Unified Communications Boosts Office Efficiency, Smoothes Customer Interactions
A recent industry blog posts discusses the need for unified communications (UC) and the case IT pros can make for their boards of directors to invest in that segment of operations.
The basic argument at Bdaily makes is that UC provides efficiency for businesses the likes of which they may not have yet realized. Before UC, many companies may have found themselves in the situation where internal communications between employees and external communications between business agents and customers could seemingly grind to a halt. Their systems became overloaded because there weren't enough phone lines, for instance, or because they did not have the ability to sync between phone and Web chat which would leave customers stranded.
Bdaily adds that employees would find their productivity dropping as communication demands piled up. Furthermore, operational costs could go through the roof because of unbalanced loads on local servers.
UC can solve many of those problems through the way in which it brings together all modes of connection – voice, video, text, social media... – and by operating efficiently either through local or cloud-based load balancing.
The easiest place to consider when beginning this discussion is the call center. It is the hub of all external communications for many businesses and can easily see overloads when communications channels are not properly handled. A UC environment will first begin to make a world of difference by routing calls to the correct call center agents. With a voice call, for example, a caller will likely begin with the first touch point of an interactive voice response (IVR) system. He will navigate through a menu to reach the product support callers and be routed directly to someone who is knowledgeable about those sorts of issues.
The IVR will hopefully lead him to the right spot, but if that goes awry and the call center agent in question must transfer the caller, a proper UC system will allow the first agent to speak to the receiving agent and inform him about the situation. At this point, the customer will be transferred but will not have to repeat everything he said to the first agent. This saves time and costs by being more efficient. It is also less intense for the caller and can lead to a smooth final outcome. Transitions from voice to Web chat should also proceed smoothly because of informed transfers either through direct agent-to-agent contact or through computer platforms that transfer necessary calling information from one agent to the next.
Inside the office, UC systems can allows employees to instantly find the status of their fellow employees. If someone is away from his desk, the rest of the office will know to contact him on his mobile device. For that person away from his desk, he can either choose to receive calls or have the UC platform direct all his calls to office voicemail for a single point of access for later in the day. UC also allows for audio conferencing and video conferencing between employees both in person and on their mobile devices. There is no gap between devices in their capabilities because everything is integrated into a central software package. And as SeenIt notes in its own blog post about the issue, employees will have an easier time work from anywhere because they are always connected.
One specific example of such a UC product is the Aeonix product from developer Tadiran. It received TMC's 2015 Unified Communications Product of the Year Award for its open architecture and ability to scale with businesses while also remaining simple to use. Rich Tehrani, the CEO of TMC, said the award judges were “very impressed with the ingenuity and excellence displayed by Tadiran Telecom in their groundbreaking work on Aeonix.”
Hosting in person and in the cloud provides load balancing to ease server strain in all these situations. Managers of call centers can see through their dashboards that they should commit more agents during peak hours, and intelligent call transfer algorithms will know to route calls to available agents rather than have customers wait on hold. As Bdaily notes, there is no difference between one and 10,000 users for many UC systems because they are created to handle volumes of changing sizes. Business investors and boards of directors should be impressed with cost savings alone, but the seamlessness of functionality will truly seek to sell the product.
Edited by Maurice Nagle