How does your call center manage disaster? We’re talking extreme weather, a fire, a power outage—not necessarily the zombie apocalypse—but if that does happen, you’ll be covered for that too. You should know or at least have some idea how your business will continue to run when things get weird.

First of all, as we say about many things in your business, you need a plan. Each potential disaster will have slightly different protocol. After you have a basic emergency contingency plan for your office (where you will meet if you must evacuate the office, who everyone’s emergency contact is, etc.), sit down and take the time to identify the most common events that could occur. Out here in the Midwest, for example, it’s not really a question that we’re going to be concerned about winter conditions that could impact not only our office and staff, but our customers.

Start by focusing on one disaster—I’d recommend something that could be right around the corner, or something that could happen in the season you are already in. Though it may not be the most uplifting workweek conversation, carve out some time to identify the potential problems that could occur in this type of event. This could be:

  • All nonemergency calls needing to be rescheduled
  • Technicians getting little sleep until it’s over
  • Being booked out weeks in advance
  • Technicians running in the middle of the night with little or no office support

Now that you’ve identified problems, how will you resolve them?

  • Come up with an emergency reschedule script to take weather and workload into consideration
  • Look at the schedule, and think about making the first call start times flexible to ensure that technicians will get rest
  • Reschedule nonemergency calls well past the projected weather pattern (remember, if you go through the pain of rescheduling once, it will be easier to move someone up rather than push them back again)
  • If the technicians are out running due to extreme situations, then the office should be in providing support: At the very least, one manager and one support team member should be in the office at all times during the event

With this plan in hand, send it around to the office. Your staff may see things that you never even thought of. Then, finalize it and publish it! Make sure everyone already in the office and everyone you may onboard in the future are on the same page.