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How the cloud can enhance SME business communications

by uma


By Neal McMahon, Regional Sales Lead, Avaya


The Pandemic has touched on multiple aspects for staff worldwide. It’s accelerated remote working to unprecedented levels, with over 80% of businesses allowing their employees work remotely post-pandemic (Gartner).

Businesses recognise that in order to keep customers happy, and to stay functioning, they need to stress the prominence of technology and its impact on the employee experience (EX) as they learn to embrace this new remote working model. This is backed up by a report from Gartner, emphasising that the employee experience at work should be comparable to the experiences they have out in the world as consumers when contacting each other and using social media – effortless, personalised, and consistent. This affords higher staff retention, employees trying harder and wanting to do well in the labour force, having an affirmative knock-on effect on long-term revenue growth and ROI.

To provide the best and gain a competitive edge, a business should undergo a digital transformation and new data from PWC reveals that some 60% of senior executives believe digital transformation is necessary for business growth. Still, failure rates range from 60% – 80%, with recent research revealing only five percent met or went beyond expectations. This could be put down to various factors, including the choice of technology, lack of management support, or simply misjudging the work involved. Although transformation is not a straightforward choice for lots of companies, it’s important to get started and moving business communications to the cloud is a great place to start because of the positive impact on the employee experience – as well as the customer experience.

Understanding communications from the cloud is simpler than it seems — in fact, most people are probably already using it when they use a messaging app to share a gif, video call a colleague, or FaceTime friend — all of that is cloud communication. Even opening an app to create a simple video message is UCaaS or Unified Communications as a Service.

For businesses, UCaaS expands communications options, going outside effortless voice into chat/messaging, and video meetings. Moreover, it can help to simplify communications. For example, an employee has just one number for voice, texting, and fax, and that number carries across all their devices, whether they are on a desk phone, mobile, or laptop. For customers, UCaaS means improved access, and having a one stop solution creating an all-inclusive customer experience which makes them feel appreciated.

UCaaS is much more than a cloud phone system or a traditional PBX — it’s an integrated package that includes all the voice features business have come to expect and come to rely on, packaged with network access and very attractive long distance or 0800 services. That means one bill for everything plus the benefits of a radically simplified administrative interface, no-touch software and security updates, regular new features, and the ability to scale across the country or around the globe if and when needed — all without the need to buy extra capacity. This means a business can grow exactly as it needs to and the additional communications applications are simple to integrate – for example, you can add unified communications to over 180 third-party business applications like Office 365, Salesforce, or Google.

As we head into the third year of hybrid working, employees have shown that they’re able to work remotely with customers and co-workers although it can be confusing when faced with many communications channels, potentially getting in the way of efficiency. Some might be operating one app for video conferencing, another for chat, or an organisation’s file-sharing platform, or a task management tool. Corresponding research reveals that only two-fifths of workers are able to cut down on the number of apps and tools they utilise to under three in order to finalise a work project, resulting in app exhaustion.

When recounting customer insights with colleagues, numerous have to switch between favoured apps to others, which are the client’s choice. Additionally, numerous platforms require the creation of passwords for accounts, forced downloading and installing of clients, plugins or apps which can cause delays, frustrations, and confusion for all parties. Busy staff and customers view these additions as unwelcome and unnecessary and on already stacked day.

Today, employees need to be able to keep in touch with customers and clients in their preferred way, whether that be via meetings, chat, collaboration, task management, file sharing, video, or virtual rooms. Businesses need to ensure that they give employees the necessary technologies, such as UCaaS, to help them keep in touch easily and effectively.

The best single-app team collaboration solutions and use of UCaaS progresses the experience for customers who want to connect via multiple options – as and when they want. It needs to consider their own preferences regarding availability, presence, call forwarding, messaging, and video meetings to be easily orchestrated, removing the burden from admin staff, IT, or a reception.

To conclude, a well-implemented staff experience forms the basis for a great customer or client experience. Using the correct technology tools, staff can problem solve more easily and promptly, in conjunction with other colleagues, departments, and disciplines.

The uptake of remote working has presented an ideal chance to review productivity and collaboration. So, ensure you choose the right tools that remove stress instead of causing it.

About Author:

Neal McMahon, Regional Sales Lead, Avaya

Neal McMahon leads Avaya’s UCaaS sales efforts in the UK and Ireland. With over 20 years’ experience in networks and communications, he is a specialist in cloud technologies and how this can help organisations with new ways of working and business transformation


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