The way customers communicate with companies has evolved rapidly, which is why businesses are now placing a greater focus on delivering on the unprecedented flexibility and convenience demanded by customers.
To avoid being left behind by competitors and new technology-centric entrants in the marketplace businesses are deploying Unified Communication solutions as a business imperative.
The need is clear, as indicated by Gartner research which showed that nearly 80% of workers were using collaboration tools for work in 2021, up from just over half of workers in 2019.
This is an increase of 44% since the pandemic began. This trend is driven by consumer behaviour.
“In an increasingly technology-mediated world, where customers are demanding real-time and responsive interactions, the business case for Unified Communications is clear. Deploying a system that reduces costs and keeps productivity high, in an environment where the communication landscape is constantly changing, is a win for both business and customer. Traditional forms of connecting employees and customers, like email messaging and voice, have evolved, and are now the bare minimum in the current age of communication choice, versatility, and innovation. It is therefore essential that businesses keep pace with new technologies and subscribe to an adaptable platform that seamlessly integrates various mediums, applications and devices or risk rendering their level of communication obsolete, says Sharon Maasdorp, Managing Executive: Unified Collaboration at BCX.
According to McKinsey Technology Trends 2022 ninety percent of businesses expect their operations to be disrupted by technology, but only eleven percent believe they’re ready to adapt to the digital age.
This has led to a significant increase in the demand of Unified Communication systems, which synchronises your business communication channels so both your teams, and your customers can work seamlessly together.
This rich portfolio of collaboration applications comprises IP voice, unified messaging, video chat, integration of common collaboration apps such as Zoom and Microsoft Teams, mobility, and further complemented by new digital channels.
Some of the additional complementary digital channels include AI (artificial intelligence) enabled voice and chat bots, WhatsApp, social media integration, and live chat/video directly from your organisations website. These digital channels are meant to enrich the customer experience and enable a new level of personalisation.
Additionally, for companies adopting smart communications and collaboration solutions as part of their communication strategy, VoIP technology is still an invaluable and cost-saving component.
Next generation VOIP provides the flexibility to take your number with you wherever you go, via mobile or desktop app, so you never miss a call. Businesses that have not leveraged the full capability that Unified Collaboration brings, run the risk of alienating a significant portion of their customers from connecting with them on a level they’re most comfortable with.
The result will be reflected in profit margins or felt by the unwelcome presence of new market players who were earlier adopters of digital technology.
Customers in all verticals are enthusiastically embracing the technology and reaping the rewards of connecting with their customers in innovative ways.
Ultimately, the consolidation of multiple communication touchpoints into a single source has widespread business appeal and impact. Right now, however, far too many South African organisations still face the complexity of disparate and multiple telephony platforms, geographically dispersed, with multiple service providers and staff needed to support these.
Conversely some smaller businesses have not even considered communication channels beyond the phone and email, inevitably missing out on many potential customers. With a digital workplace now a necessity, having an integrated experience isn’t just useful – it’s critical to growth and profitability.
Unified Collaboration technology empowers businesses with a seamless shift from high capital costs to a more cost-effective subscription-based model, where you pay for what you use.
“The integration of multiple customer and employee communication applications, delivered in a unified way on a single platform is game changing. It’s not surprising that at the onset of the pandemic 3 out 10 businesses were not prepared in terms of flexible technology able to adapt to the sudden reality of employees working at home and customers exploring and demanding multiple means of interacting with businesses.
Now, integrating the host of available communication channels is no longer simply a nice-to-have. For many businesses it’s the only viable path forward to avoid alienating a large share of their customer base, improving customer engagement, and ensuring employee enablement,” concludes Maasdorp.
Companies such as BCX who have made the investment into an integrated communications platform hosted from their cloud, are now confidently pointing to the success of migration, with many BCX customers experiencing a 30% saving once migrating from multiple platforms to next generation.
The technology also helps customers mitigate the business disruption impact of common problems like load shedding, due to the mobility benefit.
Unified Collaboration ultimately has a positive impact on the bottom line. It makes sense, and the impact is both far reaching and future-proof.