This is the first of two blogs, looking at five key ways that you can enhance your communications with a cloud-based technology platform. In the first blog, we highlight the opportunities available by speeding up business pace, making operational costs savings and empowering your people.
Preparing for the future
Developing a competitive advantage has become increasingly difficult as businesses face the reality of a globally-connected customer base. Businesses need to start embracing digital transformation and fundamentally changing the way they operate.
Buzzwords surrounding digital transformation, such as ‘big data’, ‘Internet of Things’ and ‘advanced analytics’ often imply that these leading-edge technologies are outside the budget and comprehension of all but the very largest of businesses. However, thanks to ongoing developments in cloud technologies, anyone can embark on a digital transformation journey, using technology to improve the customer experience, all within a specific budget.
What are the key opportunities for enhanced communications?
Improving customer experience means investing in the right technologies that will help to deliver significant returns. With so many channels available, enhancing your communications capabilities is a great place to start. Despite a massive proliferation in online channels like live chat, chatbots and social media, telephony is still an essential means of communication, even if the way in which it is used has changed significantly in recent years.
1. Pick up the pace of doing business
The speed at which you do business is very important to your customers and will have a direct effect on profitability. Consumers expect a rapid response to their requests via email and social media, with phone calls bringing an even greater expectation of immediacy.
Legacy phone systems can be inefficient, inflexible and slow, and you may find it hard to respond to customers and colleagues quickly enough to meet their needs.
68% of respondents stated that they experience difficulty co-ordinating communications between team members, which affects a team’s ability to respond quickly to time-sensitive customer requests (SIS International Research)
Choosing a cloud-based, hosted telephony solution will dramatically improve operational flexibility and speed, boosting collaboration and connectivity.
Cloud telephony is software-based, meaning that you can use a traditional desk-based phone handset to make and receive calls, but ‘softphones’ allow you to connect other devices and have them work like a handset. Simply install the relevant app on your laptop or smartphone and you can connect into the company phone network, allowing you to make and receive calls on your work extension, anywhere in the world. Factor in support for instant messaging, video calling and audio conferencing, and you immediately expand the number of instant communication channels on offer.
71% of small businesses report that their productivity has increased as a result of flexible working practices (Regus)
How do you select the right technology platform to increase business pace?
• Cloud-based technology allows 24/7 availability
• Support for application integration extends the functionality
• Mobile-enabled systems further increase operational flexibility
• Complete scalability to grow (or shrink) in line with business demands
• Remote access support for flexible and remote working
2. Make operational cost savings
The modern workforce is increasingly mobile as more employees go out on-site or work remotely, combined with the proliferation of mobile and smartphones. However, employees will often use different devices on different call plans and this complexity inevitably causes increased costs because you can’t easily manage the handsets or bills, or calculate spending and efficiency. Inefficient operations can have a significant effect on your bottom line.
In order to reduce costs, you need to consider streamlining your business operations. Emerging technologies like smart sensors are becoming increasingly important, allowing you to monitor processes in real-time. You can make technology work even smarter when these sensors are empowered to optimise operations automatically.
By automating common, low-level tasks, you can free up employees to devote more resource to customers, as well as enabling more efficient internal communications.
How do you select the right solution to increase efficiencies and reduce operating costs?
• Use automation to complete low-level tasks without human involvement
• Centralise communications tools and key data so time isn’t wasted looking for information
• Provide a range of channels with a consistent experience so staff and customers can communicate using the medium of their choice
• Offer a range of open software integrations so it works easily with tools you might already be using in your business
• Simplicity is key: you want staff to be productive immediately, not waste time learning a new platform
3. Empower your people – recruiting and retaining staff
Empowering your employees with technology that provides easy and direct access to people and resources enables them to serve customers more quickly and effectively. Empowerment also plays an important part in employee retention. When staff have the tools they need to do their jobs well, they are more productive and happier at work.
Remote and flexible working greatly increase the reach of your business when recruiting. Issues of relocation, accommodation and commuting can be resolved if candidates can work from their current location. Teleworking offers other important benefits too: you don’t have to source and equip premises to accommodate your growing workforce, and with a geographically-dispersed workforce, you can expand opening hours to better service the needs of international customers.
The success of flexible working programs hinges on building processes and platforms capable of bringing geographically-dispersed people closer, to collaborate more effectively.
46% of companies that allow telework say it has reduced attrition (Global Workplace Analytics)
Your choice of phone system will play a pivotal role in this process. With instant messaging, voice and video calling and conferencing functionality, your team can communicate using the medium that best suits their needs.
Teleworking benefits your business and its employees. Building a remote workforce helps to save money that would otherwise be spent on offices, travelling expenses and time wasted travelling to meetings.
How do you select the right solution to empower your staff?
• Make relevant information available whenever and wherever your employees need it
• Offer enhanced functionality like mobile app calling so employees maximise productivity
• Use cloud-based technology to simplify deployment and access for employees
• Offer a range of integration options, such as click-to-call functionality for your CRM system, so you can extend functionality and information-sharing features.
Contact us on 0333 1232123 to find out more about how cloud technology can enhance your business communications.