Customer communication is the lifeblood of all businesses. It always will be. But when you’re forced to move to remote work, your needs change. It’s not about whether you can communicate with customers, it’s more about how agile and flexible you can be in those communications. But how do you make that happen? It’s a big question many ask when planning for new tools to enable Unified Communications (UC).
Unfortunately, many who deploy a UC solution fail to achieve their user adoption targets. Employees either don’t use or improperly use the new tools, and the business doesn’t end up seeing the productivity and efficiency gains it was expecting. There are plans for the technology, but those plans don’t always account for business processes or the people who use the new tools. So how do you avoid the same mistakes? Build a comprehensive plan.
This recent webinar highlights five critical steps for your plan, including employees, processes, job functions, network readiness and deployment. While all the steps are important, many businesses struggle with operational process planning. To help you overcome that hurdle, I want to share some examples and some steps you can take to get your plan on track.
The limitations of voice platforms
Traditionally, customer interactions happen on platforms designed specifically for voice communications. Customers call your phone number, and a team member answers to sell your products or provide your services. Sounds simple. However, over time traditional telephony features have been integrated into business processes providing call flows such as:
Incoming calls ring at the receptionist desk and simultaneously ring a bell at the loading dock
Route after-hours calls to an available technician to address any emergency situation
“Parking” a call and paging throughout the facility for the intended person
While these address the past needs of the organization, many businesses are migrating or planning to migrate to a new, cloud-based platform for UC. The goal is to have one solution that also:
Supports voice communications, instant messaging, video, presence and team collaboration
Is available on physical phones, laptops, tablets and smartphones
Can connect in the office or anywhere with an Internet connection (wired, Wi-Fi or cellular data)
Enables transformation that can address modern and future needs
Transitioning from voice to UC
How have traditional telephony features been integrated into your current processes? That is the first and most important thing to identify. Next, it is critical to map these processes to desired business outcomes for employee productivity, customer experiences and reduced risk. Finally, evaluate where new capabilities can streamline the process. Matching or duplicating processes isn’t always possible, and it isn’t always the best approach. For example:
Should I replace all current phones with new ones? Can most of my employees become more productive with just a softphone - on their smartphone or on a laptop the company already provides?
Do receptionists need phones that show the busy/idle status of all office employees? Can they use a UC app on their PCs that enables instant messaging and presence to quickly see who’s available?
Do we need to ring that bell out in the loading dock? Can the receptionist have a Wi-Fi device that allows him/her to move through the office, never miss a call, and always answer on the first ring?
Abbreviated dial plans
Do we maintain the three, four or five-digit dial plans (extensions) to reach staff? Would it be simpler to “click to call” people and not dial numbers?
These traditional phone lines have limited features and can be expensive. Faxing is a common use case. Would it be more efficient if we moved these to the cloud and eliminated the old hardware too?
Change is inevitable
Your business processes will undoubtedly change when you migrate to UC. Proper planning is key. And so is partnership. Choose a partner that has the experience and expertise with these types of projects and can help you scale and continually innovate to help you grow your business.
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On-demand webinar: Five critical steps when planning for Unified Communications