|ADT has a fully redundant IT infrastructure in place to ensure there is no single point of failure of its systems |
August 2011 shockingly witnessed the sudden onset of widespread riots across the UK which resulted in the destruction of retail outlets and property, and looting of goods. This level of anarchical behaviour heavily restricted resources able to be distributed by local emergency services to problematic areas, one of which was Manchester.
In the heart of Manchester city centre's shopping district sits ADT's state-of-the-art Customer Service Centre (CSC) housing 400 members of staff. On August 9th, local police forces suspected that Manchester was to become a key target for large groups of rioters and this was reinforced by communications on networking sites. Coupling this with the severe acts of criminality witnessed the previous evening in London, the country was prepared for serious disruptions in other major cities. This unfortunately came to fruition around mid-afternoon in Manchester. Rioters immediately targeted the city's larger structures and popular retailers, with the building housing ADT's CSC being subjected to opportunistic vandalism on the lower floors.
These events fuelled ADT's decision to deploy its recovery actions which had been rigorously designed as a continuity blueprint to ensure customers still received 24/7 service and support from the primary city centre location in the event of a disaster. This required senior staff members to execute an extensive operational change by moving all business processes to ADT's Alarm Receiving Centre (ARC) located in Salford outside of Manchester city centre.
Invoking Business Continuity Planning measures to ensure customers still had access to 24/7 support
ADT has a fully redundant IT infrastructure in place to ensure there is no single point of failure of our systems. This allows our critical systems to remain online and connected while threats of network downtime subside. This is achieved by seamlessly switching the location of our system functionality to the ARC in Salford. By successfully pre-empting disruption to the business, ADT was able to implement a full recovery plan. Predefined actions were carried out to ensure a seamless transition to the ARC with ADT prioritising the safety of its employees throughout the evacuation at the primary site in Manchester. Customer-facing staff were safely driven from their base in the city centre and transferred to Salford. Working in tandem with this transfer was the successful re-routing of call centre functions to the ARC, with employees being instructed to purely focus on monitoring received alarm signals on arrival.
Non-customer facing staff were sent home at 15:30, providing them with the opportunity to leave the city centre while public transport remained in operation. ADT's home-working capabilities were also activated, allowing staff to receive calls and provide assistance while working remotely, avoiding the need to travel through areas experiencing disturbances.
The vast majority of alarms were handled within 60 seconds, with 96% of fire, 89% of personal attack and 91% of intruder alarms being handled within 30 seconds
In terms of monitoring procedure, ADT routed the majority of break-fix (repair) calls through its RESOLVE team who provide remote diagnostics and resolution. They worked with customers, regardless of contract type, aiming to fix issues over the phone without the need to send engineers to a customer's premises once disruptions had begun. ADT's long-standing relationships with emergency services across the UK ensured firm lines of communication remained in play between ADT staff members and local forces, which guaranteed the delivery of up-to-date tailored advice to customers experiencing problems near rioting hot spots.
Working as a team to help protect customers during a time of criminal uncertainty
As a result of the smooth implementation of a clear business continuity plan, ADT continued to deliver excellent service to its customers by maintaining firm alarm handling and answering call volumes at a significant rate - 10% up on forecast. Staff remained driven to ensure customers received the best service despite the clear upheaval and uncertainty in Manchester city centre.
The previous training and 'dry-runs' of the business continuity plans proved successful as staff responded quickly and worked together to minimise disruption to guarantee operations continued at a highly productive rate once in the ARC. Impressively, under the demanding circumstances, the vast majority of alarms were handled within 60 seconds, with 96% of fire, 89% of personal attack and 91% of intruder alarms being handled within 30 seconds.
"You can have as much state-of-the-art technology in place, but without the right people and team support, you cannot implement the relevant plans necessary to delivering the highest standard of service to thousands of customers," explains Dominic White, Head of the Customer Service Centre in Manchester. "I am extremely proud of how our staff worked together and continued to stick to our customer-focused business goal in the face of adversity. The success of this operation comes down to the clear diligence shown by our employees who were driven to help protect struggling customers during a troubled night of criminality."
Despite the unrest and the need to relocate operations, customer service was not impacted and monitoring and response to customer alarms continued without interruption.