As organizations make the transformation digital and automated platforms, they need a robust business continuity plan. This will ensure normal services are restored even in the face of an unforeseen disruption, such as the current pandemic. In this article, we are going to address two key components of business continuity: Customer Continuity and Employee Continuity.
Fostering Customer Continuity Through Automated Self-Service
Many organizations struggle with ensuring a seamless customer continuity as they transition into an automated platform. Research has shown that customers are do not welcome the idea of having to repeat their issues to a human agent (live service) after having described the exact same thing via the self-service automation.
Automated self-service, whether through SMS, social media platforms, mobile apps, or voice channels, is regarded as a personal, simple, economical, and convenient way to resolve customer queries. For the most part, customers are able to get useful answers in a conversational dialogue with the automated platform. However, if the query requires assistance from a human agent, they should pick up from where the automated machine left.
Data continuity in this regard must equip the human agent with information such as:
- The last time the customer interacted with the automated self-service.
- The topic of the interaction
- The customer’s last steps during said interaction
This information will provide the human agent with more context of the issue.
Example of a Seamless Customer Continuity from Automated Self-Service to Live Service (Human-Agent)
Customer: Hi. I am relocating, and I need help finding a house to rent in Newport Beach, California.
Automated Self-Service: Hello, thanks for your inquiry. What kind of house are you looking for? We have single-family homes, apartments, condominiums, cabins, and townhomes.
Customer: I’m in the market for a modern apartment. Two- or three-bedroomed with an easy commute to Santa Ana.
Automated Self-Service: Do you have any preferred facilities you’d like in your apartment?
Customer: Yes. I’d like access to the swimming pool and gym.
Automated Self-Service: Okay, we currently have vacancies at Park Newport, Newport Bluffs Apartments, Villas Fashion Island, and Eight 80 Newport Beach. We also have options in Santa Ana, if you’re interested.
Customer: No, I’m only interested in Newport Beach. What are the crime rates in the area?
Automated Self-Service: Please hang on, let me get an agent to help. You will be contacted in about three minutes.
Human-Agent: Hello. This is Trevor from Schmidt’s Realty. Let me help you with your inquiry. Newport Beach currently enjoys very low crime rates, with less than 1 per one thousand inhabitants experiencing violent crimes. There haven’t been any major property crimes or motor vehicle theft in the last decade. Only one arson incidence has been recorded in the last two decades.
Customer: Thanks a lot. I’d like to schedule an appointment with a realtor next weekend, if possible.
Include Your Employees In Your Business Continuity Program
As much as a lot of focus is allotted to customer continuity, organizations must also put in place measures that ensure employee continuity in the event of any form of disruption to the business. Employees are arguably a company’s most critical resource and most certainly an integral part of the business. The following are some employee considerations all business owners and executives need to take into account.
Skill Identification and Cross-Training Skills Implementation
Decision-makers in an organization should always look for opportunities for cross-training to equip different employees with multiple skills. In case something happens and one or more employees can no longer perform certain tasks, other team members can step up and conduct business as usual.
Support Services for Employees’ Personal Lives
If your employee is dealing with severe disruption in their personal lives, it is bound to affect your organization’s business as well. A proper employee continuity plan must inform employees of the resources the organization can provide to relieve unexpected strains to employees’ personal lives.