Building A Resilient Contact Center

A few minutes outage can leave the center playing catch up on service level (and perhaps, customer satisfaction) all day. If minutes turn into hours, or become too frequent, where will customers turn for assistance?”

Lori Bockland

In the era of “five nines” of reliability, contact center leaders didn’t worry too much about the resiliency of their technology: It was always up. But with all the changes and permutations of technology, reliability can’t be taken for granted. You need to intentionally seek, implement and manage solutions to achieve your goals.

Simple availability calculations (SEE TABLE 1) drive the point home. Traditional technology commitments of 99.999% availability yield about five minutes of downtime a year. If you don’t pay attention today, you might actually sign up for tens of minutes of downtime per month! Contact center and IT leaders, along with vendor partners, must play a role in ensuring that the proper level of redundancy and resiliency are in place to deliver the right customer experience and protect the brand the center represents.

Mission Criticality Demands Resiliency

Several factors have elevated the need for improved contact center resiliency. Delayed technology investments come home to roost when a formerly reliable machine starts to have bad days, or an unexpected peak impacts system performance. A center may have contracted for cloud services without considering reliability or how the vendor will stand behind its offering, and found out too late that the performance wasn’t what was expected. Complex architectures, whether premise or cloud, can introduce multiple vendors and single points of failure, leading to finger-pointing rather than rapid resolutions and root-cause analysis. And when customers can’t reach the center, they’ve got a rather large stage on which to vent their frustrations.

Centers are increasingly aware of the need to “fix” these issues but don’t always have the time, resources and funding to do so. If your center is mission critical and you aspire to be “best-in-class” (or remotely close to it), resiliency is an imperative, not an option.

TABLE 1: How Much Downtime Can You Afford?
Contact center technology traditionally delivered a rock-solid 99.999% (“five nines”) reliability. This table reflects some of the percentages we’ve seen for today’s solutions. Think about how much downtime your center can endure.


Availability % Hours/Year Minutes/Month
99.800% 17.52 87.6
99.900% 8.76 43.8
99.950% 4.38 21.9
99.980% 1.75 8.76
99.990% 0.88 4.38
99.999% 0.09 0.438
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