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Seven Ways Giving Machines a Voice Will Transform Field Services

Science fiction scriptwriters relish in giving machines a voice. Just look at 2001: A Space Odyssey, Star Wars and Interstellar. Their movie robots are know-it-alls, quick to voice opinions, and act as foils, usually in the midst of a life-or-death repair.
It's a good thing real machines aren’t as villainous as Hal the supercomputer. Today, the opposite is true: machines are do-gooders, more likely to make users happy. In a recent survey, 85 percent of IT decision-makers say they believe machine-to-people interactions will positively transform the customer experience.
But it’s not only customers who stand to benefit. When you give machines a voice in field services management, you create a world of possibility, from more efficient scheduling to opportunities for new revenue streams. Here are just a few of the ways giving machines a voice will transform the industry.
A chatbot solved my problem. The 80/20 rule applies to field services management: your teams will spend 80 percen..

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Eight Ways Giving Machines a Voice Will Transform Field Services

Science fiction scriptwriters relish in giving machines a voice. Just look at 2001: A Space Odyssey, Star Wars and Interstellar. Their movie robots are know-it-alls, quick to voice opinions, and act as foils, usually in the midst of a life-or-death repair.
It's a good thing real machines aren’t as villainous as Hal the supercomputer. Today, the opposite is true: machines are do-gooders, more likely to make users happy. In a recent survey, 85 percent of IT decision-makers say they believe machine-to-people interactions will positively transform the customer experience.
But it’s not only customers who stand to benefit. When you give machines a voice in field services management, you create a world of possibility, from more efficient scheduling to opportunities for new revenue streams. Here are just a few of the ways giving machines a voice will transform the industry.
A chatbot solved my problem. The 80/20 rule applies to field services management: your teams will spend 80 percen..

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Seamless Collaboration Is the Future of Retail Supply Chains

Today’s consumer wants a retail shopping experience that’s fast, easy, flexible and on their own terms. For instance, some want to shop online and pick up their purchase in a store. Others expect items to be delivered on the day and time that’s most convenient for them. And many consumers like to research products at home before buying them in person.
Ideally, consumers want retailers to deliver a unified shopping experience. “Customers don’t think in channels anymore,” Mike Griswold, research vice president of Gartner's Consumer Value Chain team, said at the Retail Industry Leaders Association conference last month.
This shift in expectations means retailers are dealing with more complexity, just as the industry is facing strong headwinds. Toys “R” Us, for example, is folding because heavy debt prevented it from executing changes that would have made it more competitive, including improving the shopping experience, both online and in-store.
Meeting customer expectations, such ..

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How Technology Improves Customer Experience in Healthcare

In today’s healthcare environment, creating a positive customer experience isn’t any longer just a nice thing to do. Providers literally can’t afford patient dissatisfaction. It’s about more than avoiding a low rating on a survey. Poor patient-to-provider communications can result in more – and more serious – illness, and that translates into higher healthcare costs. In the U.S., poor clinical outcomes can also result in lower reimbursement rates for healthcare entities.
Where’s the pain? When people are sick, they don’t want to wait. Whether it’s in an emergency room, physician’s office, on the phone or even at home waiting for test results, they want to communicate with their healthcare professional as quickly as possible.
In a world where there seems to be an app for everything, patients expect technology to handle almost any issue in their everyday lives. They want reliable electronic access to records and information, self-service in scheduling appointments, WiFi in waiting room..

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The Benefits of SIP Trunking for Hotels

Hotel guests' expectations haven't changed much over the years: They want clean rooms, a nice pool and a welcoming bar. At the same time, today's travelers have a new set of priorities, all rooted in the need to connect. Hotel guests now expect to interact with hotel staff and services, from booking to check out, through their smartphones and other mobile devices.
This highly connected guest experience is driving the industry's investment in IT. According to Hospitality Technology's 2018 Lodging Technology Study, nearly half of hoteliers say digital customer experience is their main strategic goal for the year.
Yet many hotels face a major challenge: Their legacy phone systems don't support even basic digital features, such as mobility or self-service. And with substantial investments in current infrastructure and equipment, hotel management may be understandably reluctant to invest in new communications technology.
SIP trunking provides a cost-effectiv..

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Make the Business Case for Cloud Communications

When trying to determine which communications option – on-site or cloud‐based – is right for your business, ROI (return on investment) and TCO (total cost of ownership) comparisons inevitably come into play. Which type of solution drives better value for your business? Unfortunately, this can be a difficult question to answer.
ROI and TCO models are typically designed to compare similar options—for example, two similar on-site communications systems built by two competing vendors.
On-site and cloud‐based communications solutions are not similar options. Plus, there are lots of costs and assumptions that you must determine when evaluating your options. Ultimately, the answer to the question “Which solution is better for our business?” may depend on more subjective measures, like the value your organization places on flexibility and risk avoidance.
It’s somewhat analogous to purchasing an airline ticket: Which is better? A non‐refundable $325 ticket or a refundable $466 ticket that ca..

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Managing Your Sports Team While on the Go

If there's one constant in sports, it's that all the major players – both those on the field and those in the back office – are constantly on the road. There's no shortage of reasons to travel, whether it's away games, spring training or international scouting events. Although they're integral to beating the competition, this very mobility challenges a team's ability to communicate seamlessly and effectively.
Just how complicated can it get? Consider this as just one example: It's not unusual for a typical day to include travel delays. When flights are delayed or buses run late, the team's travel coordinator must notify dozens of players and coaches quickly while coordinating with the airlines or bus lines at the same time. Meanwhile, they're also performing the routine tasks that keep team travel running smoothly, like updating hotels with changes and special requests.
Here’s another example: In the back office, executives must collaborat..

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Field Techs Use Automation to Become More Efficient

Are field service teams overdue for workflow improvements? Plenty of executives think so. In a recent Forbes Insights and Microsoft survey, more than 80 percent of executives say “empowering first-line workers with the tools and platforms they need has a direct impact on customer satisfaction, growth and worker job satisfaction.” And there’s good news in this regard: technologies like field services management applications, automation and embedded communications have the potential to transform both the workflow and the customer experience.
How? To start, let’s look at how service calls have traditionally worked. They start when a customer calls a support line and talks to an agent, who captures the details of the service request by typing it into both the CRM and the field service management application. Next, the dispatcher reviews the order and schedules a technician for the next day.
Let’s say the technician is unable to resolve the issue on their own at the customer site. They pl..

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Breaking Down Communications Silos in Manufacturing

The simple t-shirt begins its life in the cotton fields of the American South. After harvest, cotton bolls travel across an ocean to spinning facilities in Indonesia. From there, the resulting thread is sent to Bangladesh to be knitted, dyed and sewn. The t-shirt then returns to the U.S. for printing, packaging and distribution to retailers.
That’s just a rough sketch of the journey from field to finished product. Obviously, the reality is much more complex, involving hundreds of people, communicating across geographies, working across functional boundaries and joining disparate hardware, software and communications devices.
Those involved in this fast-paced manufacturing environment must be able to problem-solve and make timely decisions that benefit their organization and its partners in the supply chain. In many ways, the process is one big collaboration. How can communications technology make life easier for everyone involved?
Collaboration within the organization Businesses nee..

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How Omnichannel Customer Experience Gives Retailers an Edge

For shoppers, the path to purchase is no longer as simple as clicks to bricks or bricks to clicks. “Clicks to bricks and back” may be a more accurate description. As the 2017 Retail Dive Consumer Survey showed, shoppers are embracing an omnichannel customer experience. Retail Dive also found that more than 65 percent of consumers research products online before heading to a store, while over 55 percent say they visit stores before buying.
Because every buyer’s path is different – and can change from day to day and place to place – retailers must integrate digital and deliver a seamless omnichannel customer experience to compete more effectively against the eCommerce giants. Although merchants might hesitate to deploy a communications solution capable of handling such complex interactions, today’s omnichannel contact center solutions have leveled the playing field.
Here are just a few of the ways retailers can leverage technology to enhance the omnichannel customer experience.
In eve..

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