Somebody once said something like “…if you keep doing the same things do not expect different results…”; another way to say that is: “do not expect different outcomes if you keep doing the same thing”. It’s just common sense. Now, I’m not claiming to be the ultimate business coach neither I’m claiming ownership of the phrase but after 20 years dealing with business and technology, I can give you some pointers if you are looking to make your business better using digital transformation strategies. In this article I want to propose you 5 proven strategies that make your business better; all of them have to do with innovation in the way you and your business communicate.
Transforming your business and the economy is easier than you think
In case you haven’t noticed everything out there is changing. The way we work is changing, the way consumers engage with brand owners is changing, the way businesses interact is changing hence the economy is changing. And I like to think of so-called “crisis” as opportunities to review what we were doing and doing it differently and better. To me, it all has to do with the way we communicate between each other and that’s why innovation in communication is key. I remember research made by Deloitte Global a couple of years ago; in 2017 they showed how consumers are expecting to engage with brand owners in totally different ways. I don’t know nor I can tell if the survey results had to do with the fact they interviewed millennials but the point observed in the survey’s results is that consumers are expecting to establish conversations with businesses using alternate communication ways. So having a complete understanding of these facts will help your business get more traction and push the economy.
With that said, let’s go to the strategies I propose.
1.Enable Omni Channel communications
A few months ago I wrote an article in my blog about the importance of Omni Channel communications. The culture of communication and customer service is changing and a way to increase customer satisfaction and stimulate purchases and up-sells are by allowing a consumer to reach your business through non-traditional ways. If you are an American Express cardholder, you probably know how they allow connections via chat conversations through their website. So enabling Omni Channel communications is to make your business available to conversations with your customers through web chat, SMS, fax and even social media. Sounds weird? Maybe, but it’s a fact consumers prefer interactions using these alternate ways.
Let me give you an example. The other day I was calling to a prospect that previously had requested information on our solutions. From my desk phone, I called this contact, but I hit his voicemail. A couple of minutes later I got an SMS from this lead asking me if I didn’t mind to assist him over SMS because he was in a waiting room and he did not want to disturb other people but needed pricing as soon as possible. So we engaged in a text conversation. If you read that quickly you probably missed that the initial conversation started over my business landline and then the customer texted back. So because our communication platform is omni channel I was able to get an incoming text message over a landline and send messages back using my computer. At some point, we could jump to a video call and in his smartphone, he was seeing my screen. So for that particular interaction, I engaged with my contact using chat, video and screen sharing.
Do consider you don’t want to be ‘Multi-channel’ but ‘Omni Channel’. That means making sure your customer reps or employees use only one platform to connect with a customer through different communication channels. If you have to run different platforms, then your business is losing agility.
2.Run your communications from the cloud
If you want your business to grow, you have to unify your communications in the cloud. By unified you should understand having the same communication experience regardless of the device you use. Using the cloud for your business communications will offer unparalleled competitive advantages such as connecting with colleagues, customers, and prospect from anywhere and from any device.
A friend of mine tells me that recently he was closing his law office on a Friday at 5 pm and he had to pick up his kids by 5:30. Just a couple of minutes before the right time to leave to pick up his kids on time a visitor came into his website and started asking the type of questions that suggest a new case is about to be open; he knew it was a good lead but had to be somewhere else and didn’t want to lose the opportunity. Luckily my friend had a cloud-based communications service and was able to switch the chat conversation from his computer to a mobile app so he could continue the conversation while on the go. If your communication platform is bounded to a box in a closet inside your office, it’s very unlikely you could do the same. What if you are at the airport and your flight is delayed and you have an important team meeting at the destination; you don’t want to postpone it, you just connect from your smartphone, tablet or laptop. So the cloud basically allows taking communications with you.
If you want to know more benefits of cloud communications, you can read another article here but the points I’m trying to make is that today more than ever businesses need to be agile and flexible and that means you need to be able to offer your business communications the opportunity of being mobile and more collaborative.
3. Allow virtual teams and virtual customer care reps
I think it was Bill Gates who about two decades said something similar to ‘you don’t have to go there to be there‘ and today that is absolutely true. Internet and the cloud have brought us with new concepts such as Tele-Presence and Tele-Working. You can build a team and they not necessarily have to be in the same place to achieve results. By deploying unified communications and collaboration platforms in the cloud you are giving your business unlimited flexibility to grow.
With cloud-based contact center or unified communication technology, a business may have multiple branches seamless integration with customer reps working from different places or even with employees living in different countries. What if you have an office in the east coast say in New York and work standard labor hours from 9 am to 5 am but you have the opportunity to reach deals in the west coast say in California? Will you have someone in New York to extend its shift and stay till 8 pm in order to be reachable? or you just have some in California working the same hours from 9 to 5 but connecting through the cloud?
With cloud collaboration and communication is easy to extend your team beyond physical walls. It may be the case that having virtual teams is the most cost-effective way to operate your business.
4. Make your business’s communications social network compatible
If you take a look at the results from Deloitte Global survey, there is an increasing demand for conversations and interactions in social networks between brand owners and consumers. Social media is a good source of leads so you really don’t want to miss this. Social networks don’t work as a full sales channel ‘per se’ but they are indeed a good lead generation or customer service channel. That’s why is important to have your cloud communication platform to integrate with whatever is the social network that works for your business.
5.Enable self-service through robots
Yes, we are living those Artificial Intelligence days and you can’t turn your back on this topic. I said it at the beginning of this article: everything is changing! and you have to make your business move according to the dynamic of this new economic era.
When you enable Chat Bots or Voice Bots for your business you are increasing your business capacity and why not reducing operational costs. If you have a unified communication solution that offers you analytics and reporting you may find that there are many subjects that are frequently asked. Why not automate them? Having a robot in most cases helps businesses to increase customer satisfaction and to reduce churn. And it’s not a matter of creating an answer for every possible question; that’s cheating. I’m talking about using artificial intelligence engines such as those from Google DialogFlow or Amazon Lex, to name just a few, to create scenarios where the robot can predict conversations and offer a proper reply. Think of a prospect calling your office after hours or a web visitor that needs to take an informed decision on a weekend. That’s how the business world is working right now.
Since we live in times of changes it’s important that your business adapts to them. Innovation in technology offers your business a chance to adapt to modern times. Transform your communications and you will transform your business and the economy.
In LinkedIP we provide award-winning Unified Communication solutions and Omni Channel technologies. Our XCALLY Omni Channel suite is the ideal solution for business looking for better customer engagement. For more information on how these technologies can help you please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.