Contingency Planning

What is Contingency Planning and why is it Important?

Contingency planning is a course of action formulated for dealing with a situation that is unexpected. A contingency plan could be a response to a crisis, emergency or change of situation, a ‘Plan B’ if the original plan did not go as anticipated or even planning for holidays and sickness. Circumstances can change rapidly, and a swift response is essential to limit damage or losses to the business.

Where do I start?

Key points to remember when thinking about contingency plans are:

  • Staff can be reluctant to making a Plan B as they have an emotional investment in Plan A, especially if they initially developed it.
  • Plan B should be a properly though out process. If you are planning for it, there is the possibility using it. Therefore is must be feasible.
  • The probability of a crisis occurring can be small, and therefore contingency planning gets side-lined. It is challenging to allow time for contingency planning, but in the long run, it could save your organisation from potentially devastating consequences.

To overcome this, the importance of contingency plans and the reasoning behind having them should be communicated clearly to everyone in the business.

The first step to creating an effective contingency strategy is to carry out an extensive risk assessment. All aspects of the business should be analysed and every possible risk identified. The probable consequences and the likelihood of these events happening will determine whether it is necessary for a contingency plan to be put into place this is a critical stage of planning as you can not prepare for every eventuality. You should strike a balance between over-planning for unlikely events and adequate preparation should you need to respond quickly. Probability charts can be used to help make these decisions.

Once you have compiled a list of possible threats, you should devise a course of action. Firstly, you can introduce measures and controls as a preventative action. For contact centres, this could be employing more staff on zero hour contracts, so there is an extensive team pool should high absence rates occur. Another example would be scheduling regular equipment servicing to reduce system failure.

 Recovery strategies are the plans put in place to enable organisations to return to normal as quickly as possible following a disruption. Identify what triggers will spark the implementation of the contingency plan and what actions will need to be taken in each situation.

There should be a time scale detailing what is to be achieved in the first minutes, hours and days of the plan.

The plan should be written clearly and in simple language as you will not know who may have to read and action it. Additionally, all staff should have an understanding of the contingency plan and be capable of carrying out any tasks that may be required of them.

Once a plan has been finalised, it is essential to test it and continue to develop it as the business evolves. The plan should be an integral aspect of business strategy changes in the future. All staff should be trained in the contingency procedures and the environments that would trigger its application.

How CallScripter can help you

Contingency planning may sound like a cumbersome task, but CallScripter has some tips to make the process easy and efficient.

  • Multi-skilling – contingency plans often require staff to undertake tasks that lie outside their skill set. Training staff in different areas will provide a more productive workforce as well as empowering employees.
  • Training – CallScripter can help you to build bespoke training packages which you can carry out in-house, or we can develop a training program for you that we deliver to your staff.
  • Practice – we will provide scripts to allow your agents to practice, This will enhance their confidence and script delivery so that your new employees are brought up to standard in a shorter amount of time, decreasing staffing lows.
  • Professional services are always available should you need extra support during times of disruption.