multiple locations , not dependent on corporate facilities , you have a new level of built-in agility . However , you need a mini-resiliency plan for each agent in their home office , even if IT is supplying the computer . WFH is only as good as the technology the agents have – including their home router , WIFI , and Internet Service Provider ( ISP ). You need to adapt to many different situations and prepare them to be resilient on their own !
CLOUD SOLUTION CONSIDERATIONS
Network : We see three different models for carrier management and each introduces different considerations for how you manage issues :
BUSINESS CONTINUITY / DISASTER RECOVERY
1 . The cloud provider is the carrier
2 . The cloud provider uses one or more 3rd parties as the carrier
3 . You choose to “ bring your own carrier ” ( BYOC ) and continue to manage it
If you are paying the cloud solution vendor to provide carrier services ( options 1 and 2 ), it is important to understand if they use multiple carriers ( in option 2 ) or what level of diversity they have ( option 1 ) so they can reroute . You could be totally reliant on them . It is better to know ahead of time than get frustrated or surprised in the middle of an issue .
BC / DR IS NOT WHAT IT USED TO BE , AND YOU CAN ’ T LOOK AT IT LIKE YOU ALWAYS DID .
If you choose the BYOC option , you are weighing the tradeoffs of finger-pointing risk versus level of control you have . While you can still do multi-carrier , make sure your IT team has the resources to oversee it . You should also engage with your cloud CC solution provider to understand how they resolve issues when the problem is ( or may be ) with the carrier ( s ) that your company manages .
Routing : When designing routing , make sure you consider atypical scenarios such as emergency closure , no staffing during normal hours , or even excessive queue conditions . You can set up decision trees to automatically route to a message , self-service , or other resources . Pre-record messages for these circumstances and define the process for ( trained ) staff to put them into action . ( And make sure they have a “ cheat sheet ” to remember all the steps !) With a cloud solution , you should be able to set these up so contact center resources can do the changes and not have to rely on IT or the vendor . If you must rely on IT , identify priority and time response commitments ; don ’ t let it fall into a ticket queue without rapid response , or get stuck waiting for someone who knows how to act on it !
Reliability Expectations : Historically , we are accustomed to “ five 9s ” of reliability : 99.999 % uptime , or less than 5 minutes of downtime per year . With cloud solutions , you may fall short of that in the SLAs and / or in the operational reality . Thus , your planning needs to consider the risks of lower levels , such as 99.99 % for your mission critical voice routing . Other applications , such as cloud-based bots / IVR could be even lower ( such as 99.9
SLAs : SLAs are a critical part of the commitment cloud solution vendors make to the market and to your center ’ s operational reliability . Read the SLAs carefully , understand the vendor ’ s commitment to keep things working and respond when they are not , and provide you some remediation if they fail . If the solution is being delivered by one of their partners , understand the roles and responsibilities they have in tandem with the vendor . Ask for performance history , because an SLA may under- or overstate performance , and you want to understand the track record . Talk to references , because their experience is a very important reflection of reality . You may have a limited ability to negotiate a higher SLA or pay a premium for the privilege , but you need to know what to expect and prepare for it .
Finally , know that an SLA is generally only as good as your commitment to hold the vendor accountable to it . You may need to track downtime and manage the remediation process . Worst case , your accounting of the performance is your ticket to get out of a contract if a vendor is not serving your interests well .
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