How an un-unified communications system can harm customer experience
By Simon Horton, Vice President of Sales, Europe at Sangoma
Businesses and consumers have a wealth of communication options in today’s world, which means every contact point between a company and its customers can be the difference between them making a purchase or walking away.
According to PwC, one in three customers say they will walk away from a brand they love after just one bad experience. This undoubtedly puts immense pressure on companies to ensure they consistently deliver a great customer experience to ultimately build a profitable long-term relationship.
Following the accelerated digital transformation over the past two years, caused by the pandemic, customers now require and expect a streamlined, holistic experience when dealing with customer service channels. They expect on-demand assistance platforms at the touch of a button – a unified communications system. The days of customers and clients giving companies a pass for long queue call times, or even unanswered calls, due to the pandemic are a thing of the past. With that said, given this culture shift, it is more important than ever that companies of all sizes across all sectors provide the best external communications and customer experience possible – this will continue to be a key differentiator in the market.
Barriers to good communications and customer experience
A well-used phrase in business is to be ‘singing from the same hymn sheet’, and that is true when it comes to communication too. It is important that every client-facing member of staff, who interact with customers every day, is operating in a uniform manner and using the same tools to interact with external parties. If staff members are using different communications tools and internal systems, then the business is offering an inconsistent customer experience – especially if not all staff members have been trained sufficiently on differing systems.
A business using multiple channels can also easily result in a customer’s journey being impacted negatively, as queries and requests can become lost in the plethora of different information silos and platforms.
Additionally, good internal communications equate to good external communications. With throughout oversight of call activity via a unified platform, call times and call activity can be managed effectively, reducing call queue times, assuring customers that their correspondence is important to a business. Many businesses are now shifting their communications to this more traditional call centre approach for their external communication, and if they aren’t, their customer experience and service offering will quickly fall behind.
Fitting into the working from anywhere/home model
Hybrid, or in some cases totally remote, working is here to stay – so a communications system must be in place to provide the same level of customer service that a business was offering before this new way of working became the norm. There is scarcely a bigger barrier to effective communications, either internal or external, than technology-related issues. Staff members must be able to log into, and use, the same tools as seamlessly from their home as they do when in the office. With many employees now working remotely, businesses must continue to deliver contact centre functionality regardless of location. Corporate communications need to be seamless, and employees must be contactable from both home and the office. This is where unified communications demonstrates its strength.
By offering a single, streamlined interface, a unified communications platform links all aspects of corporate communications such as, mobility, conferencing, instant messaging and other platforms – meaning more employees can work remotely effectively, with instant access to tools such as traditional desk top phones, chatbots, messengers, video calls or other apps. This effectively streamlines processes and aids customer retention. Without such platforms in place, remote working can easily lead to staff members working in silos, and via different platforms and resources.
Unified communication is the future of customer experience
In the world we now live in, where customers demand instant results and information as soon as it is requested, communications are vital for client retention, and for attracting new customers too. Without operating with a thorough unified communications system, a business runs the real risk of offering a fragmented and inconsistent customer experience.
Unified communications products — equipment, software, and services — provide and combine multiple enterprise communications channels, such as voice, video, personal and team messaging, voicemail, and content sharing. This can include control, management, and integration of these channels – a vital facet to enhancing customer service offerings.
Without unified communications platforms at its disposal, a company regardless of its size simply won’t compete when it comes to the customer experience arena. The new way of working is here, and the time for un-unified communications is over.