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How to Maximise Customer Engagement and Employee Collaboration in The Post Lockdown Changed Environment

With the relaxing of the lockdown, it is time to restart your business in earnest. However, one thing is for sure and that is it is not business as usual. The economy has taken a huge hit, coronavirus is still a real threat, social attitudes have changed towards intermingling and social distancing will remain including becoming compulsory in offices. Whether you decide to continue with homeworking or return to the office is another issue you should also evaluate. Whatever you decide, the issues above will directly impact your business and its ability to adapt and succeed. Read on to understand the key technologies and approaches that can help you provide more effective customer engagement and employee collaboration in this critical time. 

Move to the Cloud

If you have already moved your key communications and business process software to the cloud, then you are in a good position. For businesses who used a work around to access their on-premises solutions or who may still have parts of their software stack not in the cloud, it is time to complete the move. The reasons to not go back to your old setup are numerous.

Firstly, the end of lockdown could be rescinded at any time if infection rates pick up again – That could be both in the short-term and in the winter, which generally results in upswings in virus infections. In the event, remote working returns the issues you had with your work around solution will come back again. For example:

- Did your employees have to remote into their desktop to access key data and contend with it being painfully slow?

- Did they have to use software they were unfamiliar with?

- Were your customers phoning your office only to find your employees only reachable on their mobile phones?

- Did it take time to implement and result in disgruntled customers and missed business opportunities?

And, while, your employees endured those issues first time round because everything was done so suddenly and it was assumed this was short-term, it is not good for your business to have to incur those costs and efficiencies again and into the longer term. Equally, your customers, although a little bit more understanding this time round, will not be so in future and look to other providers.

Now you have time to plan for this likely eventually so no excuse for not doing something better.

Secondly, it may well be that remote working for a portion of your staff is a government mandated condition of back to work. It may be that social distancing in the office requires you to ask some of your staff to stay home. It could be that for your business to survive it is necessary to save some costs and close down some of your offices. It may well be that your staff are extremely happy at home and want to stay there. In any of these scenarios, cloud software which allows you to work from anywhere as long as you have an Internet connection, makes a better long-term solution.

Finally, cloud software makes sense financially. For example, using hosted telephony for your business or contact centre is much cheaper and a superior technology. This is evidenced by BT’s plan to switch off the ISDN and the traditional public telephone network in favour of SIP in 2025.

Get Cloud Collaboration Software

Collaboration software is not often the top of the list of SaaS products to buy. However, the issues of communicating and collaborating remotely were felt extremely acutely during homeworking.

The reason why you may have not got this software is that collaboration is much easier in an office environment, where people are able to get up and walk to each other’s desks. In that situation your employees were likely scheduling meeting, messaging, making calls, file sharing and collaborating on an ad-hoc basis with different software. Suddenly, they needed to do everything online and it got so much more difficult.

Communication and collaboration software helps overcome this. Your employees and supervisors get one platform, where they can find all their colleagues, tools – like video calling and scheduling - and conversations in one user-friendly interface. Video calling, in particular, has been shown to be an exceptionally important tool in helping people feel connected and be more productive.

Improve Remote Engagement Capabilities

The three developments below need to be understood and planned for post-lockdown:

- Don’t expect a rush of people to your high street shop, to trade shows or to your meeting room. Numerous surveys have shown that while there is frustration with the lockdown, there is a strong acceptance that it was necessary and now an anxiety around going back to work and our normal routines.

- Customers have been forgiving about your customer service as we were in extraordinary times but expect this to change - Even though you have limited resources.

- People crave human interaction and without your shop will look to get it online.

 

The result is that you should plan to engage your customers over remote channels, both digital and voice, provide them with real human and conversational interaction experiences and look to automate for the best chance of success.

Live Chat

With customers hesitant about visiting your store or office, your website, Facebook and other social pages will be the main channels on which they will interact and consume your brand. Live chat, and its ability to allow customers to ask questions and get instant answers will be crucial to both your sales and customer service. Large numbers of consumers already preferred messaging above other forms of communication and it brings with it the added bonus of allowing agents to handle more than one chat, reducing bottlenecks and saving costs.

Web RTC Calls and Live Chat

With consumers seeking human interaction, integration of web RTC click-to-call into your live chat enabling them to seamlessly change to a call without downloading anything, could make the difference between a loss sale or bad review.

Omnichannel

Now you are increasing the number of channels you are using to engage your customers, or starting to more earnestly use the ones you already have in place, it is the right time to get an omnichannel solution. As well as providing you with with a full range of the channels necessary to allow your customers to contact you in their preferred manner, an omnichannel solution enables you to see all the interactions from a customer inside one customer journey record and get contextual insight. This instant access to a customer’s history enables your agents to resolve their question faster or provide the necessary value to close the sell. It is particularly helpful when your workforce is in different locations and can’t quickly check with each other to ask questions.

Chatbot

You have put into place a plan to drive more traffic to your website and social channels. You are expecting more people to use your live chat, but, unfortunately, times dictate that you don’t have the personnel resources to handle that upsurge in engagement with your brand. The last thing you want to do is leave potential customers sat in a queue. No matter what your business size, a chatbot can help overcome your resource issues. A bot enables you to automate your customer engagement through rich voice and text conversational experiences. Your employees can spend more time on key interactions, you can engage customers 24/7 and reduce customer service costs.

Voice IVR and Voicebot

A result of your desire to push more to your online channels, will mean an increase in the number of people picking up the phone to call you, not just contact you on live chat. And, as with live chat, you will have resource issues. A voice IVR integrated with chatbot technology can change this. Customers can have voice conversational experiences to answer their questions. As like a chatbot, a well-designed voice IVR can solve up to 80% of customer service questions, before an agent is needed.

Dialler and Voicebot

With the opportunity to physically meet reduced, whether it is at a B2B trade show or to meet consumers on the high street, it may be time to increase your outbound activities. Telemarketing if done well, approached from the perspective of trying to have conversations to understand a potential client’s pain points, will at the very least get you a better understanding of your customers to shape your proposal and at best much needed revenue. In turn, a dialler, through automating the dialling process and providing analysis of calls, will enable your employees to focus on their conversations and be more productive.

In circumstances where you want to provide a larger customer base with offering or provide information, it is possible to use a voicebot as an agent on the dialler to automate these calls.

Video customer service resolution

Reduced budgets and personnel mean the need to reduce field visits for customer repairs and improve first call resolution. Remote visual assistance software is a new tool that uses video to help resolve customer service requests. It allows your customers to show their problems in real time through their smartphone camera. Your agents can zoom in, capture details and provide AR onscreen pointers.



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