In my last post I, picked up on a theme that almost all of you can relate to. These days, when is it ever business-as-usual? Or, when it is, how long does that last? If there’s one constant in business now, it’s change – not only is it constant, but the pace keeps getting faster. When analog phones ruled, people didn’t multi-task – because they couldn’t. Of course, the allure of multi-tasking is a myth, but when phones and the U.S. Mail were the main forms of communicating, everyone worked at the same pace and we all went home at 5pm without a care in the world.
Change, of course, is a sign of progress, and in principle that’s a good thing. However, when nothing stands still and we’re locked into a 24/7 always-on world, I’ll take analog any day. The machines are winning, folks, but I’ll leave that tempting thread alone for now; let’s stay on message.
The drivers of today’s economy won’t be changing any time soon. Globalization and the borderless economics of the Internet ensure a state of relentless competition along with I-want-it-now-and-I-want-it-my-way customer expectations. These have become universal realities for all businesses, and you just can’t go home at 5pm anymore and return to a neat and tidy workspace the next day. The net result is the death of loyalty and the ascendancy of price-based competition where the ability to command a premium becomes the rarified domain of super-brands like Apple or high-end luxury brands that are very difficult to rip off.
I’m painting a pretty gloomy scenario, and while this is not capitalism at its best, there is definitely hope and a better way. Many businesses have learned that customer service is the best way to differentiate, mainly because you cannot commoditize the human touch. The more the machines are winning, the harder this becomes to find, but all humans know it when they see it. So, if you think back to the contact center scenario in my last post, it should be clear where Unified Communications has a role to play.
By nature, businesses don’t like uncertainty, and UC can go a long way to helping people stay above water. We all have too many voicemails piling up in our inbox, along with an endless treadmill of emails that become lost in the ether if they sit unread for more than a day. Think about those voicemails for a moment – why are they there? Of course, because you missed the call, but even more telling is the fact that it’s simply too much effort to listen to them.
These are simple examples of how incredibly inefficient our tools are for today’s pace of business. Is it any surprise that text and IM are the tools of choice when you really need to get a hold of someone? Things are moving so quickly that if you can’t connect with someone right away, the window closes and you have to move on to other things. Nowhere is this truer than in the contact center, and nowhere are the stakes so high. Whether agents need to communicate with customers or with co-workers who can help solve a problem, responsiveness makes all the difference for getting positive outcomes.
For regular readers here, it should be evident why and how UC is so well suited to this environment. I’ve addressed this extensively in my posts, and I urge you to scan through them to flesh these ideas out further. If there are still some missing pieces, drop me a line and I’ll make sure to cover them in upcoming posts. Not to worry – I’m not always-on – you don’t have to reply in the next 30 seconds. I’ll be logging off soon and coming back to my tidy desk in the morning.