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Report: Nearly 69 Percent of Retailers Unaware of Benefits of Unified Communications

June 14, 2013

While unified communication is hardly new to those of us in the telecom industry, it’s still unknown to a considerable number of businesses, particularly those in the retail industry. According to a new report, 68.9 percent of retail executives interviewed reported that they were not aware or not well aware of the advantages of unified communications technology. Over 40 percent of respondents had never even heard of unified communications.

The report was commissioned by Elite Telecom, in association with unified communications manufacturer Swyx, and Retail Week.

Retailers are already at a disadvantage. The economy is still lagging, consumer confidence is low, and competition is fierce. In many cases, the quality of customer service is the only thing retailers have to differentiate themselves from their competitors. Failing to invest in unified communications technology is another misstep that is likely to cause retailers to fall even further behind, missing out on opportunities in social media and mobile e-commerce, sometimes called “m-commerce.”

"Unified communications is all about the end user experience and helping to deliver smoother, streamlined services to customers both in store and online," Elite Telecom CEO Matt Newing told Computer Business Review. "Customers are more likely to return to businesses that have exceeded their expectations and offered them something different."

The stakes are truly high. Newing predicts that businesses that are too slow to adapt to technology advances or to Internet-led services will simply go out of business.

It’s probable that many companies are still unaware of the benefits of unified technology. Those that have implemented it were driven by a desire to boost the quality of customer service, according to the study, as well as to keep overhead low and boost employee productivity, something UC-savvy companies do with the addition of comprehensive messaging solutions such as Microsoft Lync. Those that are aware of the technology but have not yet implemented it cited cost as the most important factor holding them back.

Edited by Alisen Downey

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