It’s the question that strikes fear in the minds of contact centre managers, and a very real problem for all those working in places with a high volume of critical calls.
The instinctive response to a contact centre outage, can be one of complete panic, which is totally understandable, particularly if there’s little or no confidence that there is a sufficient contingency plan in place should things go wrong. To have a strong team ready whenever they’re needed can go a long way to eliminating the constant fear of the unknown.
Loss of service
The loss of service would be the first and most obvious consequence, for which the knock-on effects could be costly.
Not only could the business be missing out on potential new customers, but a contact-centre outage could also risk frustrating existing customers.
Imagine having scheduled a call-back with a contact centre, you’ve taken time off work or out of the office, but the call never comes. Similarly, for customers already involved in your customer experience journey, and in an exchange with the contact centre regarding an ongoing issue, a contact centre outage could be the final straw.
In this golden age of connectivity, customers unable to reach the desired business service or department, can, and do, vent their frustrations across social media, to thousands of people.
Similarly, other customers might head straight for review platforms like Trust Pilot, Yelp or Which Trusted Trader to voice their opinion. Websites like this have a great deal of clout these days and have influencing power to mould public opinion. Also popular with consumers, Google reviews, both positive and negative, can be seen clearly in google searches for a specific business.
If a business’s image is one centred around reliability, familiarity, connectivity and trust, a contact centre outage is going to frustrate customers no end. All that beautifully written marketing, TV and Radio advertising taglines and the glowing reviews that gave them hope and trust that they’d found the perfect business to meet their needs, will fill their head as their frustration mounts to the point of complete disenfranchisement.
Halts productivity of staff
Imagine looking across the contact centre at a room full of agents unable to work, as you mentally add up their hourly rates and the hourly running costs of the centre.
What about calls being made at the point where the contact centre goes down? Was the call completed? Did the customer on the phone have their issue resolved? Did the agent have the chance to log the outcome?
An outage can disrupt agent targets, reduce productivity and on-the-whole, affect efficiency. Depending on the type of business and contact centre, these missed targets could equate to financial losses for agents, as well as the business’s bottom line.
Vulnerability, ill health and more
For some organisations and particular contact centre functions, the consequences of a contact centre outage could be thoroughly devastating.
Some departments within local authorities are considered a frontline service, where their contact centre number is a 999 call for some residents. For such an individual, down-time could mean they’re not connected to the people that they rely on most.
For the many businesses and organisations where contact centres are relied upon by vulnerable service users, and governance is provided by national boards or organisations, the results of a contact centre outage could not only be catastrophic for the individual, but also the organisation themselves who may make national news or see themselves at the centre of an investigation.
What can you do?
A specialist in contact centre services, we at BrightCloud work with contact centres of all sizes and in all manner of organisations, with our experts having seen first-hand the issues that can arise from a contact centre outage.
In the first instance, there is the importance of reliable, trustworthy, ground-breaking and seamlessly integrated contact centre technology. It’s important to get the basics right in order to give an organisation the confidence that they have the right set up for them.
In many organisations, contact centre support is a secondary consideration, after other projects. In our experience support is an insurance policy with equal importance to all other aspects of the contact centre management.
We view it as our responsibility to advise that in all circumstances, our contact centre clients have access to 24-hour support and a specialist contact centre engineer as and when they’re needed.
At the very least we would advise a full audit of the entire contact centre platform. An overview of the current architecture and infrastructure, obtained by specialist consultants goes a long way to being able to foresee any issues as technologies require upgrading or where versions of different systems may conflict.