Disaster Planning

Many small to medium sized UK businesses have a disaster recovery plan in place for their IT services.  But have you considered the potential impact on business if your voice services were to be disrupted.

If unforeseen events take your telephony out of action, the damage to your business can be significant.

What might disrupt your communications?

Staff can’t get to the office

Staff absences can occur due to ill health, pandemics, transport issues, extreme weather. Make sure you understand how to re-route calls so employees can handle them at home. Desktop and mobile softphone applications are invaluable when your team needs to access the office phone system remotely.

The office is closed

What happens when your office is closed? Sales lines in particular need to be answered if the office is inaccessible or during holiday periods.  Think about recording an IVR message so that clients know the office is closed when they a call in, or directing them to a voicemail.

Your phone lines are dead

Whether there has been a power cut, or there is a connectivity issue – you need a plan in place for if your phones don’t work. How quickly can you re-route calls to other offices and mobiles?  A cloud based phone system allows you to connect the phones from anywhere – so your staff can plug in a phone at home or access the service via a softphone app and keep working.

What can you do?

Get an overview of how your employees communicate both externally and internally. Look at each department or office and consider the following:

Phone numbers and inbound call routing: What are your main company numbers and where do each of these ring through to? Do you have an IVR that sends callers directly into a ring group all a call queue? Think about how a call flows through your business up until the point when it ends.

Who handles your calls? Make sure the team members who will need to receive calls are well trained on how your voice services will change in the event of a disaster. Ensure that they have the correct online log-ins and passwords and that they have the contact details of your telephony, IT and connectivity suppliers.

Consider a video conferencing solution. Informal and formal collaboration are crucial to the flow of business information. Video conferencing helps maintain regular engagement between teams and customers even if circumstances mean they are geographically dispersed.

Tip: If you chose a cloud based solution this will allow you to make real time changes to your call flows remotely. If disaster strikes you remain in control even if you can’t get to the office.

Having a Disaster Recovery plan for voice services in place ensures that you can keep your business running and stay responsive even if you can’t open your office. Choose a telecoms provider who allows you to make these changes yourself via an online portal so that you can get calls flowing within minutes.