BUSINESS CONTINUITY / DISASTER RECOVERY
All Hands on Deck scenarios : Many companies have an “ All hands on deck ” element to their resiliency plans . People working in other departments who transferred out of the center may pitch in , or you may tap trainers and quality team members . These are great resources to add a level of staffing agility . However , you need to understand how the configuration and licensing works with your cloud provider so that these people can be added quickly without breaking the bank . For example , make sure you don ’ t have an agreement that requires you to pay for named licenses that sit idle , or one that the license counts ( named or concurrent ) can only go up , never down . If you need resiliency seasonally or a few days each month , you may need to negotiate a specific structure that accommodates that flexibility .
Dev / Test / Sandbox environments : Your IT department may have development , test , “ sandbox ,” and / or quality assurance ( QA ) environments for core systems ( like CRM , customer information systems , etc .) and may want to set up something similar with your contact center solutions . Perhaps they want to be able to test routing and integration , or self-service applications such as IVRs and bots . These can be important elements for resiliency .
Talk with your vendor ( s ) or prospective vendors about these environments and how they handle licensing and version management . You may choose to create a separate instance of your environment (“ organization ” or URL ) or just configure different numbers and agents for routing . You will also need a process to transition a test environment into production .
Testing : Testing the platform resiliency overall is the cloud vendor responsibility , not yours . ( Don ’ t assume you can invoke a test !) Explore this topic with the vendor so you understand what they routinely do to assure your network and system can failover successfully . This subject may be of even greater interest when the vendor uses third-party data centers and servers , such as Microsoft , Google , or Amazon infrastructure . And looping back to the carrier discussion , network failover testing depends on who the carrier ( s ) are and what level of control you have .
WITH AGENTS IN MULTIPLE LOCATIONS , NOT DEPENDENT ON CORPORATE FACILITIES , YOU HAVE A NEW LEVEL OF BUILT-IN AGILITY .
Technical support : Every home-based agent relies on the PC , the applications , and the network access in their house . If anything is down or performing poorly , or they aren ’ t sure what to do , they can ’ t move to another desk or get some help at their side quickly . So , the first day of onboarding and every day thereafter ( no matter what shift they work !), they need great technical support and clear guidelines for how to get it .
Support must include a quick and easy way to share the desktop ( e . g ., through Teams , Zoom , Google , etc .) to get help from IT , Supervisors , the CC help desk , or peers . It should include ways to test network performance . Technical support may even need some new guidelines around shipping out new PCs or ancillary devices , such as monitors , headsets , or phones .
Discussions with IT need to address the reality that an agent with a technology issue is of little use . You ’ ll need clarity on the support they ( or the third party they contract ) will provide and the hours they are willing to staff . The boundaries around what IT will or won ’ t address with network issues also need to be clearly defined . Nobody likes to hear , “ Call your local ISP .” That is a ticket to delay in getting an agent back to handling contacts . Your training may need a new module on basic technical support so an agent can more comfortably do their part to help troubleshoot and solve problems . You may also want to provide WIFI hotspots or define other locations ( including a trek into the office ) where agents can go when they have issues .
USE OF THIRD PARTIES TO AUGMENT STAFF RESILIENCY
WFH is not the only site diversity model . Many companies use third parties to augment their staff , and they can play an important role in providing backup support in many situations . An outsourcer could play a routine overflow role and be prepared to handle additional volume if you have an event . They need trained staff , and enough of them , to be of use . In addition , you need great knowledge management ( KM ) tools and processes , and your routing strategies need to be very clearly defined and configured to move the right volume to the right place ( s ). There is no value in overflowing to a backup that is just a different holding place !
14 CONTACT CENTER PIPELINE
I have also written previously about the intrigue of “ gig workers ” as a staff augmentation opportunity . Leaders love the idea , and it can fit in the right circumstances – e . g ., high digital channel use , passionate consumers or business peers that want to help others , great Knowledge Management . Many success stories have been published for things like technology support , consumer goods , and B2B services . The theme of using it routinely , not just in a pinch , surfaces again . If this approach might be a fit for you , explore it for day-to-day support and you will have a new level of agility in your toolkit .