If you have a call or contact center you need a failover plan. Outages happen to all organizations from time to time. Most outages are for short or very short durations. Some clients are not even aware that they have experienced an outage. Traditional carriers and equipment manufactures claimed five, nines reliability. That is to say 99.999% uptime, which on an annual basis equated to 5.27 minutes of downtime. Today’s VoIP and IP telephony systems speak of 99.9% uptime which is 8.76 hours of downtime per year.
It is essential to have a telephony failover plan to protect your contact center and deliver service to customers even when your carriers or technology suppliers have let you down.
The most common failover method redirects calls to a POTS (Plain Old Telephone System) Lines (toll or toll free) that is installed be a separate carrier or outside of the call center telephony infrastructure.
This approach involves installing traditional local lines in your call center. In the event of a carrier or telephony vendor outage you redirect the calls to these POTS lines either manually, be calling the carrier/vendor, providing direction or instruction on the carrier/partner portal or through an automated solution employing defined business rules (i.e. after 15 minutes of an outage the calls will automatically be forwarded to NPA-NNX-XXXX).
The POTS line can terminate on the local PBX or through the call center switch. If the PBX is employed remember that you will lose the additional features associated with your contact center switch. Many organizations employ the PBX and ‘hunt groups’ which are not ideal, but generally acceptable in outage situations. If you terminate within a call center switch you will likely incur a meaningful level of expense throughout the year to maintain the added capabilities a call center switch can deliver over the capabilities of the PBX. Remember that the failover solution is only employed in 0.1% of the time that the primary telephony solution is not operating.
Failover plans should be tested quarterly and reviewed annually.
For more information on developing a Failover plan or a Business Continuity or Disaster Recovery plan or strategy, please contact Taylor Reach
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