Unified Communications (UC) is a concept that brings together all communication channels with a view to improving business communication, collaboration, and productivity.
Think of it as a platform, a single interface through which the wide array of different communication channels can not only be managed but integrated with one another, so a customer moving from channel to channel doesn’t have to repeat themselves and their reason for interacting every time they switch.
UC is a crucial aspect of digital transformation — something that businesses around the world must undertake if they want to remain relevant and keep their customers engaged.
UC deals with both synchronous and asynchronous communication. Synchronous communication takes place in real-time, for example, video calls and instant messaging. On the other hand, asynchronous communication refers to the opposite, e.g. email.
In many ways, the primary goal of UC is to help bring together asynchronous and synchronous forms of communication to deliver a seamless experience however your customer prefers to interact with you. To achieve this, UC offers a variety of features:
- Call control and multimedia communications
- Instant messaging
- Unified messaging
- Speech access and personal assistant
- Conferencing (audio, web and video)
- Collaboration tools
- Business process integration (BPI)
- Software to enable business process integration
What are the benefits of Unified Communications?
Many business leaders look at the different things UC provides and label them as ‘nice to have’. But integrated communication solutions are far more than a mere luxury. In today’s digitalised world, UC is key to maximising your Contact Centre’s efficiency and productivity, meaning the question isn’t whether or not you need UC, but rather, how do you want UC to work for you?
1. Better employee experience
One of the key metrics for measuring the success of new technology is user uptake. If users have a poor user experience and have to navigate multiple platforms, they will simply stop using it. Understanding your employees and providing an excellent user experience will maximise user uptake.
2. Improved productivity
UC can help reduce the back and forth that often dominates internal communications, improving the time spent waiting for responses and creating a smoother workflow that allows for maximum productivity.
3. Cost savings
Transforming your communications into one integrated platform means you pay for fewer services and software, helping you get leaner and save some money. Managed services providers can manage this process for you by leveraging their relationship with vendors to improve your terms of service and reduce costs.
4. Improved efficiency
UC can help to improve your business in a number of different ways. Specifically, it can help you to better manage teams located in different parts of the world, e.g. annual leave planning and shift schedules for agents. A Forrester study featured in a UC Today article surveyed 260 consumers currently using Microsoft Teams and found that employees can save 45 minutes per week collaborating with first-line workers, and four hours per week through improved information sharing. Additional benefits included an 18.9% reduction in weekly meetings and a 17.7% improvement in time-to-decision.
5. Better human resources
UC makes it easier for employees and managers to communicate, which means a happier, more content workforce. It also helps to improve the onboarding process, both of which will help you to adapt and employ effective retention strategies. High employee turnover can dampen employee morale and increase HR costs.
Example of Unified Communications: Multinational pharmaceutical company
A multinational pharmaceutical manufacturer needed to remove complexities across their communication network. Unaided by their current maintenance arrangement, which did not offer proactive fault flagging or alarming, they turned to Conn3ct for assistance.
In just four short weeks, Conn3ct elevated the company’s UC estate in numerous ways, most notably through a 99.8% SLA performance, maintenance of 54 systems and 56,000 ports, and more effective performance planning.
How can you implement Unified Communications across your business?
Having a strong UC toolset in your business underpins your ability to successfully transform in the digital age. But setting it up yourself can be a complex affair. At Conn3ct, we can help you identify opportunities to streamline your processes and build in technology that will allow you to fully transform your business — making it run more smoothly, at a quicker pace, and at a reduced cost.
Once deployed, your business’ UC technology should be well designed, highly available, well looked after, and fully integrated. We can help you to integrate UC capabilities into your existing systems, because we understand that UC is a journey and not a ‘rip and replace’ approach. We can implement Unified Communications in a number of ways:
One-Click Communication and Cross-Platform Integration
One of the main advantages of UC is that you can quickly and easily communicate with people across many different platforms. For example, if you’re looking over a document submitted by one of your team members and you have a question or want to clarify something, you should be able to click a button that instantly connects you with that person.
Perhaps you can send them an instant message, initiate a video call or call them on a landline; ideally, you would have all of these options available, making it easy for you to connect with people when you need them, making your organisation more efficient and streamlined.
BYOD/Mobile Ready Systems
When mobiles first became important parts of our lives, many companies offered a corporate mobile to employees, which was separate from their personal device. However, nowadays, people are much more interested in being able to use one device for everything.
It’s easier to keep track of just one mobile, and if people are able to do everything they need on just one device, then they tend to be more productive. UC systems will make it easy for you to establish a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policy, which will allow people to use the device they want without missing out on important company communications.
Most UC solutions will be cloud-based systems, and this can only be good for your business. These help to make sure all important documents and files are in one, easy-to-use location, helping to reduce the time we spend tracking down the most recent version of what we’re working on. It is systems like this that have aided communications for one of the UK’s top four supermarket chains and their use of Cloud Contact Centre technology. Furthermore, cloud-based systems allow you to reduce the size of your technology infrastructure, making things more efficient, and, just as importantly, less expensive.
Supporting your Unified Communications Journey
The benefits of Unified Communications are many, but knowing how to adopt it successfully and cost-effectively for your business can be a challenge. To support you in your journey to get the very best out of your Unified Communications and improve the customer experience at every touchpoint, we’ve created a guide that outlines the benefits of UC and how to achieve it. To download it now, simply click the image below.
To discover how you can offer seamless customer experience through Unified Communications, download our guide, ‘The Benefits of Having Unified Communications in Your Business (And How to Get There)’ today.