How to create a practical BCP (business continuity plan) for your call center with Freshcaller

In this blog, we are going to learn how to devise a solid BCP for a call center business using Freshcaller’s capabilities

Control what you can, while you can.
Firstly, the pandemic.
And with it, your business’s continuity using a practical BCP.

Business continuity in times of the pandemic and mandatory remote work has become our new normal. For some of us it’s probably the first time answering work calls from that carefully chosen wall at home as the backdrop that’s far away from the pile of unfolded clothes. While for others it’s just another regular work from home day.

No matter what, this situation is expected to extend longer than anticipated. And in reality, with almost half the globe suggesting that their employees self-quarantine and work from home, the other half has been left with no choice but to make it a mandate. If you, as a business make a timely BCP (Business Continuity Plan) and stay organized you could come out of this emergency unscathed.

The first and most obvious challenge to this change in business routine is disjointed communication. And ironically, it’s now, more than ever that being available for your customers(who probably are in super panic mode!) and your employees who might need some clear business continuity plan (BCP) is a godsend.

So how can you enable your business to continue even during unforeseen contingencies?
Also, how do you continue nurturing relationships with your customers and to-be-customers during this pandemic?

Here are some ways you can use Freshcaller to help your phone team stay productive and ensure business continuity with a full-fledged BCP.

How do you get started with your call center’s BCP?

Identifying the challenges that impact your customer service operations primarily and your overall business communication in general

No matter how meticulously you plan and how well you think through, you can’t expect to set right every aspect of your business’s operations as it used to be while working out of an office environment.

A suggestion here is, to begin with identifying the top 5 priorities that you want Freshcaller to help you achieve right away for a relevant BCP.
Here are some most common challenges that a business could encounter while ideating a BCP

  1. Unprecedented connectivity issues
  2. A surge in customer call-volume
  3. Maintaining your business and service quality
  4. Prioritizing what’s important and what’s not
  5. Maintaining communication with external stakeholders/partners

How to set up your call center to support your BCP?

Solutioning your way through these challenges with an effective call center set up and BCP strategy

Prepare your teams with some Freshcaller connectivity prerequisites using a BCP
With any emergency or calamity, the probability of power outages and connectivity issues are quite high. The first challenge to accommodate in your BCP is planning to tackle sudden downtimes if any. And the most impacted from these downtimes and outages would be the phone team in-charge of customer support and sales.

So, to make sure that you don’t let technical and network-related challenges to come in the way of delivering a quality experience to your customers using Freshcaller, here are some proactive measures a.k.a prerequisites that we recommend you to use so that you can keep your business up and running using Freshcaller.

✔️ Prepare your teams with vital Freshcaller connectivity prerequisites using a BCP

With any emergency or calamity, the probability of power outages and connectivity issues are quite high. The first challenge to accommodate in your BCP is planning to tackle sudden downtimes if any. And the most impacted from these downtimes and outages would be the phone team in-charge of customer support and sales.

So, to make sure that you don’t let technical and network-related challenges to come in the way of delivering a quality experience to your customers using Freshcaller, here are some proactive measures a.k.a prerequisites that we recommend you to use so that you can keep your business up and running using Freshcaller.

Network best practices

Before your phone team starts their day, they can test their connection using some online network speed test tools. For example, http://speedtest.net.in/. They can also use Freshcaller’s inbuilt call quality and network troubleshooting feature, This Test Connectivity feature will help diagnose a call and make necessary adjustments to the bandwidth to ensure good call quality through the day.

Freshcaller BCP for a business call center
Freshcaller’s call quality monitor

Moderate tab usage

Recommend your phone agents to limit the use of bandwidth-intensive applications from running in parallel to Freshcaller, for example, Netflix, Youtube, etc during work hours. This will ensure that they have the best possible connectivity and fewer instances of call drops during work hours. This will, in turn, ensure that their efficiency is not compromised and hence your business continuity.

Headset and wifi preferences

You could have a team call and create a custom message within Freshcaller listing out the best headphone recommendations, ideal modem and browser settings. Whenever feasible, you can recommend that the team uses a LAN instead of Wifi for better connectivity. And they can go back to this custom message for their reference whenever needed.

Integrations with team collaboration tools

Ambient noise and latency are prone to be an obvious quality deterrent while taking calls from home. Use the public and open APIs that Freshcaller offers to integrate your Freshcaller account with productivity, noise cancellation, and team collaboration tools that help support your business’s continuity. This way, you can bridge any possible communication gaps that may surface due to an emergency. Including this as a key aspect in your BCP will solve for quite a lot of challenges.

Freshcaller BCP for a business call center
Freshcaller’s Public APIs and third-party integrations

✔️ Ace through customer call-volume management using a BCP

Compared to regular business days, the recent days of lockdown and subsequent turmoil is bound to increase the number of calls that your business receives. It’s crucial for every call center in specific and business, in general, to try and answer these incoming requests with a smart and practical solution. By using Freshcaller, you could reduce these practical difficulties that come with an on-premise system. Now, you can leverage certain core Freshcaller features to ensure business continuity using a BCP

Mobile app

Train your phone teams to use the Freshcaller mobile app actively. This way you can ensure that they are able to attend to calls even while having to manage their kids and family at home. Important calls can be answered even while agents are not at their home workstation. Also, the Freshcaller mobile app is strongly integrated with the mobile app version of our customer support tool, Freshdesk as well as our in-house CRM, Freshsales.

Freshcaller BCP for a business call center
Download Freshcaller’s mobile app for Android

 

Freshcaller BCP for a business call center
Download Freshcaller mobile app for iOS

IVRs (Interactive Voice Response)

An IVR has always been a powerful tool for a business that’s predominantly customer-facing. And during unforeseen emergencies, it serves as the face of your business status and condition. Set the right context and expectations to the customers who contact your front desk with a warm and situation sensitive IVR message that you can easily customize within minutes using Freshcaller.

Include pointers that mention the current status of your call center and also set precedence as to any delay that may be expected due to the surge in call traffic. Prompt them to navigate to the right department or function so that their call can be answered as quickly as possible in times like these. And, if you want to make it even easier for your customers to connect with your business, you can leverage Freshcaller’s newly launched speech-enabled IVR capability.

Freshcaller BCP for a business call center
Freshcaller’s intuitive IVR system

Intelligent call routing

It is now more than ever that setting up a well analyzed and thought out call flow and routing comes in handy to ensure business continuity. Control and define the path of your incoming calls and route them to the right teams and agents from across geographies with Freshcaller’s advanced call routing capabilities. If you observe that there are certain teams that have been receiving more calls as compared to others, setting up routing rules to re-route calls to another team or function would ease out the call load.

Freshcaller’s call flows allows you to configure fallback options that could help you be more vigilant of any hiccups that you foresee. Also, moving around resources/agents based on the demand in a branch/geo will help you business’s continuity immensely.

Freshcaller BCP for a business call center
Freshcaller’s intelligent call routing capability

Wait queues and call back requests

It’s normal to see an increase in the number of calls being stationed in wait queues when there is a sudden surge in call volume. But, not all your customers would want to wait idle in a call queue. To set the expectation right for your customer, you can enable the wait queue position to be announced to the caller in the wait queue so that they aren’t disappointed if the wait time is longer than they assumed.

Freshcaller BCP for a business call center
Freshcaller wait queue set up

On the other hand, you can also use Freshcaller’s call back capability to give callers the option to request a call back from your agents while they can get back to their work. This not only reduces the number of callers in the wait queue but is an organic way of filtering customers with really urgent and time-sensitive concerns against ones who are ok to wait for a callback.

Freshcaller BCP for a business call center
Freshcaller’s queue call back enhancement

Instant Notifications

Recommending your phone team to enable options like Ring on Speakers, Forward to Mobile and Desktop Notifications that are available with Freshcaller will make sure that they can still hear an incoming work call and pick it up even when they are taking care of adhoc needs at home.

Freshcaller BCP for a business call center
Freshcaller’s profile settings

Agent to Agent Extensions

Make it easy for your customers to talk to agents they are familiar with by giving them the option to connect via Freshcaller agent-specific extensions.
Every Freshcaller agent has their own unique extension that customers can use to reach them in specific. This way agents can save the time that they need to spend on understanding the conversational history and context of a customer. Give your customers the option to connect with their regular POC.

✔️ Keep up your business’s service quality with regular monitoring using a BCP

Keeping a tab on the quality of calls and conversations is crucial when it comes to a successful BCP. When customers call your business or while your phone team makes outgoing calls to prospects, it’s important that you manage to maintain the same level of authenticity, friendliness, and warmth that your business is known for.

Service Level Monitoring

Taking into consideration the extent of the impact due to the emergency on different geos, set up target service levels for each of your teams/call queues. These service levels help you gamify and bring in some excitement to your phone team and keep them stay engaged and motivated.

Call queue-based service level targets help you identify which teams or queues are not maintaining the target service levels. This helps you narrow down the problem areas in your call center and act quickly to make necessary changes to your call flows if needed.

Freshcaller BCP for a business call center
Freshcaller’s Service Level Monitoring

Call Barging and monitoring

To extend as much support as possible in ensuring your business’s continuity, every business should take advantage of a live dashboard that gives a detailed view of all live calls being handled by the phone teams at any given instance. If necessary, supervisors and admins can choose to barge into calls and help an agent provide a happy call experience to the customers.

Freshcaller BCP for a business call center
Frehcaller’s live call monitoring supervisor dashboard

Reports and analytics

Teams catering to different use cases, working out of different geographic regions, typically exhibit variations in their performances. And especially in times of emergency where a lot of factors are not stable, a regular whip up of reports on aspects like missed calls, voicemails, wait time, abandoned calls in addition to business-relevant metrics will help you spot call trends, volume trends thereby helping you ideate and launch remedial measures to keep your customer experience amazing and while it’s not too late.

Freshcaller BCP for a business call center
Freshcaller inbuilt reports and analytics

Call Recording

When you or your employees come across a unique scenario or customer concern that you solved, recording that conversation and sharing it with the rest of the team would be a huge productivity hack in times when you don’t have colleagues around to quickly consult with. Not just that Freshcaller has a wide range of call recording settings that can help your business call recording best practices.

Freshcaller BCP for a business call center
Freshcaller’s flexible call recording options

✔️ Automate repetitive tasks via a AI-powered self-help channel using a BCP

Often, it’s more important to choose what not to expend your workforce’s valuable time and effort on as compared to what they should spend their time on. The success of such strategies and contingency plans are mostly in what you leave behind. But that doesn’t mean you need to completely brush aside some basic functions of your business. You can use the power of AI and automation to handle the simple and repetitive tasks leaving all the complex ones for your human workforce to handle.

FAQ auto-answer bot

Certain questions that your phone team handles on a day-to-day basis would be very basic and repetitive. These questions mostly have a direct and straightforward answer. Using Freshcaller’s auto-answer bot and training it with an FAQ list will open up the option of self-service to your customers and cut down the load and save some valuable time for your agents.

Freshcaller BCP for a business call center
Freshcaller’s AI-powered auto answer voice bot

The time and effort saved because of this automation can be used by your agents to handle more complex, sensitive, and urgent questions and concerns that surely need a live agent interaction. You can extend this capability to set up FAQs on questions related to IT services, VPN, facilities, etc. that would help your own employees across the org.

Pre-saved voicemail drops

Outbound calls and sales calls made from your end to prospective customers – potentially ones that you are rooting to bring in more revenue and business continuity can be handled better using pre-recorded and saved voicemails. Sales reps often spend a lot of time recording the same message while leaving voicemails. With Freshcaller’s voicemail drop capability, this saved time can be better spent in having meaningful live conversations with customers instead.

✔️ Maintaining communication with external stakeholders and partners using a BCP

Not just the internal workforce, keep your external communication going steadily with the help of Freshcaller’s capabilities. What used to be periodic and regular visits from local and global vendors should still continue virtually. It’s important to keep in touch more often than before and maintain your business relationship with your vendors and business partners in times like these.

External number routing

To handle the surge in call volume, you can seek help by signing up some external agencies for support. And while outsourcing, you need not tamper with your existing Freshcaller setup. Since these external agencies are a temporary option and would be a part of your call center operations only until your emergency situation persists, you can add the outsourced resource’s phone numbers to your call flows via the external number routing capability within Freshcaller.

Freshcaller BCP for a business call center
Freshcaller external number routing for outsourcing

This will ensure that the external agency receives your incoming calls and supports your workload while at the same time requires very little customization and call routing changes from your end. This same capability can also be used for communicating with your vendors and business partners where a separate call flow associated with a specific phone number can be set up. And, this number can be shared with only your partners and vendors to contact your business.

Non-business hour and holiday routing

In worst-case scenarios where a specific geography or branch of your business is affected by a calamity or is in a state of emergency, you can direct all communication related to that geography to be handled by a different branch by declaring the upcoming days as holidays. Once you declare the holidays, you can use Freshcaller’s holiday routing capability to set up fall back options like routing the calls to another call queue of a functional branch or an IVR to set situation relevant context.

While these are some of the most basic yet smart aspects that you can keep in mind while designing your BCP, you can make changes and adapt this to stay relevant to your business wherever needed.
On that note, I hope all of you are safe and holding on strong through these testing times of the current pandemic.

The current scenario has shown us that we have only so much control over what’s to be expected from nature. And, the best we can do, is be prepared in every way possible and stay safe. Having said that, there are certain aspects of the business that we can steer right even in these testing times if we put in the right efforts and a solid BCP.

If you’re like us, you’ve probably planned for 2020 hoping to achieve some great business milestones. We hope our thoughts on a BCP strategy using Freshcaller would help you keep those plans alive and growing 🙂

Illustration credits Nikhil Kanda


About Freshcaller

Freshcaller is a modern-day reimagining of our everyday call center software for customer support, sales, IT, and HR teams. With Freshcaller’s cloud-based architecture, it brings together the best of legacy features like IVR and advanced capabilities like Smart Escalations, Custom Call Center Analytics to help you set up a state-of-the-art business call center. Freshcaller offers phone numbers in 90+ countries, requires zero phone hardware, and is extremely easy to use.

If you want to find out more about what we do, check out www.freshcaller.com.