Organizations are going to need a new playbook for business communications in the post-pandemic world.
“All signs are that the new workplace will be very different,” said Miles Davis, VP Channel Sales from Avaya Canada, at a recent ITWC webinar. A change in communications preferences was already underway, with an evolution in demographics, mobility, and expectations of a consumer experience at the office, he said. This shift has accelerated with everyone working from home.
“Companies must constantly adapt to changing employee and customer expectations,” Davis said. “This is an incredible opportunity.”
People are finding ways to make things work in the current environment, said Slo Umicevic, Strategic Partner Alliance Director at Ring Central. “Imagine what they could do if we make it easier.”
The elements of a new communications playbook
The current market provides insights as to how customers and employees want to communicate, said Davis. “We see that roughly 80 per cent of the calls coming into our customers’ contact centres are from a smart phone.” This should be taken into account when you’re designing the customer experience. “Customers also expect the call centre to know who I am and provide first call resolution,” added Umicevic. “The organization has to empower agents with tools to see the customer record.”
As for meetings, Davis noted that sales of USB conference cameras were already growing by 73 per cent year-over-year prior to the pandemic. A key requirement is that you can pick up the device and take it to the space you need, he said. It’s also useful for those who work in the field, outside of traditional meetings, said Umicevic.
Messaging is a key consideration. “The way we see customers adopting messaging is incredible,” said Davis. Statistics show that 95 per cent of text messages are opened and responded to within three minutes of being delivered. “So, you have to think about how communications are set up for employees. Calling and meetings are essential, but messaging is very important because it will be prioritized.”
Cloud solutions are the best option to enable constant innovation, Davis said. The flexibility, speed and scalability of the cloud was showcased by the quick transition to working from home. As well, the majority of business leaders rank integrated communications among their top needs.
How to make it work
A single integrated platform is required to meet the needs of customers and employees, said Umicevic. “With a unified experience, the learning curve is short and the adoption is fast.”
Secondly, the platform must be open. This way, users can easily access pre-built applications to enhance existing business systems. Davis noted that Avaya Cloud Office, offered in partnership with Ring Central, has over 250 pre-built integrations based on customer feedback. “Instead of building barriers, it is building bridges,” said Umicevic. “If a company loves Slack, we integrate it and make it better. You can even integrate communications and collaboration into your own company apps”.
Finally, the solution must work on a global basis, and provide analytics on things like call volumes and origin locations to help drive business decisions.
“From an overall perspective, we have to look at how to empower employees to make it easier going into the new reality,” said Umicevic.