INSIGHT

Why collaboration tech is not just for colleagues and how to make sure it works

Remote. Hybrid. Flexible. Dynamic. For many formerly office-based organisations, the pandemic has accelerated their shift to at least one of these new ways of working. And as employees need to be productive outside the workplace, the adoption of digital technologies has been fast-tracked.

Microsoft Teams, for example, saw daily users grow to 75 million during the pandemic. That’s a huge 70% increase. And organisations boosted their IT spend by 18% compared to 2019.

Even before the pandemic, 35% of leaders of businesses and organisations said employee demand for flexibility was driving changes in working styles. And now 69% of enterprise decision makers believe that temporary changes in working policies will be made permanent in their organisation – including a 50% increase in hybrid working (up to 2.3 days per week), according to the Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr).

With the new ways of working here to stay, some organisations are still facing teething problems. 

34% of people say unreliable internet prevents them from working to their best abilities. 

There are other barriers to productive working too. 

If you’ve got a favourite collaborative tool but your colleagues or other teams have another, what happens if they don’t play well together? Does one of you have to delete your favourite app? Or do you have to keep switching from one app to another?

The focus is now on making sure that all these collaboration tools talk to each other and your existing technology and infrastructure. 

This approach goes by the name of unified communications. 

Sometimes it’s easy to forget that the unified part isn’t just about your organisation. It stretches way beyond that and improves things for your customers too. 

How a leading UK legal firm was able to thrive during lockdown

Leading UK legal and professional services experts Knights took advantage of hybrid working during the pandemic to forge a new way of working and offer its customers something different. 

Richard King, Knights COO, explains: “Our business model is focused on a strong culture of collaborative teamwork, supported by robust technological systems. The combination of the two enables us to flow work to the right level of expertise, improving the efficiency of the business and ensuring we can offer our clients better value for money.”

Knights took a fresh look at delivering legal services to clients using new tools. Law firms traditionally have client-facing, front office staff supported by back office assistants. The back office staff type up documents and take care of the paperwork. The front office staff then add their signature. 

Instead, Knights harnessed technology to give front office lawyers the ability to print and send documents themselves. Streamlining processes in this way frees up staff to focus on building client relationships. 

Knights introduced video calling too. Not just for meetings, but for onboarding new acquisitions and training new colleagues. 

Digital skills are essential for new employees to fit in with the team. To date the organisation has trained over 300 lawyers to raise their digital fluency so they can work more efficiently and effectively over the cloud as part of the team and serve their customers better in the process. 

“Our model is relationship-led, not brand led,” explains Richard King. “It’s person-to-client, heavily powered by digital.” Rather than compromising the personal relationship, embracing digital actually enhances it. 

It’s the perfect example of an organisation using tools to embrace the new reality of hybrid working and creating new and better ways to serve its customers. 

Experience-communications-as-a-service: what is it and why does it matter?

As the Knights example shows, when you get everyone in your organisation working together using the same technology, processes become smoother. This is especially crucial when hybrid working comes into play.

When the tech is based in the cloud, it comes ‘as-a-service.’ 

That’s good news for you, as you don’t have to pay for hardware like servers on site. Updates for apps or collaboration tools happen automatically via the cloud. So if there’s an extra labour-saving tool in the app, it’s instantly available to your colleagues too. 

But what about ‘experience-communications’? 

This is the part that will make all the difference as we come out of the pandemic. Combining all your communications tools through one platform creates seamless experiences for your staff and customers. 

Let’s take the contact centre as an example. When a customer gets in touch, a contact centre agent can access information, business applications and tools from a single location without switching apps. 

Staff that spend less time negotiating multiple apps can focus on delivering a better customer experience. 

And agents can collaborate more easily internally within the native Teams app wherever they are, which drives efficiency and productivity.

That doesn’t just make work easier for your employees. Customers get better accessibility and responsiveness, making them happier too. The experience is so much better. 

Hence ‘experience-communications’.

Make customer engagement an integrated part of the business

If, like many organisations, you’ve invested in multiple different collaboration tools and applications, you might be finding that they don’t work as well together as you’d like.

Now is the ideal time to bring all these different strands together to create one solid, joined-up way of working that creates a better experience for everyone.

How?

By adopting communication tools that are fit for a post-pandemic world.

Take Slater and Gordon. Its cloud communication solution allowed it to offer secure remote working capabilities to 90% of its workforce when the pandemic hit. 250 business agents made use of advanced cloud contact-centre capabilities so they could work from home immediately.

Gartner estimates that by 2024 60% of enterprises will have migrated their contact centres to the cloud, with a 60% jump in remote working full-time. 

With a cloud communications solution that works across your organisation you can make sure that your colleagues can work safely from their homes to offer customer support. 

If the solution comes with analytics and reporting you can manage communications with real-time data and spot any trends as they happen. 

Halfords has used its cloud communications solution to handle a 500% increase in call volume and 2,500% surge in web-chat interactions, all via 150 contact-centre agents working safely from their homes. 

The team can identify trends through rich interaction analytics and reporting to stay ahead of the curve, whatever’s thrown at them.

Better experiences all round.

Experience-communications-as-a-service also gives you the flexibility to add rich features tailored to your business demands. 

You only pay for what you need, when you need it, while your customers get the benefit of better call response times and faster resolutions. 

By integrating and simplifying the technology you’ll enable customers to get in touch with you over the medium or device they want to, in real time. 

The result is a seamless experience for both the customer and the employee. And one the CFO can get behind.

Want to know how to achieve all of the above and more for your own organisation?

 
 
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