In the age of the internet, your competitors are never more than a mouse click away – even if their office is on the other side of the world. In almost every industry this has increased competition, and contributed to the decline in customer loyalty.
To face these challenges will require a careful blend of people, processes and technology, all focused on how to create the kind of experience that keeps your customers coming back for more. Improved communications should be at the heart of your strategy – here’s how it sets you apart:
Deliver a superior service
The more easily your customers can make contact, the more able you are to resolve their questions, issues and close deals. The trouble is the sheer number of communications channels available – email, instant message (IM) and webchat, SMS, video calling, social media and voice calls.
Being able to engage effectively with customers across these channels gives you an instant advantage over your competitors who cannot. Your customers can contact you when and how they like, which is crucial for time-poor clients who prefer convenience.
More than simply being reachable however, your employees need to have access to relevant information as they serve customers. Unified Communications (UC) unites multiple contact channels into a single platform and connects your workforce with the data, knowledge and colleagues they need to deliver an exceptional service.
According to the American Express Global Customer Barometer the most important attribute of great service is speed – taking care of needs quickly. By connecting your channels, staff and customers in this way you’ll be much better placed to give results fast.
The collaborative functionality of UC is great for connecting staff to give the best answer to your customers, but there is value for internal operations too. Allowing colleagues to work on data and files together in real time allows you to quickly generate new ideas and strategies, for instance.
Even when physically separated, employees can share ideas by instant message, share screens, and request a “fresh pair of eyes” to overcome operational bottlenecks. The available data can then be mined to identify potential process efficiencies, or even new products that better meet the needs of your customers.
Personalisation is a powerful tool for engaging customers. Everyone prefers to receive communications and offers that have been tailored to their interests, not least because it’s convenient and time saving. If you can reach the right person with the right message at the right time, you have a good chance of closing the deal – and stealing a lead from your competitors.
Because UC technology collects analytics and usage data, you have a ready store of information to help you understand customer communications preferences. At the most basic level, you can tell that Mrs Smith responds best to calls from her account manager in the afternoon. Or that you have the highest chance of reaching Mr Jones by instant message on a Thursday.
This usage data can be analysed in any way you like. With some lateral thinking and creativity, you will uncover valuable insights that can be used to improve the service you offer – and make you stand out from the crowd.
Make more of your existing resources
With a limited operating budget and finite workforce, you will need to make better use of existing resources to establish a competitive advantage. In most cases this will involve identifying and implementing efficiencies that help your teams work smarter, not harder.
An effective UC platform will allow you to map out the various communications processes used in your business, and to automate some of the most common tasks. Although relatively minor, these automations relieve some of the burden on your employees, freeing them up to focus on your customers and improving the overall experience of doing business with you.
Over time, these efficiencies also yield a significant financial return. Some estimates suggest that nearly one-fifth of every working week is wasted searching for information – equivalent to a full working day of lost productivity. Using UC to simplify the process of finding and sharing data within your business will help to boost productivity, releasing resources and funding for reinvestment in strategic projects that will help your business grow.
Creating a competitive differentiator for your business relies on lots of factors, but a Unified Communications solution can play a key part. By providing an important platform on which to combine people, processes and technology, you will start delivering an improved service thanks to operational efficiencies, choice of communications channel and real time access to data.
Learn more about the role of UC in your growth strategy in our free ebook: Creating The Modern Workplace.