Companies typically have a business continuity plan to prepare for an emergency that may prevent employees from coming to the office and using the usual on-site systems and devices. Outages are a costly emergency. According to a study by BigPanda, organizations on the smaller end, with 1,000 to 2,500 employees, can expect to lose $1,850 per minute due to a system outage. In addition to ensuring your client or company’s IT systems are ready for an outage or emergency, preparing a business continuity plan for the company’s phone systems is critical.
This blog will explore business continuity and how phone systems can impact them. We will explain why voice communication is critical for any organization and how you can ensure the business continuity of your client or company’s phone system with a resilient cloud-based voice service partner.
What Is Business Continuity?
Business continuity is a company’s preparedness to respond to an emergency and maintain operations with minimal interruption. Organizations also incorporate disaster recovery into their continuity plans to prepare for system failures, such as data losses, breaches, and infrastructure failures. The 2020 COVID-19 pandemic was a major trial of many companies’ preparedness to continue operations during worldwide lockdowns and uncertainty. Organizations deployed virtual office arrangements to continue essential business activities remotely.
While the pandemic is mostly behind us, threats to business continuity will continue from natural means and digital threats. Ensuring your company or client is prepared with reliable data and communications is vital.
Some of the emergencies business continuity can address include:
- Network outages and cyberattacks
- Power outages
- Serious illness and pandemics
- Natural disasters
- Terrorist threats
Business continuity is a plan to navigate the above emergencies and mitigate damage to the company by continuing business operations at the highest possible capacity.
How Do Phone Systems Impact Business Continuity?
Whether it’s inter-office communication or talking with prospective customers, your company or client’s phone system can be a major point of failure in a business continuity plan. Traditional voice systems require in-house infrastructure to make and receive calls. It can lead to business interruptions in an emergency where employees cannot enter the physical office location, or the in-house systems run at a limited capacity, such as during a power outage.
Why Is Reliable Phone Communication Critical to Businesses?
You can prepare your client or company with a phone system that offers improved business continuity. While there are many ways to communicate with customers and employees, voice is still vital to modern businesses. A survey conducted by BrightLocal found that 6 in 10 consumers prefer to contact a small business by phone over other choices like email and social media. Calls are also critical for quickly contacting the right party for internal business operations when email, text, social media, or chat are too impersonal and lack a fast response.
If your company or client’s phone system is unprepared for an emergency with a business continuity plan, it could lose business growth, profits, customers, and opportunity.
How to Ensure Your Phone System Has a Business Continuity Plan
Voice service is essential to internal communication and maintaining customer relationships. You can protect your client or company’s voice service from disaster with a resilient, cloud-based phone system. Look for the following characteristics to find a voice service that is ready for any emergency.
Call Routing and Forwarding
When your client or company’s office needs to close due to an emergency, it is critical to have a way to route the calls to the right party using a different phone system. Call routing allows the organization to assign key parties to answer calls from a specific line or based on a prompt given to an interactive voice response (IVR) system. For instance, when a caller dials an IT helpdesk number after business hours, call routing can redirect the call to a 24/7 emergency helpline to ensure callers receive service.
Call forwarding allows the company or an employee to forward inbound calls to their business number to another phone. The caller is seamlessly forwarded to another employee’s phone or a mobile device if the employee is out of the office.
Call routing and forwarding can ensure that calls to a business phone number are received by an employee in another branch or an employee working from a virtual office using another phone or mobile device. Your client or company will minimize interruptions to business by strategically implementing these features.
Your client or company’s resilient phone system should have the ability to scale up and down. During an emergency, certain businesses experience an increase in call volume. For instance, during a pandemic, you might expect online learning or medical supply manufacturers to experience an increase in call volumes while restaurants and hospitality businesses scale down dramatically.
The business phone system you implement for a company or client should allow for flexibility without resulting in additional fees or unused devices and infrastructure. A cloud-based voice service allows you to add users and phone numbers and dynamically increase or decrease the number of inbound and outbound connections.
Flexibility and Mobility
When employees cannot come to your company or client’s office, the business phone system should be flexible to allow business operations to continue remotely. Traditional phone and PBX systems limit voice service to the office location where the infrastructure and devices are installed. Cloud-based voice and SIP solutions allow business continuity outside of the office. Employees can continue to use the voice service from a designated IP phone, mobile device, or software phone using online Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) or SIP trunking.
In the past, when a phone network failed, the only remedy to restore voice service would be to port the phone numbers to another carrier, and the porting process could take days. Fortunately, it is no longer necessary with the redundancy of a physical failover network to ensure your client or company can always send and receive calls. When a business uses a cloud-based phone system with direct inward dialing (DID) and physical failover, inbound calls will dynamically be routed to a working network if the primary network is down.
A redundant phone system is critical to your client or company’s business continuity. It will allow calls to get through in the event of a malicious attack or power failure within the phone network.
Choosing a Partner for Your Phone System’s Business Continuity
Now that you have a clear vision for your phone system’s business continuity plan, you can find an ideal partner to implement the service. Look for a voice service provider that is easy to implement, offers reliability-enhancing features, and flexible pricing options for your client or company.
A cloud-based phone system offers inherent business continuity. It can be easily implemented into your client or company’s current systems and software using an application program interface (API) with no costly infrastructure or devices to install on-site. An API can provide access to the business phone system in only a few lines of code, allowing the organization to use the voice service in minutes. An ideal partner will allow you or your company to make changes from a simple web portal and offer quickstarts, software development kits (SDKs), and articles to easily implement the API in your preferred programming language.
The phone system you implement for your client or company should offer business continuity-enhancing features like call forwarding, call routing, and physical failover to ensure call delivery. Some of the best voice service providers offer 24/7 uptime and reliability greater than 99.99% with rate centers worldwide.
A cloud-based VoIP or SIP service will automatically help your company overcome certain challenges by allowing users to access the phone system from anywhere with an internet connection. Also, features like call forwarding make it easier to continue business operations without interruption under various circumstances.
Find a business phone system provider with a flexible metered pricing plan. With a per-minute or metered pricing plan, your company or client will only pay for the voice service it uses in a specific billing period. While some companies offer a flat rate plan, often, you will be paying for voice service you don’t use, or you will not be able to take full advantage of the scalability of a cloud-based phone system. A metered plan allows you to test the service without committing to a large investment.
Prepare Your Phone System’s Business Continuity Plan With a Reliable Voice Partner
When you partner with Flowroute for your phone system’s business continuity, your company’s voice service is protected by the failover routing of our exclusive HyperNetwork™. Our cloud-based voice service offers flexibility, scalability, resiliency, and reliability with features like call forwarding and routing. We provide 99.999% uptime and guaranteed delivery of voice traffic with physical failover for inbound DID voice traffic. Get started with reliable voice service from Flowroute.