Larry Ekiert, on behalf of Enghouse Interactive, shares his advice for developing a plan to better ensure business continuity to better prepare for future disasters.
Is your business prepared for an emergency? The COVID-19 pandemic is the most recent example of why organizations of all sizes need to consider building a Business Continuity Plan.
As we live through these troubling times, we are seeing first-hand that being well prepared, with a choice of operational options at the ready, is the right way to run your business – both now and in the future.
But most organizations think that they do not have the manpower or resources to invest in planning to ensure the continuation of their business operations during a catastrophic event.
The reality is, it doesn’t take a huge investment of either to develop a basic plan.
At a high level, there are five steps you need to consider when developing your plan:
1. List All Possible Disaster Scenarios
Consider the most likely natural and human-caused disasters and determine what the potential effect could be on your business, and what you would need to do to prevent or minimize the impact.
For example, a fire will require different strategies than a flood or an extended power outage. Then develop estimates of the impact on your business for each scenario, for varying lengths of time, along with the estimated costs to get your business up and running again.
You’ll see that the potential downside risk is usually much higher than the cost of disaster preparation.
2. Develop a Communications Plan
It’s a problem when you don’t remember someone’s number on a regular day… but it’s a more serious situation when your business is impacted by a disaster and you can’t remember especially important names and numbers.
All organizations should have comprehensive lists of emergency numbers, distributed to department heads and kept in easily-accessible locations both onsite and offsite, to make sure that the right people can always be quickly reached.
3. Ensure That You Can Continue to Service Your Customers
Highly important is the need to ensure that your business can remain operational no matter what happens, either at head-office or your other locations. Your communications infrastructure – both internal and customer-facing (usually your contact centre) – needs to be as resilient as possible.
Previously, you’d need to set up a duplicate communications infrastructure (adding 100% to your communications costs), whereas now all you need to do is leverage the cloud.
The cloud is capable of providing you with the operational flexibility you need to run your business, no matter what happens, no matter where you or your people are, no matter the device they have in hand – cellphones, tablets, laptops…
4. Establish an Offsite Meeting Location – Physical or Virtual
All businesses run best when people can regularly meet face to face – your company was built on those interpersonal relationships. As such, it is important to establish a temporary worksite.
The type of business you run may dictate the need for another physical location and you may have enough meeting space for all your needs. If not, then consider integrating some type of video-based meeting capability into your communications infrastructure.
It will give your organization even more operational flexibility and will enhance your ability to meet face to face with your customers, suppliers, partners, and employees.
5. Test Your Plan
One of the keys to successful disaster recovery is testing your business continuity plan regularly. Everyone must know exactly what to do, where to go, and how to communicate across the organization and with your customers, partners, and suppliers, to keep your business running smoothly, even during a disaster.
Hopefully, you’ll never need to use it, but as we’ve recently seen, hope is not a substitute for solid planning. Smart businesses prepare. And, as you now know, it’s easy to be smart.
Call Centre Helper is not responsible for the content of these guest blog posts. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect those of Call Centre Helper.