Make User & Customer Experience Sing
Almost overnight, 2020’s global coronavirus pandemic proved the critical and essential value of cloud-based communication, collaboration, and contact center platforms.
Face-to-face appointments quickly were replaced with virtual meetings as companies rushed to ramp up videoconferencing capabilities with universal licensing – or even deploy wholly new systems.
Teams that once relied upon in-person meetings to work on projects found themselves instant messaging, screen sharing, and even editing files together in real time via collaboration platforms.
Finally, businesses with on-premises customer service agents quickly pivoted to cloud-based contact center solutions to keep employees safe, customers happy, and the bottom line healthy.
Amid this transition, business leaders discovered an important truth: A well-equipped remote workforce can be as productive as an on-premises one. Often, the workforce is happier for it.
The reality of a distributed workforce is here to stay, which means cloud-based communication, collaboration and contact center platforms will become even more strategic.
Improving agility and competitiveness is a why organizations adopt a cloud-based communications model. Cloud lets IT teams sever from break-fix, device provisioning and change management to spend more time on broadening user education, streamlining workflows, and creating omnichannel experiences for better customer support. These things move business communication tools from cost centers to revenue drivers, making them valuable to the business.
Today, there are four primary components of cloud-based business communications: Calling, Meetings, Collaboration, and Contact Center. Want to hone your competitive edge? Let’s talk!
Mobile devices and widely adopted BYOD policies literally cut the cord on business calling, once the domain of the ubiquitous desk phone and PBX system. To be fair, just before COVID-19 plenty of organizations still were invested in maintaining a host of fabulously feature-rich IP phones for the desks of their on-premises workforce. Most of these systems easily accommodated call forwarding to a mobile device – which untethered many workers from their desks. Still, IP phones represent a significant investment in hardware – an investment that many organizations (although not all) are redirecting to cloud-based calling platforms that work seamlessly with nearly all carriers, phone numbers, and devices — even old IP desk phones.
Video killed the radio star… and it also is killing phone conferencing. Bad hair days and pajama bottoms aside, people quickly turned to videoconferencing as their preferred communication and meeting method once workplaces shut down and air travel slowed to a trickle. Indeed, videoconferencing adoption had been on the rise since Apple debuted FaceTime in 2010 and new generations of highly tech-dependent young adults began streaming into the workforce.
Cloud-based videoconferencing platforms offer an intuitive user interface, HD-quality video and voice, and the capacity to accommodate a couple of users or even tens of thousands in a single meeting. They allow for chat, screensharing and recording, which makes them highly collaborative tools. They’ve also become easier for IT teams to implement into the organization as the end-user’s process to install the software on various mobile devices is relatively simple. Reducing an end user’s barrier to entry always represents a huge leap forward in technology adoption.
Collaboration platforms offered a lifeline to project teams while stay-at-home orders were strictly enforced. Like videoconferencing, collaboration platforms enjoyed growing support before coronavirus but became absolutely essential in its aftermath.
Cloud-based collaboration platforms facilitate chat/instant messaging, file storage and sharing, real-time document collaboration, and videoconferencing. Highly integratable with numerous 3rd party platforms and apps like Microsoft 365, Box, Salesforce, Eventbrite and much more, collaboration platforms give organizations the ability to maintain productivity no matter how big the team or project, where team members reside, or what devices they use.
While collaboration platforms are the lifeline among co-workers, cloud-based contact center platforms breathe new life into customer engagement and experiences. Absolutely mission-critical for both B2C and B2B organizations, contact centers can make or break a business.
Consumers today expect to reach customer support instantaneously and around the clock whether they call, email, text, chat, visit a website or hit a social media page. This is referred to as an “omnichannel” experience. When consumers speak with a customer service representative, they expect that rep to have full access to account details — including a history of past contact and support issues. They do not expect their account information to be siloed among departments. Or, if they choose a self-service route, they expect the same kind of comprehensive access to their account information paired with complete, clear instructions and intuitive user interfaces.
Cloud-based contact centers are better able to deliver on modern consumer expectations because they leverage evergreen platforms built with powerful data analytics, artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), and natural language understanding (NLU). Cloud-based platforms also are built with stringent security protocols to ensure support organizations can meet tough regulatory and legal compliance mandates and protect consumer information and privacy.
These platforms provide support organizations with tremendous agility to access critical data in real-time from anywhere on any device, route inquiries to the best agent for the job, and deliver support outcomes that are much more satisfactory to the customer — and to the agents. They also remove a heavy management burden from the IT department, shifting responsibility for uptime and performance metrics to the contact center vendor.
Structured Professional Spotlight
Brandon Kinsey, Collaboration Solutions Manager
As Collaboration Solutions Manager for Structured, Brandon leads a national team of engineers focused on bringing seamless work experiences to customers via the integration of voice, video and data across devices and from any location.
“Companies that effectively leverage UC and collaboration tools experience greater unity, accomplish more as a team, and reach higher levels of success. I am excited to help our customers compete and win.”