5 Steps for Effective Business Continuity Planning
Business Continuity for Your Customer Experience
There are any number of ways in which your business can be disrupted. Fire, cyberattack, a natural disaster and most recently, coronavirus (COVID-19). But whatever is having implications for business continuity, business disruption often strikes unexpectedly leaving little time for planning. This is why it is crucial to have a Business Continuity Plan (BCP) ready to implement at a moment’s notice.
Business Continuity Planning (BCP), also referred to as resiliency planning, is the process of creating systems that will protect your business from potential threats. The primary goal of any BCP is to enable your business to continue operating during a major business disruption. Each incident is unique and as a result could unfold in unexpected ways. And, while we all hope the worst will never happen, planning for the unexpected is good business. Your BCP outlines the procedures you will follow – and are ready to follow – if disruption occurs. This plan covers your business processes, business assets, human resources and business partners amongst other areas.
Protect your business by protecting your people
Your people are your company’s most valuable and important asset. Their hard work, expertise and understanding is how you serve your customers and how you articulate and maintain your brand promise. So, when there’s a potential risk to well-being, you need to have a business continuity plan in place to protect these people, while also enabling your business to function effectively amid the disruption.
The initial foundation of your BCP should be a Business Impact Analysis (BIA). A BIA assesses, measures and articulates how an event – whether foreseeable or unforeseeable – would affect different aspects of your organization and their ability to operate at an acceptable level. As such a BIA is also the first step towards identifying which areas of the business need the greatest attention – as they’re at the greatest potential risk, and which functions could be protected or reinforced via intelligent use of Business Process Outsourcing (BPO).
5 Steps for Effective Business Continuity Planning
- Assess your business processes, determine which are most vulnerable. Consider the impact if they were unavailable for an hour, a day, a week or a month. This becomes your business impact analysis
- Identify the skill sets and number of people that would be required to maintain each business-critical functions
- Set out dependencies between functions
- Determine acceptable downtime, lower service level thresholds and alternate security controls for each critical function
- Identify how each critical function will be maintained
Business Process Outsourcing can be a key element in your business continuity plan. Partners who offer day-to-day support services may be able to take on greater responsibility in a disaster recovery situation for example, or you may choose to put relationships in place that are ready to take on critical functions should you be unable to continue them in-house. The more planning you do before disaster strikes, the faster you and your partners can respond when the unexpected happens.
Coronavirus implications for business continuity
Around the globe, coronavirus continues to affect businesses, economies and, of course, people. During these times of uncertainty, it’s imperative you and your business have a partner you can trust.
In recent weeks, many of our clients have experienced significant volume shifts across contact channels. We believe this is a direct result of consumers in different parts of the world adjusting their shopping habits and daily routines in line with the perceived risk of contracting COVID-19. In response, Sitel Group has identified crisis management teams, communicated with both employees and clients and implemented plans for virtual work in line with our ongoing plans to ensure our clients’ customers are not disrupted. As a leader in customer experience, we understand and prioritize the delivery of a best-in-class experience for your customers – which is especially important for your brand in times of heightened emotion.
While we hope for the best possible outcome and minimum personal and business disruption related to the coronavirus, we will always plan to be ready should the worst occur. Over prepared is always the best business solution for business continuity. With this approach in mind, we are in close contact with our clients to discuss business continuity planning and, where possible and appropriate, have offered to move a percentage of their contracted support to our Sitel at Home solution as a precautionary measure. Because it is powered by a virtual network of thousands of tenured agents ready to step in at a moment’s notice, Sitel at Home offers additional resiliency to our clients during this time. Sitel at Home is built with business continuity and resiliency in mind whether that is the ability to effectively manage seasonal spikes, manage a product recall, respond to a natural disaster or even prepare for the risk of infection.
As a global company with over 80,000 employees, we have already taken action to protect our people and maintain our client’s business processes. This is why as well as suspending all non-essential travel among employees, our group is also implementing education, training and increased hygiene measures across our 100+ sites around the globe.
To further support our clients we have launched a dedicated Business Continuity Planning portal where we will share resources that can help you to plan for the unexpected.