“Managers need to be able to give hints without barging in.”

Simon Horton, vice president of sales at Sangoma Europe, talked to Comms Business about how management can support their teams using contact centre solutions.

Comms Business Magazine (CBM): How can management retain visibility over their team when the contact centre is being run remotely?

Simon Horton (SH): “From a management point of view, the important things to be able to see are: who is calling in, how many calls are coming in, and are those calls getting answered in a timely fashion? Once those areas are understood, management can then focus on helping their employees even when they’re not in the same office. This is particularly important with new employees.

“Our tools give management the ability to see when their team are on the phone, and they can also jump in on calls and see how they’re doing. Across the workforce, people are still leaving and people still arriving. With these remote tools, you don’t need to stop hiring as you can onboard people effectively. This means you can still keep growing your workforce or replacing people who leave.”

CBM: How can managers support their employees?

SH: “Our whisper feature is one way management can provide support to their team. This essentially means employees can hear their manager on the call, but this isn’t audible to the other side.

“If you see a call from an important customer come in, for example, you can whisper in the call handler’s ear and give them advice or coaching where needed. This can be really useful as managers can give some hints without barging in.”

CBM: What’s next in the unified communications space? 

SH: “Before we answer that question, we need to understand the requirements of a future workplace because that will drive where UC [unified communications] goes. The future workplace will certainly involve anywhere, anytime, borderless collaboration and communications. And it will probably involve smaller physical offices as companies embrace remote working at least part time. Even before the pandemic, companies were reducing office square footage per employee.

“Many companies are also exploring ways to be more socially conscious, including becoming “more green”. This can involve supporting a myriad of carbon offset projects or initiatives that offsets what your company is putting into the environment. Some companies are even exploring more mandatory work from home scenarios as that creates less driving and less carbon emissions. This means unified communications systems need to enable remote work, video, and potentially even tie into IoT communications.

“Another obvious step for the UC system is to utilise and analyse all that data that is becoming available to it. In other words, integrating artificial intelligence to the platform. As artificial intelligence gets integrated, the business communication system can start making decisions based on context, past similar decision history, for example. This is happening already with the emergence of the chatbot which will engage you more, and take you further down the discussion as time goes on.”

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