Miscommunication is frustrating, especially if it happens in the workplace. Based on statistics, up to 74% of personnel have felt left-out of company news or information. Do you have communication gaps at your company? Think about all the problems issues resulting from miscommunication may cause – it hinders workplace collaboration, and leads to unhappy employees.

Moreover, miscommunication can be more alarming if it happens between your company and your customers. Customer dissatisfaction is sometimes reason enough for them to switch brands. Clear channels of communication help maintain customer satisfaction.

Problems with managing internal and external communication are often the result of trying to manage too many channels. One of the ways to maintain efficient communications with employees and customers is by adopting Unified Communications or UC. Before going through the different ways UC improves customer and employee experience, let’s get our definitions in order.

What is unified communications?

The concept of unified communications entails the unification of communication channels within a single management platform. This will often include voice calls, text messaging, instant messaging, email, video calling, video conferencing, and so on. Unified Communications can also be integrated with other workplace processes to streamline operations.

Source: Sangoma

Unified Communication systems are used in every sector across the economy. They are used in the cloud contact centre, for delivery and tracking, dropshipping, and health services, to give a few examples. It is most useful for organizations that utilize multiple communication channels and require continuous real-time communications. Now let’s look at how unified communications help in improving employee and customer experiences.

Seamless shift to work-from-home

The shift to remote working is something more businesses and employees are taking advantage of. It can help reduce costs like office space, and increase the pool of suitable candidates when hiring. But the shift to remote work also presents unique challenges. To give you a clearer picture, imagine this. In an office-based setup, every member of a team has a desk. Even if there are partitions in-between stations, everyone has some idea of what the other person is doing. It’s also easy to communicate with colleagues.

This entire scenario is non-existent in a work-from-home setting. Furthermore, since employees work remotely, supervisors find it harder to track productivity. This can be a significant issue for contact centers.

The implementation of UC can streamline remote work protocols and improve measuring productivity metrics. Establishing work-from-home decorum and culture can help diminish communication gaps within the company. Additionally, the utilization of IOT devices widens the room for interaction between colleagues. There should be a balance of flexibility and structure in observing remote work etiquette. Here are some attributes to consider:

  • Supervisors and employees should set clear and realistic expectations
  • Update presence management tool
  • Be prepared for voice calls, video calls, or a video conference
  • Be respectful of colleagues’ time
  • Set realistic turnaround time for deliverables

Ultimately, the proper work from home policy relies on respect between colleagues and a willingness to be productive. Logical rules and policies should be put in place to support this.

Better first call resolution process

In the ideal world, customers expect their concerns resolved by a customer support agent on first contact. Call centres call this a First Call Resolution or FCR. Since UC promotes streamlined collaboration and communication, employees can easily access resources they need to answer customer queries. If there are outlying cases, personnel should be able to easily reach a colleague if they need help.

Source: Business 2 Community

Unified Communication platforms should be used to review customer communication history. This helps support staff to provide improved support. By combining multiple communication channels, operators can quickly do things like email a customer’s billing statement while on the phone.

Now, to notch-up the first call resolution rate, businesses integrate their UC to the customer relationship management (CRM) platform. The integration reduces manual inputting errors that may cause problems between the customer and the business. It also smoothens customer service processes.

Improved communication monitoring

Problems resulting from trying to manage too many communication channels happen all too easily. These communication gaps may bring discord to a team.

If your UC strategy is being done correctly, then you can expect to receive and deliver good quality communication. This means messages are sent and/or received across multiple channels in a timely manner. This is why it is important to monitor and maintain UC infrastructure and processes.

One mode of communication in UC where you should optimize call monitoring is video conferencing. You need to put guidelines in place for how video is used. Specifically, it’s also worth thinking about things like:

  • Background noise
  • Lighting
  • The quality of the equipment
  • Internet connection speed
  • Video quality

With video emerging as one of the major elements of UC, it’s important to consider how your company will utilize this channel. After all, pretty much all of your customers have a smartphone with video capabilities.

Strengthen employees and customer relationships through collaboration

Businesses operate thanks to the collaboration between work colleagues, and how staff engages with customers. Improving collaboration between staff can improve business productivity and profit margins. Meanwhile, any improvement in customer service is likely to increase customer retention.

Source: Slideshare

Unified communications efficiently facilitate the interaction between stakeholders. In fact, a study by Fierce Inc revealed that 86% of employees attributed workplace failure to inadequate collaboration and ineffective communication methods. UC increases workplace productivity by facilitating improved communication among team members.

To put things in perspective, the top companies that are considered great places to work all emphasize the importance of connections. UC is the medium for such connections. It opens the door for collaboration. Because of this, employees feel that they are part of a big team with shared goals. A company that fosters collaboration promotes innovation.

Multiple platforms communications

UC does not depend on the network, operating system, nor the endpoint device. It is a consistent unified platform for the end-user. One way UC provides excellent employee and customer experience is by providing customers with choice.

UC users can choose the communication channel they prefer. Moreover, they can seamlessly switch between the different communication channels without missing a beat. This is because all the modes of communication are unified; information is accessible across all platforms. This can prevent missed memos, missed deadlines, missed messages, or missed calls.

Think about this from the perspective of a customer. Let’s say you have a concern and decided to call customer service. You raised a problem, and the line was cut off. Since you need to go, you decided to send a follow-up email. With UC, the customer service will be able to send you a message advising that the line was cut off, and provide you with the option to continue the conversation by email or a messaging platform.

Summing up

Unified communications help companies manage multiple communication channels. The value of UC to a business comes from the increased efficiency. On the business side, communication smoothens company processes. On the customer side, UC can help with tracking customer history and enabling customers to communicate with staff through their preferred channel.

Many companies attest to the power of seamless collaboration for their organization. No matter the size of your company, improving collaboration and communication can help promote the exchange of information and ideas, and improve productivity.