Unified Communications refers to the integration of various real-time communication channels such as voice, video, text and data into one solution, which aims to boost communication and collaboration within a business. Unified Comms come in many forms, including the integration of a company’s customer communication channels (i.e. email, social media, web and chat) or simply the pairing of various internal channels such video conferencing and instant messaging (i.e. Skype for business).
Improving productivity is a challenge all businesses face, and Unified Communications proposes various ways it can address this challenge. A study found that businesses adopting UC experienced on average a 52% improvement in workplace productivity as well as a subsequent 25% increase in profit. Sounds promising, but how does UC help achieve this?
Firstly, Unified Comms can significantly add speed, and therefore productivity to business processes. For example, in contact centres, UC can help by improving customer response times. With all of an organisation’s communication channels merged onto one platform, (i.e. social, email, web, chat, telephone, SMS) it becomes much easier to pick up these queries/conversations as well as respond to them. For sales teams, unified comms can be vital as it means each team is alerted of queries much quicker and so have a better chance of converting each ticket coming in. With the help of UC, staff across various departments now address more queries during their working hours, thus boosting productivity.
Secondly, UC can have a positive impact on workplace collaboration and communication. Presence apps let you know in real-time if your colleagues are available for meetings, calls/call transfers, or collaboration on projects. Having this information can be very practical, as often you cannot physically see your colleagues and therefore determine whether they are available to speak or not. Presence apps can eliminate unnecessary call transfers and can also ensure that when a colleague needs to assemble a team or communicate or reach various people, they know when and how they can do so, which improves internal communication and productivity.
In addition, video, visual and messaging capabilities integrated together (onto one platform) enable employees to remotely facilitate virtual meetings with each other, eliminating the need to move between offices/ locations and ensure everyone is present at the same time. This helps speed up internal communication and can significantly improve productivity.
Lastly, implementing UC can enable employees to work remotely, accessing their data and work files even when they are not in the office. An article written by the Telegraph found that many employees who commute to work also like to get work done whilst making their journey in. More than a fifth (22%) said working on their commute allowed them to get more work done, and more than a quarter (29%) said that they were able to do so because of the access they had to technology. This goes to show how UC can create tangible benefits for productivity, by giving workers access to their work station even when they aren’t at the office.
Similarly, a nine-month study by HBR found that productivity in call centres increased when employees were given the ability to work remotely from home. The study found that those who worked from home completed 13.5% more calls than their counterparts in the office, and the business itself saved around $1900 per employee on furniture and space over the nine-month period. Working from home couldn’t happen without enablement from UC technology, and so its implementation can facilitate home working which can boost productivity.
To sum, Unified Comms can boost business productivity by improving speed in the contact centres, which can lead to quicker response times and more conversions. In addition, UC can boost internal communication and collaboration, making teams more efficient and effective which can boost productivity. Lastly, UC enables remote working which means employees can work even when they are not in the office (ie commuting or at home) which has been shown to increase productivity.
Stefan Docherty is Marketing Executive at Call & Contact Centre Expo which runs in London, March 18-19, 2020). Information is at www.callandcontactcentreexpo.co.uk/