Enterprises that carefully plan and install Internet-based unified communications and collaboration (UCC) solutions gain a significant advantage in their ability to integrate with and enhance their business software with communication capabilities. Ways of enhancing business processes are being driven by growing popularity in social media, big data, cloud services, and the Internet of Things, which all provide new ways to improve processes, with the end result being better customer service, stronger marketing strategies and increased revenues.
Companies are basing their UCC platform decisions more and more on their ability to incorporate integrated communications with businesses processes. The most common software packages that are integrated with UCC systems include customer relationship management (CRM), contact center and office productivity tools. Approximately 40 percent of enterprises implement CRM, 30 percent enable contact centers and 20 percent integrate office productivity tools as part of their UCC systems. These software tools, when integrated with UCC help strengthen business processes in the following ways:
1. Relationship Management
CRM tools are gaining ground as a result of communications enablement. This is where customer information shows on a screen when an incoming call comes in. Studies show that CRM screen pops are one of the most widely adopted forms of process integration (26 percent), allowing employees to understand immediately whom they are dealing with, what has happened in the past with the customer, and how important the call is based on buying history. CRM tools are especially important in contact center environments. Screen pops can also be used in conjunction with interactive voice response (IVR) systems, where callers can use voice or touchtone input in order to enter information, for instance, for bill payment. Based on the caller input, the IVR system can populate a screen and transfer it with the caller to, for instance, a billing agent. Callers get faster service, leading to increased satisfaction, and agents are better prepared to deal with each caller when they are pre-armed with customer information and history. Agents’ jobs are easier to perform as well due to the integration of click-to-call, allowing a number to be dialed automatically without ever leaving the software application. Because CRM platforms are widely available in the cloud as well as on premises, they are becoming more popular for all types of enterprises that want to improve relationship management.
2. Contact Center
Contact center software integrates well with UCC. Customers used to simply make a phone call in order to contact a company’s sales or support call centers, but with the growth of millennials and the advent of contact centers, things are changing rapidly. Customers want to be able to reach a company when they want and the way they want to, so the enterprise contact center is growing in order to include multi-channel access. While still available by phone, customers can now go to a company’s website and click to chat or click to call with a live agent. Other customers may prefer to use email, video chat, or social media in order to contact a company. Contact center agents are now trained to handle multiple types of contacts in order to give their customers a choice and the best customer service possible. With UCC integration, callers waiting in queue in order to speak to an agent can choose to initiate a callback when an agent becomes free, preventing the caller from the aggravation of waiting on hold. Hosted contact centers are now readily available as well, making integration of UCC easier and more cost-effective. Add in a CRM system and the UCC capabilities become more effective for both customers and companies.
3. Office Productivity
Office productivity is application-based software used for producing information, such as documents, presentations, worksheets, databases, charts, graphs, and digital video, as well as providing door security, paging, and camera integration. When enterprises integrate UCC into their office productivity software, communication is extended by leaps and bounds. The scope of integrating UCC with office productivity includes being able to communicate in real time during document creation, the ability to use IP phones in order to provide door security, the ability to use federated presence among multiple locations with diverse UCC systems. It can also include integrating loudspeaker paging systems with IP telephony, providing IP camera security and door-opening capabilities as well as providing voice mail to email presentation. All of this integration contributes to more productivity, ease of use, and time savings.
Channel partners are best suited to provide these integration services for their customers, and the three examples discussed above are the most common and most successful forms of UCC and business process integration. Understanding customer needs is the key to success.
Does your company offer services integrating UCC with business processes? Is this becoming increasingly important to your customer base? Please comment below.