The Wright brothers gave us wings, Watson and Crick illuminated the structure of life and Lennon and McCartney brought music to our ears. It’s clear, when collaboration works it can produce magical results. Conversely, when collaboration fails it can just as profoundly lead to the demise of a partnership. Ironically, Lennon & McCartney later proved this when The Beatles terminated.
Successful collaboration then is the be all and end all of an organisation’s prosperity. It’s the dream not just of the CEO, but every contributor, that their organisation can share ideas and work together in focused and productive ways. It’s better for the business and for staff satisfaction, which incidentally is better for the business. See how it works?...
Unfortunately, the endeavour for successful collaboration is rather a journey than a destination, in that the goal is rarely fulfilled and upheld. Poor communication can all too often hinder the productivity of a business, and many businesses still struggle with this today, despite many years of trying. Go back many years to an Econsultancy report in 2012 where, 96% of executives cited ineffective communications as the main cause of workplace failures. How can we avoid this?
What is Unified Communications?
Unified Communications (UC) is more than just the latest telecoms buzzword: it’s a crucial way for all businesses to capitalise their resources and ensure workers are collaborating as well as possible. UC includes products (hardware, software and services) that combine all your communication tools and channels to provide a consistent, unified user experience for your agents.
Using the internet, UC Integrates voice and data with critical business process applications, such as CRM, ERP and ATS. Users in a network are able to access communications from any device at any time beyond normal data, voice and mobile communications services, incorporating business applications, documents, office calls, emails and mobile numbers. Even schedules are all available across the UC system. This allows your organisation and colleagues to stay connected, across all communication points, at all times.
How can Unified Communications Increase Productivity?
With a rise in remote workers and more companies using hot-desking, mobility in the workplace has become a crucial factor with regards to business productivity. From meetings with clients to on-site appearances, the tasks of an insurance agent take them to many places remote from the physical workplace. At Telefonix, we understand that employees need to be able to answer their desk phone from a variety of devices and from wherever they’re working.
Offering employees greater mobility and the ability to work at home has been linked to increased productivity and greater job satisfaction. Thanks to the provision of softphones, employees are able to answer their deskphone from a softphone on their PC, smartphone or tablet. Whether working off site, from home, or even on mobile, workers are able to use real time communications to deliver first time, every time. This means employees no longer need to give out their office mobile number, or worse their personal number because they can take their softphone with them. Considering that 60% of workers carry out communications outside office hours, the one number concept is the number one concept.
We understand the musical-chairs nature of hot-desking. For businesses that execute this organisation system, softphones are the perfect asset to facilitate workplace mobility. That’s why we’re here to help your business leverage the extensive range of mobile capabilities via an easy-to-use web portal. Through an intuitive interface, you’re able to easily manage and configure the features of the system in accordance with your organisation's changing requirements. This avoids restraining your employees to a fixed handset, all without the need of burdening your IT department.
The great thing about face to face communication is being able to identify who to interact with and when. Without sight we would be in a perpetual state of interrogative babel at the slightest sense of movement around us. Not a very productive work environment… But when you think about it, this kind of latency is exactly what legacy systems evoke, albeit in a less apocalyptic manner: Email a colleague with a query whilst you sit there continually refreshing your inbox in blind hope that they reply quickly enough so you can resolve your issue.
That’s what makes the presence feature of Unified Communications one of its most cited benefits. Knowing where you’re intended recipients are and whether they’re available in real time speeds up productivity by avoiding unnecessary call transfers. It also enables employees to choose the best form of communication for the task at hand.
Instant messaging (IM) is another helpful UC feature for businesses. It’s often said “Many ideas grow better when transplanted into another mind than the one where they sprang up.” Others simply call it brainstorming. However you feel about it, Instant messages allow for employees to bounce ideas off one another more productively. The spontaneity and informality of IM reduces unnecessary internal emails. With users already accustomed to IM apps such as Whatsapp outside of the workplace, this type of interaction will seem second nature.
According to research conducted by Cisco Systems, 50% of companies using a presence feature “reported fewer repeated messages, or telephone tag - with many employees saving as much as three hours per week, or 150 hours per year. With the average U.S. worker earning about $35 per hour, an office with 25 employees can recover more than $130,000 in productive work time annually.”
We all know how important customer service is to any business. The presence feature can help in this area too. Employees are able to inform their colleagues about their current status and control how their calls are handled. Integration with a CRM means that service reps can quickly access an agents availability and personnel skills to help resolve a query and transfer the customer as necessary. Giving businesses the opportunity to make first contact resolution a reality facilitates a more transparent and fluid customer service operation. This avoids having to make customers wait on the line whilst they track down the appropriate colleague.
Keep Everyone On the Same Page
With UC, you bring the conference room to your device. Virtually shared workspaces, whiteboarding and file sharing allows workers to participate in a real-time conference wherever they are. After the initial novelty of high definition video conferencing has worn off and everyone’s finished saying “how incredible is this?!”, online collaboration becomes second nature as employees work together editing and commenting on shared documents in real time.
The presence feature presents itself here too. Whereas conventional conferencing systems are reservation-based, unified communications allows available employees to be added quickly to conversations when needed. Having one single cohesive channel to communicate via eliminates any organisational headaches that balancing multiple claims at once can conjure. Now you can say goodbye to tedious emails or unnecessary adventures around the office. Initiating ad hoc meetings can be done with a click of a button there and then.
Clever Call Control
Call control is a process that is used in telecommunications networks to monitor and maintain connections once they have been established. Private Branch Exchange, or PBX as it’s otherwise known, is a telephone switching system that unifies all calls from inside and outside a business’ network into one internal network. This allows co-workers and clients to be connected through a simple series of extensions. Running on software in the cloud that an IT technician can directly operate eliminates the need for users requiring specific hardware and reduces costs.
The cloud has brought us many good things, namely a lot of new acronyms to get our heads around, but predominantly it has brought the silver lining to an organisation's productivity and communication issues. The utilitarian approach to communications really is the best. When everyone is better connected, efficiency, productivity and general workplace satisfaction goes through the roof.
Hosted Telephony Solutions are the perfect option. Reliable and proven, and with several cost-effective pricing options to suit the needs of your business, our solution is the metaphorical fist bump your employees have all been waiting for.
To find out more about the cloud phone system and your business needs, why not talk to one of our Solution Experts.