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Mobile UC Essential For Contact Centers

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Customers demand mobile interactions from businesses. Increasingly, this means being able to connect to help desks over a variety of channels via smartphones and tablets. While it is true that more organizations are realizing that they need to be mobile-first in their internal communications initiatives, they often forget that this has to extend to customers as well. Unified communications (UC) can be just as powerful for consumers as it can be for employees.

One of the keys to success in the present day lies in communication and collaboration optimization. Professionals must be capable of connecting with others internally and externally in meaningful ways. While collaboration with colleagues is one of the most talked about benefits of UC, communications with clients and customers can improve dramatically by implementing modern systems.

"When it comes to high-value business communications, interactions with customers have always been rated as critical for bottom-line business performance, because that is where the revenue comes from," wrote Unified Communications Strategies contributor Art Rosenberg.

Today's enterprises need to be running on agile, flexible networks in order to create the kind of engagement that their customers and internal stakeholders now desire. This is most commonly achieved through the implementation of cloud UC for contact centers and other related endeavors. By enabling representatives to operate a number of essential tools in the cloud, it is possible to provide great customer service from anywhere in the world.

Customer Service No Longer Just About Voice

Consumer smartphones and their near ubiquity today have changed the way that people connect. Traditionally, personal devices were generally limited to voice calls. But the rapid evolution of technology that has occurred within the last decade has provided people with advanced tools capable of performing a variety of different functions at once -- including text- and video-based conversations.

"With mobile customers carrying personal smartphones, they now have convenient, direct self-service access to information, simple transactions, and, when needed, to live assistance in the customer's choice of interaction mode," Rosenberg stated. "Rather than just deliver verbal information, text, pictures and videos can be used to more efficiently deliver such information."

There were few people who 15 years ago thought that technologies like texting and instant messaging would catch on within the enterprise as anything more than a novelty, but today's workplace demands these channels. They have become powerful tools for people to leverage in their personal lives, and as such, workers expect that their jobs will support the use of these connections.

But everyone's employee is someone else's customer. This means that all businesses are being held to higher communications standards and are experiencing rising demand for telecom improvement on all fronts. Supporting both workers and consumers in modern ways helps to propel the organization farther than previously thought possible, but only if all possible communication needs are met.

Investing in UC solutions that offer not only voice connections but also on video and text-based conversations is important. According to Gigaom contributor Mathilde Collin, interpersonal communications strategies are not suitable for enterprise operations - even when trying to connect with customers on their level. Run-of-the-mill texting apps, for example, do not have the kind of data collection and analysis capabilities that professional-grade assets do.

"If you're really dedicated to making texting a new customer support channel, sending out messages from your cellphone or iMessage won't cut it," Collin wrote. "Having the right tool to deal with your SMS lets you track interactions the way you would with emails. It provides a centralized management of interactions to share the workload with teammates, indexing and search to build up valuable knowledge, and analytics to track key data."

The same kind of point that Collin made about texting also applies to video. Telling customers that you will Facetime them in a second does not hold quite the same power as giving them the opportunity to connect visually through a dedicated application or an embedded link. This is the kind of engagement that is helping businesses to provide new levels of service and satisfaction among their consumers.

Lack Of Awareness Kills Initiatives

Customers want more inclusive communications solutions when they look for assistance. But their desire alone is not enough. Companies have to get serious about letting their consumers know when modern accessibility is available. If patrons are not alerted to new avenues of support from their favorite organizations, then they will not be able to use them.

The fact of the matter is that businesses that deal with customer service must provide more inclusive assistance for their clients. The companies that are able to get a handle on this will begin to attract the attention of consumers who feel dissatisfied with their current relationships.

"'Mobile First' customer services are rapidly evolving for both large and small organizations," Rosenberg wrote. "While legacy call/contact center capabilities won't disappear for a while, they won't satisfy the new self-service needs of mobile consumers."