When the majority of modern world’s workforce were told to “stay at home – for months” many may have wondered how the business world and its complex supply chains would cope. Just how far could company practices and the technologies that underpin them stretch, bend and flex before finally snapping? Most of us know of business casualties from the pandemic-era but we will also have encountered countless ways that companies (and not-for-profits) discovered a degree of flexibility and innovation they never knew they had. Forced change is often irrevocable, and that is certainly true for the remote-working revolution that was forged in the furnace of national lockdowns.
Everyone from business directors and team leaders, through to individuals on payroll and freelance creatives found new ways of communicating, collaborating and creating together, sometimes with increased efficiency (no more sitting in traffic for an hour) and sometimes at lower cost. Some might say the world had been heading towards a much greater degree of connectivity for a while and the lockdowns simply fast-forwarded us in that trajectory; they are probably right. What that means for business now though is that a unified approach to communications must take centre-stage. Getting it right is an essential strategy.
It makes sense then that underpinning the new business eco-system with its hybrid of face-to-face and virtual communications, multiple channels and super-fast flow of information, must be a technologically reliable and strategically cohesive unified communications infrastructure. Team members need to be well trained in their operating systems so they can function optimally and messaging must be unified across all platforms and channels like never before.
Getting the in-house team communications right
Many teams now need to incorporate virtual team-work with some or all of the members working remotely. Some teams have returned en-masse to the office, but a large number have not, with many staff choosing to work at least some of the time from home or from some other remote space such as a hot-desking community hub. Many companies are also employing more geographically-dispersed teams operating across different time-zones and with little-to-no opportunities for in-person connection.
A high capability infrastructure, centred on cloud-based technology and a solid network with ample bandwidth is needed so that all team members can contribute to the creative process, to decision-making and to problem-solving, no matter where they are based and without feeling like they’re a second-rate member of the team. Ensuring that virtual meetings are properly scheduled with microphones working and no unwanted video-freezes is just the start!
Getting customer communications right
Customers (and prospective clients) now have more opportunities to hear about a business and engage with it, whether through a website, social media presence, email, phone calls or instant messaging. Customers want to make enquiries and sometimes complaints and they expect a quick response. Technology can replace the need for human interaction sometimes but we’ve all experienced the frustration of virtual chat bots who simply don’t understand what we’re asking about. Ensuring everything from back-end CRM to on-hold voice messages share a unified message and meets customers’ needs in real-time is both more complex and more important than ever; ideally you need the right unified communications software as part of single platform that incorporates all customer interactions for a seamless experience.
Engaging stakeholders effectively
Suppliers, media, social influencers, community leaders, the public and even competitors all feed into the web of human connection that surrounds every organisation and the most successful managers have always kept these groups appropriately informed, kept dialogue open and have settled issues before they’ve escalated. A truly unified communications solution that enables real-time dialogue and fast responses can provide a genuine strategic advantage – minimising dis-jointed messages or at worst, mis-information – all while helping to manage the company’s reputation and relationships for long-term viability.
Here’s what you want to look for:
- User-friendly – your communications solution must be usable, easily understood by all, and easy to troubleshoot without the need for a tech expert on the team.
- Security – protecting the confidentiality of your communications, data and information flow is paramount.
- Integrated – you need an all-in-one solution where everything from instant messaging with customers to video-chats between team members can operate in an integrated way without the need for multiple apps or platforms.
- Flexible – your communications infrastructure needs to be scalable as your business needs change or the industry transforms.
- Reliable – you’re looking for a trusted provider who has industry-leading technical capability that automatically updates, teamed with personalised customer-service and support 24/7 and all year round.
To find out more about how mayflower can provide a communications infrastructure that supports a unified hybrid workforce, get in touch.