Johannesburg, 10 Mar 2020
In today’s world, consumer expectations are higher, word of mouth travels faster and customers are empowered like never before. This is the reason the phrase ‘customer experience’ (CX) is on everyone’s lips as delivering a high-quality CX is the key to both increased loyalty and revenue.
However, explains John Bowen, senior unified communications (UC) specialist at TechnoChange Solutions, most organisations get too caught up in the idea of delivering great CX. Because of their focus on the customer, they often fail to notice that there is another experience that is even more critical to the business: that of its own employees.
After all, he continues, if your own people don’t buy into the approach, or are not focused and happy, they obviously won’t be providing the customer with the best experience possible. Therefore, to ensure that employees are both happy and adequately prepared to provide the best CX possible, the company should invest in tools that facilitate this. The ideal solution here is UC.
“While UC can offer enormous advantages in terms of cost-effectiveness, greater efficiencies and significantly improved service levels, it is still essentially new technology, and can thus be scary to employees. It is for this reason that it is vital to obtain buy-in from your people if such technologies are to be effectively deployed,” he says.
“Remember that presence and availability are critical in the modern, 24/7/365 world, as staff are not always desk-bound; instead, they may be on the road, in meetings or even at a conference halfway across the world. Despite this, you want them to have the flexibility to stay connected, irrespective of their location.”
Bowen suggests that many enterprises seem to be under the misapprehension that a UC implementation can only be successful if the company uses the public cloud. Although the public cloud is ideal as a platform for a UC service operated by a small or medium enterprise (SME), since the management thereof can be left entirely up to the service provider, it is certainly not the only way, he points out.
“The challenge of public cloud, particularly at the enterprise level, is that if the cloud provider has a problem, for any reason, the business will not only be without outside communication facilities, the likelihood is that even internal communications won’t work. Therefore, larger organisations should be looking at either a private or hybrid cloud solution,” says Bowen.
“Of course, choosing which platform to run the UC service on is only the first step. Key to ensuring employee uptake and maintaining their happiness is to adopt UC technologies that are simple and easy to use. Remember: UC is all about making life easier rather than more complex for people, which is why training is crucial. After all, you can’t expect them to improve the customer’s experience without first knowing for themselves why UC is being implemented and how it can make their jobs easier.”
Implementing UC, he continues, also requires the company to understand what its business drivers are and how the business functions, in order to clearly understand what it wants to achieve and how the new technologies can help it to do so.
“Obviously, training and education is critical, not only for your people to understand how the technologies work, but more importantly, how they will specifically benefit staff. And this is why it is so necessary to work in conjunction with an experienced partner – not only to have someone who is able to implement the UC technology properly, but also to train and educate the employees to ensure it is used to greatest effect.”
You also want your end-customers to be made aware that regardless of the channel used to connect with the company, they will get same levels of service from each. Thus, your UC partner must equally be able to educate the end-customer about what services are available to them and how they can best leverage these.
“So, although it often appears that the cloud issue is the major one obfuscating the benefits of UC, by working with the right UC consultant, businesses can overcome this challenge. More than this, though, they will have access to the consultant’s in-depth knowledge of the latest trends and technologies available in this space, as well as their ability to provide guidance and education on the benefits of UC to both your employees and end-customers. In my opinion, UC is the obvious answer to those who are still wondering how they can go about delivering a world-class CX,” he concludes.