Did you know that more than 50% of companies that do not have a business continuity plan and are hit by a disaster go out of business within 12 months? Your company could be struck by a disaster outside of its control at anytime. Whether it’s bad weather, a power cut or your staff falling ill, you must be able to continue the day-to-day running of the business. After all, your customers will still expect to be able to get in touch with you – that’s why implementing business continuity planning is essential.

These four realistic scenarios could affect your business and will help with your own business continuity planning exercises. From setting an emergency recording for incoming calls to rerouting calls when your staff are unavailable, it’s important that you implement some form of disaster recovery. Local outages are an occasional yet damaging fact of business life. However, with careful business continuity planning you can avoid a local problem escalating into an organisation-wide disaster.

Scenario 1: The Doctor’s Surgery Gets Sick

There’s a nasty bug going round. All your admin staff have caught it. Only Muriel the receptionist has struggled in to work. And now there’s no one to answer the phones but her. To avoid a surgery meltdown, your business continuity plan must:

  • Implement an emergency recording for incoming calls advising there may be a delay.
  • Provide a sufficient voicemail service for patients to leave messages.
  • Implement call routing to direct incoming calls to the relevant department.
  • Utilise call forwarding to direct calls to other offices or mobiles.

Scenario 2: School’s Out

It’s mid-January and the school boiler has burst a pipe. Parents need to know if school is going to open. The switchboard is jammed at 8am as callers try to find out more. Good business continuity planning would include:

  • A pre-recorded message for all callers as soon as they connect.
  • Voicemail facilities to request a return call once the backlog is cleared.
  • A self-service switchboard for routing calls unrelated to the weather.

Scenario 3: The Strike

A general strike has decimated your workforce. There aren’t enough people to man the phones. Your customers still expect a normal service regardless. When carrying out business continuity planning you should consider:

  • Pre-recorded warning messages to alert callers of potential delays and problems.
  • Activating a voicemail function to allow non-urgent callers to leave a message.
  • Self-service switchboard (IVR) to allow callers to route themselves to the right department.
  • Routing to allow internal redirection of calls to other sites when the head office switchboard is overloaded.

Scenario 4: Winter Storms

Floods have stopped many staff getting to work. Telephone lines are down at some offices. Your commitments to customers can’t stop. With extreme weather seemingly causing more problems than ever, business continuity planning should consider:

  • Using a hosted switchboard to remove the risk of local disasters causing chaos.
  • External call routing to divert incoming calls to staff working from home.
  • System status messages to acknowledge internal calls and to warn of potential delays.

Comprehensive Business Continuity Planning

For ultimate disaster recovery potential, your business should consider:

  • A hosted switchboard solution for any place, any time offering resilient call routing.
  • An IVR so callers can direct themselves to the right person or department.
  • Voicemail provisions to cover peak demands.
  • Mobile/home office-capable redirection for emergencies.