Martin Taylor, deputy CEO at Content Guru, explains why unified communications will lead the way.
The Covid-19 pandemic has had an unprecedented impact on enterprises around the globe and businesses have had to adapt day-to-day operations as priority. This has been especially true in the contact centre, with enormous changes both in customers’ behaviour and the demands governments placed on operations and employees.
Organisations should be asking themselves how they can ensure all levels of the contact centre continue to work together effectively from anywhere, on any device, and what implementing the necessary Unified Communications (UC) technology actually looks like?
A balancing act to keep plates spinning
With so much choice when it comes to collaboration tools, it can be incredibly challenging to keep the plates spinning seamlessly with various customer conversations across different channels.
Implementing a cloud-based contact centre, coupled with UC tools, is a great option for organisations tackling this challenge. Offering fully integrated channels and applications into a single, easy-access user interface, effective UC solutions leverage multiple services, such as instant messaging (IM), voice calling (fixed, mobile and softphone support), video conferencing and more.
Delivering quick, efficient experiences
One of the benefits of a UC solution is efficiency. Delivering a quick and connected experience that meets customer demand and expectation is more important than ever. By improving the information flow between front- and back-office operations, a customer service department can more easily provide a quick service, presenting a united front to customers, even when agents may be physically dispersed.
With a single interface making accessing channels and collaboration tools effortless, call agents are able to obtain necessary information easier and solve customer problems faster, delivering exceptional customer experience.
As demonstrated by the Covid-19 pandemic, external and internal communication are key during a crisis. Utilising a provider that can offer integrations with key collaboration tools like Microsoft Teams and Zoom will be crucial. If a front-office call agent cannot provide an answer without connecting with their back-office colleagues, these types of integrations enable them to get through to a back-office colleague for quick access to their expertise.
During a crisis, contact centres experience spikes in levels of demand, which is difficult to handle if all agents are occupied. This can be made worse if key colleagues working remotely are not as visible to those who are less experienced and require assistance.
A cloud-based UC solution provides the tools to tackle the challenges of unprecedented demand head-on. Its resiliency and scalability allow business operations to continue by integrating front- and back-office operations. With presence sharing and call forwarding, back-office employees can be mobilised rapidly, acting as call agents if need be, to ease demand and provide subject-matter expertise.
A cloud-based UC solution can reduce costs and resources by eliminating the need for deploying and maintaining physical equipment and hardware. It is also quicker and more cost-effective to maintain and upgrade cloud solutions over legacy on-premises contact centre infrastructure. With no need to rip and replace – only adding to – existing systems and applications, a cloud-based UC solution ideal for most businesses looking to streamline and reduce costs. It is much simpler to successfully provide a unified experience that won’t break the bank with all customer and business information integrated into one easily manageable cloud-based UC contact centre solution.
Enabling the modern workforce
Many companies plan to remain working from home for the foreseeable future, especially in light of recent government advice. However, even before Covid-19, there was a widespread shifting focus to home working across all industries. According to research from the Office of National Statistics published prior to the pandemic, 50 per cent of UK employees were already set to work remotely in 2020.
Cloud contact centre technology is browser-based, so agents can access the system wherever they are. The ability to homework gives employees more flexibility and control over their working hours, making it easier to fit their career around busy schedules in a way that benefits both themselves and the organisation.
Covid-19 has caused upheaval and confusion, so it is understandable that businesses would be hesitant about investing in new technology. But, it is clear to see that moving to a cloud-based UC solution is one transition in a company’s digital transformation that makes the most logical sense right now. For businesses operating in the contact centre space, it may turn out to be the make-or-break moment in maintaining relationships with customers, as well as ensuring the long-term satisfaction and wellbeing of employees.