COVID-19 Response: Our Business Continuity & Contingency Plan

In light of the current COVID-19 scare, we would like to update you on the measures we are taking to ensure service continuity. These are the contingency plans we are putting in place in the event of any emergency that may cause mass temporary office closings. Please read carefully and reach out to us as soon as possible regarding your business preferences.

  • We have recently transferred our entire IT and Telecom infrastructure to a Cloud-based platform with 24-hour IT support, multi-channel redundancy, and off-site data backup.  This move assures a very high level of security and technical dependability.       
  • Migrating to the Cloud has also given us much more operational flexibility; our team is equipped, trained, and prepared to answer calls remotely if the circumstance requires.
  • The lesson we learned from Hurricane Harvey is that WHEN ALL OF OUR CUSTOMERS CLOSE THEIR OFFICES SIMULTANEOUSLY AND SEND THEIR CALLS TO US DURING NORMAL BUSINESS HOURS, THE SHEER AMOUNT OF CALL VOLUME CAN EASILY OVERWHELM THE SERVICE, CREATING BOTTLENECKS LEADING TO UNACCEPTABLE DELAYS OF ESSENTIAL SERVICES.
  • These circumstances are inevitable regardless of the number of phone lines, telephone agents, and man-hours employed. Therefore, we are rolling out a Contingency Plan to allow us to mitigate surges in call volume and maintain operational functionality, especially for those customers who provide Essential Public Health & Safety Services.     

Answering Service Contingency Plan

This Contingency Plan is designed to minimize the negative effects on our communications network in the event of wide-scale office closings related to the current COVID-19 outbreak.

Best Case Scenario

We are asking all of our customers who may need to temporarily close their offices during normal business hours and who have the capacity to manage their own calls during business-hours to please do so, and then forward your phone lines to us after-hours as usual.  We highly recommend that you acquire a service from your telephone company called “Remote Call Forwarding”.  This service allows you to call-forward your business phone from any remote location to any number you designate.  For example, the office line could be forwarded to a designated staff member during the day and then remotely forwarded to us after-hours.  If your company has a more sophisticated phone system with call processing capabilities, your IT people may be able to program this same ability in-house.  

Back-Up Service Options

For customers who simply cannot take their own calls we are providing a highly automated back-up service from 8 am – 5 pm, Monday through Friday. The service will automatically switch back to your normal live service after 5 pm. These back-up options will only be initiated if call volume on the Answering Service becomes unmanageable. 

Option #1

VOICEMAIL ANNOUNCMENT ONLY:  An automated greeting stating that the office has temporarily closed due to the COVID-19 outbreak and to please call back when normal office hours resume. 

Option #2

VOICEMAIL MESSAGING: Callers will be greeted by an automated attendant and given the option to leave a message. The voice-message may then be emailed directly to you or your designated contact personnel.

Option #3

LIVE CALL TRANSFER:  Automated greeting as above but with an option for urgent/priority calls to be transferred live to your designated contact personnel. Multiple numbers and options may be offered.

Option #4

LIVE ANSWERING SERVICE:  We are trying to reserve our live service for those customers who provide essential services directly related to public health and safety.  Your cooperation in this effort is very much appreciated.

Next Steps to Take

  1. Please email us at updates@vlchouston.com as soon as possible. 
  2. Indicate which one of the above options you choose. 
  3. Be sure to include the name and phone number(s) of your designated contact person.
  4. We will confirm receipt of your email and initiate the programming and testing process.   

We want to reiterate THESE ARE ONLY CONTINGENCY PLANS should we experience large-scale office closings related to the COVID-19 outbreak, otherwise we will be managing your calls according to standard instructions and practice. 

Thank you for your understanding and cooperation! Follow our Facebook page for further updates.