The ability for enterprises to be able to optimize business processes through communications enablement will increase speed, improve time to market, and improve efficiencies. This is important for companies that want to gain or maintain a competitive edge in their field. There are many ways that unified communications and collaboration (UCC) tools can help optimize business processes, and value-added resellers (VARs) can help bring some of these to the attention of their enterprise clients.
High levels of UCC are often built in mind with the ability to integrate communications input/output that reacts in response to a business process. This requires an innate knowledge of the business, who is communicating with whom, and the paths that communications are taking. Here are seven ways that UCC solutions can help optimize business processes:
1. Unblocking Bottlenecks
Many companies experience bottlenecks in ordering, production, and service. By including UCC into these different business processes, bottlenecks can be significantly minimized. Typically, communications issues create these bottlenecks. For instance, products are not ordered accurately because of missing SKUs or inventory issues, production does not receive expedited orders in a timely manner, product delivery is not coordinated correctly, and after-sale service is not communicated well. By communications-enabling these business processes with some element of UCC, product ordering can become more accurate, because the inventory system will notify someone immediately that SKUs are not in inventory and can reorder and expedite the required components; order entry systems will automatically notify the sales department that there will be a delay in the order and can keep both the salesperson and the customer apprised with texts, email, or instant messages (IMs) with the status of the order, helping keep the customer happy. UCC tools that can be used to unclog these bottlenecks include IMs, text messages, and emails, which can automatically be set to trigger a process into motion to fix the situation.
2. Ease of Message Access and Response
When workers are unable to receive their messages and respond to them in a timely manner, a communication breakdown occurs. This can affect businesses on all levels, from sales to service to overall profitability. Unified messaging is a UCC tool that can be used by companies in order to improve message access and response. Fax, email, and voice messages can all be delivered to a universal inbox, saving time in checking messages. Message notification is universal for all message types and can be accessed from any device. Messages can be forwarded to other users in order to save time and improve response time, and users can have their email messages read out loud to them when reading them themselves is not an option. Users can prioritize messages to be read first and can even have the system automatically dial back the sender. These tools prevent voicemail and email tag and speed up the process of receiving and responding to messages.
3. Finding the Right Person the First Time
There are times when a worker needs to find a subject-matter expert immediately in order to avoid affecting a sale or customer service. This can happen with employees in the office, mobile workers, and employees who work remotely. In order to resolve these issues, VARs should recommend a UCC method that meets the organization’s needs, like single-number reach, where the employee has one number and can be reached regardless of his or her location or the device that he or she is using. Presence management can be used in order to locate and determine the busy status of any employee in the directory, and then an IM can be used to make contact. Softphones can be connected to corporate VPNs so that callers can dial a home worker’s office number and the call will ring on his or her laptop screen for immediate access.
4. Trouble Mitigation
UCC tools can be set up to automatically detect and report trouble. For instance, when network scores drop below a certain level, a notification can be triggered to have an engineer work with the problem immediately in order to prevent further issues.
5. Joining Groups for Immediate Problem Resolution
When a problem arises that requires a specific team to resolve, UCC tools can be embedded into business processes in order to automatically set up a conference call, Web conference, video call, or whiteboard session so that the problem can be addressed on a team level.
6. Automatically Determining Where Assistance Is Required
UCC tools can be integrated to send notifications to, for instance, supervisors when assistance is needed. Instead of having a call center supervisor randomly monitor calls in order to ensure accurate agent training or customer satisfaction, the call center can integrate with tools that recognize certain words or phrases that can trigger a notification to the supervisor in order to automatically join a call. This can help prevent unhappy customer situations, can help supervisors understand the need for additional training, and will quickly help resolve problems through preventative care.
7. Customer Care
Integrating CRM systems with call centers can help improve customer care. Agents will receive a “screen pop” on their computer screen when a caller entered into the system makes contact and allows agents to review previous orders and issues. Agents can also see if anyone else has recently worked with the customer and can enter notes and updates about their current interaction.
There are many ways to UCC-enable enterprise business processes, and as more automation is required and desired by organizations, there will be more ways to communications-enable these tools. VARs can work with customers in order to determine which UCC solutions will allow for the best current and future business-process enablement in order to make the best investment possible.
What are common business processes that your company UCC-enables? Please comment below.