Home // Blog

A Solid Disaster Recovery Plan for Tech Support

Disaster recovery and business continuity are often used interchangeably, but they shouldn’t be. Disaster recovery for a contact center providing technical support is about correcting disruptions to customer service as quickly as possible. Business continuity is about long-term planning to address a difficult challenge such as the departure of a key business leader.

Disaster recovery requires a plan of action. Your tech support vendor should be instrumental in coordinating the plan and working collaboratively with you to ensure that it is feasible, consistently tested and updated and ready to put into action upon signs of disruption to service.

At its core, disaster recovery is a process with specific and ordered steps that direct corrective action. Avoidance should be considered first, recovery second. The first thing to learn from your vendor is the roles and responsibilities assigned in case of a disruption event. You will need to know the chain of command on the vendor operations side, as well as to coordinate it with the appropriate resources within your company’s operations.

An operational plan will include the following operational phases:

  1. Definition: The disruption must be identified and the scope of interruption should be assessed. This usually occurs with notification from the vendor’s network operations center (NOC) responsible for monitoring the network. The NOC will notify the disaster recovery team leader and advise them about the nature of the event. The team leader should have a defined process in place that drives the decision for taking evasive action or activating the protocol for the disaster recovery plan based on the type, scope and severity of the event.
  2. Control: Once an event has occurred, it is necessary to take immediate steps to halt the spread or to limit the impact of the disruption. If the event has already occurred, actions should be immediately taken to restore affected areas of the contact center.
  3. Restoration: Sometimes it is necessary to delay recovery actions until the scope of the event can be contained. Recovery should not interfere with containment in order to prevent expansion of the impact from the event. Communication with your designated disaster resource should be made to gain approval to move forward with the recovery effort. Once given, the recovery plan should commence swiftly to restore tech support services.
  4. Salvage: After tech support operations have been restored, the recovery of any equipment, supplies and facilities displaced by the event will be underway. In addition to salvage, forensic evidence should also be collected to be used in support of potential insurance claims, legal or compliance issues.
  5. Assessment: After all is said and done, an evaluation must be performed to validate the disaster recovery plan or to refine it to improve response to future events. This assessment should be captured in a written document to preserve insights gained from the recovery operation

The flow of the disaster recovery plan is ordered and sequential. It provides an step-by-step plan of action to ensure calm in the midst of chaos and comprehensive knowledge about which actions have priority over others in regards to the risk exposure your company faces during an interruption to service.

For example, there are a number of scenarios that should be included in the disaster recovery plan to address different levels of disruption from short-term, temporary events to full-on disasters with the potential for long-term impact.

Primary Types of Disruption:

  • Phone service is interrupted. In this type of event, the capability to play a message to customers calling in that notifies them that service is unavailable may be acceptable for a short period of time. If the event continues past that time, re-routing calls to another site may need to occur. In the case of temporary re-routing, messages can be taken and simple issues may be able to be resolved.

Your vendor should also have escalation options that enable the re-routing of calls to an alternate vendor location equipped with data connectivity so that calls can be processed as received. The option of a designated third party site is another possibility to be considered depending on your assessment of the risks your brand and company may encounter if tech support is unavailable beyond a specific length of time.

  • Data System Connectivity Loss. If the loss of access to customer data is considered short term, calls can continue to be received with the attempt to process the calls as usual where possible, or to schedule call backs for resolution. If this is unacceptable, the option to establish redundant or alternate data connectivity can enable business as usual while the root cause is discovered and corrected in the background.

Assessing the types of disruption and options for continued service is important to consider based on the level of risk exposure for your company and brand. In the age of social media, the news of poor or unavailable service can spread quickly. Loss to reputation and customer satisfaction can be costly and more difficult to recover from than the event in some cases. Prioritizing actions and escalations should be part of your disaster recovery plan. Your tech support vendor should bring a variety of options for you to select from based on your requirements for customer engagement and remediating risk.