If your call center disappears, will your clients disappear as well? Protection for your call center Today, whether it’s telesales, teleservice, telemarketing or telesupport, the telephone is increasingly at the heart of client interactions. Advanced call center technology has made it possible to provide additional and improved service to more clients and with less staff; this improved capability has also raised the bar when it comes to client expectations. If your business lives and dies by the telephone, your call center needs to be working, or your clients may disappear fast. How much downtime can your business afford?
Helping ensure clients can reach your company is why you need call center recovery from IBM. These comprehensive services fill the gap should there be a service interruption at your call center. This offering provides an advanced, robust Automatic Call Distribution system with unique features to bring your call center back online much faster than conventional, PBX– based Automatic Call Distribution systems.
Related services and options include Interim Call Handling, which automatically handles incoming calls while you put your recovery plan in motion. A mobile workspace is available with full Automatic Call Distribution functionality for those clients unable to reach one of IBM’s call center recovery facilities. Automatic Call Distribution advance agent feature allows you to pre–stage all or some of your production environment allowing ACD agents to begin seamlessly taking calls in the event of a disruption. And the Recovery Strategy Workshop addresses call center issues and presents a methodology for identifying recovery strategy requirements that work for you.
Unlike IBM’s call center recovery, conventional recovery for call center Automatic Call Distribution systems makes use of a standby PBX in a lights–out environment: each recovery site requires its own PBX. The PBX is fed by trunk or T1 lines attached to the Public Switched Telephone Network; incoming calls may be routed to agents using an Automatic Call Distribution system.
These conventional systems represent a single point of failure in the recovery strategy. If the recovery site PBX fails, it is no longer possible to perform recovery at that location. IBM’s approach is different.
Dispersed, mirrored servers help eliminate single points of failure
Rather than relying on a standalone, in–house PBX/Automatic Call Distribution system, IBM builds on a client/server model consisting of full–featured agent telephone sets and/or custom agent software running on the desktop. IBM operates and maintains the Automatic Call Distribution server at four locations: Dallas, Texas; Sterling Forest, New York; Boulder, Colorado; and Markham, Ontario. These locations in turn support all fourteen call center recovery sites as well as mobile and advance agent services. Each server mirrors the others, providing multiple redundancy and helping to eliminate the single point of failure. The entire system can be linked to create a distributed call center.
Each of the four IBM server locations houses a PhoneServer and Voice Services Module. The PhoneServer accepts incoming calls and automatically routes them to your agents regardless of their recovery location. Multiple end users or physical locations can be accommodated transparently–agents merely log onto the system, just as with any other client/server application, wherever they may be.
The Voice Services Module provides automated voice response for the system. It automates human interaction with automated attendant functions, collaborates with the PhoneServer to post messages in queue and features music and/or voice prompting for callers. It also collects identifying information from the caller (e.g. account number) and passes this information along to the agent. This provides very sophisticated, dynamic call handling.
Preplanned call routing gets your business back online quickly
Part of this service is the creation of preplanned call routing tables. This allows flexibility unique to the recovery industry. The routing tables can replicate the normal work environment or, with the help of our trained specialists, you may elect to build disaster–only routing patterns designed to optimise your available resources.
In addition, the immediate availability of call routes means that your call center can get back online quicker, since minimal time is needed to activate them in an outage. They are available the moment your agents arrive at the recovery location and log on.
The client/server design frees your call center from reliance on a fixed location. Should your call center experience an outage, your staff simply relocates to one of IBM’s fully equipped “hot site” recovery facilities, logs on to the system, and work continues while your call center is brought back online.
Interim call handling keeps your business in contact
If you can’t afford downtime, IBM offers an optional, interim call handling service that automatically reroutes incoming calls to one of our recovery facilities, where trained IBM professionals begin accepting them. Dialed Number Identification Service is used to identify each called number, so your clients get the greeting they expect. Interim call handling services remain in effect until your staff can relocate to one of IBM’s recovery locations or an alternate local site or until one of our mobile units arrives. Once your staff has moved, your calls are automatically re–routed to the new site. Your business stays in contact at all times.
Take your calls virtually anytime–anywhere
Perhaps you desire a more seamless solution that allows your own team to answer calls. If this is the case, we offer Automatic Call Distribution advance agent. This option provides continuous call center operation for your business’ critical functions. Specialised ACD software, which runs under most Windows environments, would be pre–loaded onto identified agents’ workstations. ACD Route Protect call routes are built and stored on our system, ready for activation.
Just as if your agents were in one of our IBM workplace recovery locations, or mobile locations, your clients would call our 800 number in the usual way. The call is then routed over the Public Switched Telephone Network to the appropriate IBM Phone server. The phone server analyses the information about the call presented by the network, consults its routing tables, and directs the call to the appropriate pre–staged agent(s) sitting in either their own home, or some other designated location. If no agent is available, the phone server directs the call to the voice services module where the usual queuing activity takes place until an appropriate agent is available to take the call. Calls are routed to agents using the latest in ACD call routing technology–no matter where they are physically located.
Automatic Call Distribution advance agent is focused on shortening the recovery window of your critical business process. This component is compatible with all other options to provide a comprehensive and viable continuity solution.
Mobile units allow flexible recovery options
IBM Business Continuity and Resiliency Services offers another capability unique in the industry: the ability to come to you with a fully equipped Automatic Call Distribution phone center housed in a mobile facility.
This service is ideal for businesses with special needs. If you want your staff to stay close to home in the event of an outage emergency, if one of our recovery sites is too far away or if you simply need more seating capacity to supplement one of our recovery sites, the mobile service is for you. The units include mobile computer centers and workspaces to cover a variety of needs.
Each of IBM’s air–conditioned mobile units supports call center agents with on–board power, workstations, servers, furniture and all telephone equipment needed to connect to the call center recovery system. Data communications are handled by pre–arranged ground, microwave or satellite links to the IBM network. The mobile unit is dispatched to your location and made operational within 48 hours of your call. Multiple individual units are available and may be linked together to provide additional seating capacity.
A key feature of IBM call center recovery is that it does not rely on trunks and T1 lines. Your clients can connect to standard telephone lines, which can typically be installed in a much shorter timeframe. The only physical requirements are one telephone line for each agent who will be working from the mobile facility and one ISDN line configured for data lines for each mobile recovery unit. To facilitate the speed of recovery, these lines can be installed at your location in advance.
Alternatively IBM provides satellite services instead of ground lines for both voice and data requirements in the mobile environment. The traditional inhibitors to using satellite which included: availability, bandwidth requirements, usage fees and transmission delays, have been resolved in this deployment.
Because of the unique way in which IBM call center recovery works, the mobile units are just like your own call center from a functional standpoint. As with the IBM recovery sites, once your agents are logged on to the system, your clients can’t tell the difference.
One–day workshop establishes a recovery strategy
Designed for call center owners and personnel, as well as those who support data/applications and telecommunications needs, IBM’s Recovery Strategy Workshop presents a methodology for identifying recovery strategy requirements for all elements of your business. Team members formulate a strategy based on the following:
This workshop is designed to help you build a solution that blends various options that best suit your call center environment.