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The Steep Costs of Contact Center Outages

Many disasters and disruptions can impact a contact center: hurricanes, floods, fires, hackers, hardware failures — even “inside jobs” by malicious employees.

If you’re a VP of Customer Service or Chief Information Officer, the prospect of widespread contact center outages likely keeps you up at night. And it should.

Most contact centers, and especially those running premise-based systems, are not prepared to ensure continuity during an emergency, and the costs associated with contact center outages are steep and tend to multiply quickly.

They can be broken down into three categories:

1. Intangible

Before getting into the costs that are easy to quantify, let’s take a look at the intangible costs of contact center outages— those that are not easily converted into dollar form but are very real and can have a huge impact on the health of your business.

People and entire departments that are constantly putting out fires suffer from a lack of focus that leads to significant productivity loss. According to a study conducted at UC Irvine, it takes roughly 23 minutes to refocus after even a minor interruption.

The Washington Post reported that interruptions consume an average of 238 minutes per day. That’s not including the other 84 minutes it takes to refocus, or the 50 minutes lost to fatigue and stress. That’s 6 hours a day and 31 hours a week.

If you’re a manager or director of a contact center, you’ve seen the productivity loss and high turnover rate as your agents get slammed with increased call demand and become overwhelmed.

If you’re a VP of IT, you’re well acquainted with the fact that only 31 percent of the IT budget is allocated for new projects — and that only 14 percent of that 31 percent (so about 4 percent) goes to sell-side investments that can generate new business. 69 percent of the budget goes to MOOSE — Maintaining and Operating the Organization, Systems and Equipment.

2. Financial

Property damage caused by flooding or fire can be covered by insurance. Your loss can be made whole. Not so with the financial losses caused by damage to your brand, poor customer experience, and lost sales.

Customer experience is crucial in maintaining your market share and growing your business.

Bad customer experiences are directly tied to revenue losses. A multichannel bank, for example, leaves $124 million on the table for every 1-point decline in its CX Index score.

Repeatedly spending money on vendors to patch your outdated infrastructure also results in considerable financial drain, and the increasingly complex work-arounds don’t solve the underlying issues.

3. Operational

The operational costs of contact center outages quickly multiply if the disaster recovery solution is not cloud based.

FEMA estimates that basic services should be restored to an area affected by a serious disaster within 3 days. If your hardware isn’t redundant, downtime could be even longer as you try and install new software and servers.

If the disaster renders your premise-based contact center unusable for weeks or months, you’ll have to try and move your agents, along with your hardware, to a new site. Even once such a move is made, call volume is likely to increase past a capacity you’re able to handle, making a bad situation worse as customer experience — the key brand differentiator — suffers.

What’s worse, if the disaster has taken out your contact center, other areas of your operations are likely affected as well, removing supports to other parts of the business and making it harder to mount an effective response.

Are You Vulnerable to Widespread Contact Center Outages?

Your company is likely at risk of a contact center outage if:

● Your contact center is premise-based and manned by a fixed number of agents

● Your disaster recovery program runs on a legacy system that’s incapable of scaling quickly to add additional agents when call volume surges and/or agents cannot login

● You have failover in place, but it’s less than optimal, and activation would result in sub-optimal customer experience at best, and at worst a complete system failure.

Contact Aria Solutions today to learn more about our new cloud disaster recovery solution.

 

About Noel Roberts

Noel Roberts serves as Aria Solutions’ Chief Technology Officer and VP of Marketing. He co-founded Aria with Robert Church in 1997. Prior to Aria, Noel founded Synapse, a software development company where he provided senior software development expertise in telecom peripheral equipment and computer telephony systems. At Aria, a big part of his role involves helping enterprise-size contact centers with full assessments, business, IT and CX strategy, roadmap development, and technology and vendor evaluation and selection. In his leisure time, Noel likes traveling and going to the rustic lake cabin with his family, reading about science and tech, and playing with new tech gadgets.

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