I am writing this article in 2015, I just want to note the year as I begin another wait in a Call Centre queue and risk missing birthdays, anniversaries or my childrens’ graduations!

One would think that by now call centre managers have enough data and experience at their fingertips to anticipate and plan for peaks and troughs in the demand for their services? Surely by now the people who design call centre processes can come up with something better than a holding pattern akin to diverting all of Gatwick’s incoming flights to Jersey airport?

Imagine you own a shop. It’s beautifully presented and laid out so your potential customers can see what they want, they can come in, pick up what they need and buy from you. Excellent. But what if you only let in one customer at a time and make the others wait outside until an agent becomes available. Ridiculous I hear you say……but remember, all your agents are busy!

Imagine your house is on fire or you’ve arrived at the scene of an accident. All our agents are busy is not a response you want to hear when you call for help and neither is ‘press 1 for small fire, press 2 for large fire or find the secret code to talk to a real person’.

The trouble with all this is we have been conditioned to accept it as normal, to accept it as customer service. With just a few exceptions we know the start of every call is going to consist of listening to a load of recorded information whilst we circle endlessly over the English Channel.

Enough Walker! Stop ranting and get to your point.

When we have incidents or crisis event in our organisations we need to be able to communicate and respond quickly and effectively. There will be actions to be carried out, processes to be activated and teams to be mobilised. There can be no steps in the process that hinder communications getting to the right people to trigger the right actions.

This is why we need to develop communication plans with built in resilience and with potential single points of failure removed. In addition we need to train people involved in the processes to be alert to what is coming in so they can assess the situation and respond appropriately at the time.

We must use a variety of tools and services to ensure messages are delivered to all required parties promptly, wherever they are, whatever time of day it is and importantly in a format or style that identifies the subject matter and it’s significance. This takes planning, practice, training and controls.

Take a look at how incidents are reported and escalated in your organisation. Have you got any blockages that will delay or stop your process? How are you using technology to help you? What parallel communication methods are being used in case one fails? Does everyone know what they are doing?

Incident, Crisis and Business Continuity Management will not be effective in your organisation if you adopt a call centre approach.

If you need any help in developing your capabilities in this area just give me a call and as soon as an agent becomes available we can discuss your requirements.

June 21, 2015 at 8:44 pm
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Category: Crisis Management
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