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How Unified Communications and Hosted VoIP Can Improve Your Customer Experience

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Your team is collaborative. Colleagues frequently work off-site thanks to mobility advancements, and everyone is productive. Communication doesn’t just react, it anticipates. More than a third of your staff was born after 1980, consistent with the national average, and they’re ready to work — here, there, anywhere. Flexible work scheduling is a boon to morale even as output remains high. All of this can be said of your team, but what about your clients. Are these same communication and network advancements a boon to them as well?

Quality of customer experience (CX) must count as much as quality of product for a company competing in a mature, crowded vertical. Business and brand perception today is shaped much less by marketing and messaging than by customer experiences, and about a third of customers say they will part with a brand that they love after just one bad customer experience. Social media, customer reviews and message boards give voice to very satisfied and dissatisfied customers.

Unified Communications, Inside and Out

Telephone and email are still among the most popular ways we communicate internally and externally, but their market share has diminished. There’s mobile calling, text messaging, video calling, live chats online, virtual meetings (video conferencing) and others.

We’ve discussed how unified communications can power a business unit’s cohesion, efficiency and productivity. UC can also simplify customer interactions and advance a company’s efforts to elevate customer experiences.

Unified communications (UC) is software that accepts and aggregates previously disparate dimensions of communication and information, such as:

  • Voice
  • Email
  • Text
  • Instant message and presence
  • Video and web conferencing
  • Voice-to-text dictation
  • Desktop sharing and presentations
  • Extension mobility or “twinning” (incoming call/message alert across platforms, such as mobile phone and laptop), and others.

More than half of all businesses have begun transitioning to UC for these features, and budgetary pressures. (According to one estimate, an average business may spend 60-80 percent of its IT budget maintaining, even repairing, legacy technology and applications.)

One in five businesses rely entirely on a UC platform.

What does this have to do with the customer experience? Consider — access to internal resources that empower and edify staff will improve customer experiences because employees will be more knowledgeable and efficient. According to one provider, companies with UC solutions in place had a 30 percent higher customer retention rate, a more than 25 percent higher customer satisfaction rate and an 18 percent higher first-call resolution rate.

UC Powers Ambition

Unified communications is your mobile business solution to the age-old dance of clients and associates who are rarely in one place together, or anywhere for very long. 

And sticking dynamic sales associates at a computer terminal all day is hardly the answer. Sales requires coverage, and face-to-face interaction. But can anyone risk missing a close because they weren’t there to pick up the phone or reply to an email?

With unified communications, your team can make and receive voice calls on a business line (but over their own mobile phone, thus keeping separate channels) or even their work laptop while they’re out in the field. They can jump on an audio or video conference call from their car or a coffee shop, instant message a coworker, or read a voicemail transcript and respond by text. They can even send and receive faxes remotely while seeking that critical face-to-face interaction with a potential client where they are, a new business deal on-site.

UC for Competitive Advantage

Kinetic Business by Windstream’s OfficeSuite Cloud Voice, an award-winning Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) business solution, arrives at your workplace over the top of your Internet connection. 

It will transform how your team affects its influence along a customer’s journey. For example, customer relationship management (CRM) systems, such as SalesForce, can be integrated into your OfficeSuite Cloud Voice platform delivering detailed customer profiles and interaction history to your employees as soon as they take customer calls. This increases your employees’ efficiency and gives them the history to speak knowledgeably to customers, resulting in faster issue resolution and better customer experiences.

UC for Closeness

Unified communications facilitates proximity. Such technology can power purchases by allowing a particularly intimate customer experience. 

Today’s VoIP phone systems also offer voice calling as clear and warm as any POTS line, but with advanced telephony features that won’t leave customers on hold very long or transferred too much. Interactive Voice Response (IVR) and customer callback are available for most VoIP platforms, as well as “twinning” (simultaneous ringing on mobile and other devices), call forwarding and transferring, and locator so that customers spend as little time on the phone not connected to a sales representative or technician as possible.

UC for New Priorities

Unified Communications as a Service enables today’s sales staff and customer care agents to accommodate several communications streams, precipitating more engagement and, by extension, more responsive customer service.

Work is flexible, but the connection isn’t — that means customers benefit from an “always on” trend in business. Sales representatives and managers are more likely to make themselves available for requests and consultations on weeknights and weekends.

In other words, unified communications can increase customer comfort and staff availability all at once.

Kinetic Business’s own UCaaS platform, OfficeSuite Cloud Voice, empowers staff to elevate their customer care “game.” But they’re not the only ones. Such platforms are “hosted,” so workplace IT managers and techs are not responsible for installing and maintaining hardware and software on-site and are, instead, free to support the business.

Because it’s a service, there’s little or no initial investment or capital outlay. OfficeSuite rides over your business’s broadband network, which can be bolstered by Kinetic Business’s  SD-WAN solution or backed up by Always-On, a 4G wireless failover, so you know it will always be there, always on.

UC for ‘Always On’

As many as 80 percent of American consumers say speed, convenience, knowledgeable help and friendly service are the most important elements of a positive customer experience — only 38 percent say sales teams and customer care staff understand their customer experiences. 

UC and UCaaS set your business up to operate more efficiently, deliver a better customer experience and retain happier employees.

Great customer care is a continuous pursuit. It must be made three dimensional — that is, around the clock, and around the customer footprint. Unified Communications as a Service can keep staff responsive to clients on breaks, between breaks and between shifts. Because we are as likely to type communications as speak them (one survey found that 14 percent of all time at work is spent typing emails), UCaaS integrates and converges voice and text lines of communication. 

Keep Customers with UC

As many as one in five employees work from home, and half of all workers are involved with remote or virtual teamwork. On the other end, you have a growing subset of clients who actually prefer to avoid phone calls with company agents, if an automated or self-directed alternative is available. 

More and more, a good customer experience means meeting customers and staff where they each need, or wish, to be.

With Kinetic Business, you have an ideal UCaaS business platform connected to a future-fast Internet network and a suite of supporting solutions that, together, is a package as demonstrably powerful as you need to be for your clients and amid your competition.