Blog authored by Ian Moyse.
This past week in the UK we have seen the usual grinding to a halt of the nation as Snow has hit, with many foreign nations looking at how little it takes to bring the UK to a grinding halt, as amusing at its slightest.
For business though, such a simple uncontrollable and unexpected event can be eventful, painful and even catastrophic depending on your business type and how you have planned for such occurrences. Snow has a wide sweeping effect, but also consider unfortunately in today’s times, terror attacks and the more localised effect on businesses also not able to get to work.
Whenever we experience the snow we see headlines, news reporters and discussions ensuing over the cost to business. Should we not already be mitigating against this and should a simple weather impact be able to affect work so easily in today’s world?
The costs and impact can be as simple as Petrol Stations sales (down 10% last time this happened), building projects stopped and cafes, restaurants, taxi drivers and train operators receiving less throughput. Likewise, there are those whose business requests go up; calls to Gas engineers for failed boilers, to the AA and RAC for car issues and calls to takeaway restaurants for deliveries goes up.
Be it you cannot get to work through being snowed in yourself, the office itself being shut or through having to stay home to look after the kids as their school is shut, the outcome is the same, you are NOT at your desk and for many roles, therefore not able to perform your duties.
For a customer service, call centre, support or sales environment this can have a severe impact on your clients and your own productivity. For businesses the effect is costly, as if you have not empowered your workers to ‘be able’ to work, you cannot put the impact onto your employees, the law prevents this!
Now assuming that as you are impacted, thinking that your clients are as well can lead you into a false sense of security. Not all regions may be affected, your customers may still choose or need to call. If they, themselves, now have downtime due to the weather, they may choose to make that call they have been putting off, or sorting an issue or order out. Therefore, it can be argued that you may incur spikes of need at a time when your team is weakened to respond.
In today’s world the technology to empower true business continuity, fast and affordably is in reach of us all. Mobile phones, laptops and tablet devices all enable workers to be mobile and have that virtual office and are within financial reach of even the smallest company (in fact you will likely find your employees already have their own tech, often better than you provide to them!).
The missing component today is often the fundamental of your own business phone system. How easy and quickly, when caught short by such as the weather, can you as an employer switch users to fully remote working? Have their desk phone calls routed to their mobiles, a soft-phone or web-phone and all routing, call queues, wallboards and reporting of calls working as normal.
You should be able to remotely switch-on a DR policy that makes this happen. Wouldn’t it also make sense to have users able to make outbound calls that come as if working at their desk?
Imagine the snow hits; you make a decision that all or some employees need to work but be remote today; you want all working as normal despite their physical location. Wouldn’t it be ideal if all the user had to do was to login to your CRM or Service Desk system on any PC (even their own) and be immediately on their desk phone right there from the browser session.
Today this is easy, simple for the user and something you can deploy quickly to even the largest of teams. You may be reading this when all the snow has thawed and you have moved on in thought to day to day business, seeing the issue as past and not planning to take any further action. UNTIL it happens again and you wished you had!
Weather patterns are getting worse, terror attacks unfortunately are growing and we can expect increased disruptions over the coming years.
Don’t let your customers and staff be left out in the Snow. In today’s cloud technology world there is no need. The solution to this is practical, affordable and here today. Don’t be giving excuses or apologies, be the one giving service!