Originally published on JustInTimeCX.com. See the article here.
So, it has been a couple of crazy months. As states and localities assess and plan how to reopen, or reenter, “regular” life, we have so many new challenges to tackle. I hope you’ve spent some time reflecting on your preparedness, your business continuity planning or lack thereof, and the insights you’ve gained. Being faced with unanswerable questions has pushed many executives outside their comfort zones - which obviously needed to happen. It’s now not so odd to ponder things that seemed borderline insane just last quarter, like:
- How will we meet if no one can travel or be in a closed conference room?
- What are our remote work policies? Do we even have any?
- What happens if staff literally can’t come in because people can’t congregate?
- Are we really wearing masks and staying six feet away from our colleagues?
- Does the technology we use today support the changes we need to make for a better tomorrow?
It’s a lot to consider as a business. But it’s even more layered when we think about all of the consumers those businesses serve. Have you been able to maintain those relationships utilizing a remote workforce? A recent Fast Company article accurately characterized the Coronavirus outbreak as the world’s largest work-from-home experiment. Very apropos, don’t you think? Compounding the crazy is that Google and Facebook have announced plans for employees to WFH for the rest of 2020. Saying, “hold my beer,” companies like Twitter and Square have announced “work-from-home forever” options.
An April 2020 Gartner CFO study revealed “nearly three in four CFOs plan to shift at least 5% of previously on-site employees to permanently remote positions post-COVID 19.”
By this point, we’ve all come to terms with the fact that people have children and dogs and actual lives -- we’ve seen the reality of WFH play out on live television with newscasters and SNL actors and expert commentators. Fine, it’s raw and honest and I’m here for it because before we were all pretending we did nothing but work. That said, when you have customer service representatives who serve as the front door to your organization, what does this mean for the customer experience?
- How do you ensure voice quality from your employees’ alternative work environments?
- How do you maintain compliance in a remote work situation?
- What’s the financial impact on the organization?
- Are your operational costs usage-based, or do you absorb a lot of unnecessary costs?
- Does your business continuity and/or disaster recovery plan require you to pay annually for licenses you don’t necessarily utilize?
- Can your reps work from anywhere and give your customers what they demand and deserve?
I’ve been giving this a lot of thought because NOW is the time for organizations to figure out what their next step is and how they are going to manage in a post-COVID world. There are a lot of great solutions out there that enable connection and collaboration. You’ve seen some like Zoom become overnight rock stars, endure tremendous criticism, rise, and fall. One that I learned about recently is a new entrant to the customer experience/contact center/unified communications market. This company comes on the scene with what it says is the only cloud-native platform that unites contact center, unified communications, and real-time API capabilities into a single pane of glass that enables actual (not sort-of) omnichannel interactions, will never go down (100% SLA), and lets you pay only for what you use with per-user-per-day pricing. Meet Edify.
They told me about one of their new customers - a global eCommerce company with operations across 10 countries. The company’s environment consisted of four different systems -- ShoreTel, Twilio, Zendesk and Bright Metrics -- which led to several challenges, including:
- Getting valuable insight into the agent and customer experience
- Repeated outages
- Management complexities
- High cost
- Too many internal resources required to maintain the systems
The company is now using Edify Huddle ML for a single-pane-of-glass contact center, unified communications, and ticketing functionality and has cut its operating costs by 60% by replacing four solutions with one.
In all honesty, this sounds great to me. Sign me up. As leaders, I think the onus is on us to stop pretending that “the way we’ve always done it” is still enough. We’ve gotten that message loud and clear. It is not. We need a new approach to customer care and the tools to enable that. There’s no longer time to push these decisions off or we run the risk of losing our customers to competitors who aren’t hemming and hawing about change. One of the coolest things about Edify is that you can go right on the website and get five users for free to play around with the platform. And they say you can be up and running in 60 minutes.
If you are grappling with these topics, trying to make a vendor shortlist or a buying decision, I’m here and I have lots of experts around me. You also may want to check out this cloud contact center decision framework created by leading industry analyst Donna Fluss of DMG Consulting. Plus, the right vendor will walk you through the transition - and enable you to do it at your own pace.
So, what’s your next step? What does your new approach to customer care look like?