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With a Mobile App, Growing Businesses Answer Every Call

It’s a slow weekday morning at the local auto dealership, so the junior salesperson steps out to pick up lunch for the office. He’s barely down the road, when a big family with several rambunctious kids steps into the showroom. The senior salesperson is quick to usher them to the back lot, where there are several big SUVs. Of course, this is the precise moment when the phone rings. Back in the service bay, one of the mechanics has a car on the lift and can’t maneuver fast enough to pick up the call. The service manager is on another line, checking on delivery of a specific part. No problem, he thinks. The caller will leave a voicemail. Instead, the impatient prospect hangs up the minute he hears the recorded greeting. For growing businesses like car dealers and service companies, an unanswered phone is a missed opportunity for sales revenue. According to research by British firm, BT Business, the estimated cost of a single missed call is £1,200. But decision makers say the cost of b..

Four Ways Giving Machines a Voice Boosts Customer Experience

As technology raises consumer expectations for smarter, faster and more productive communications, more executives are making customer experience a top priority. Much of the burden falls to the contact center and IT teams, who must put in place the most effective tools, processes and standards. That’s not an easy job, especially when their mandate includes delivering a personalized experience to millions of individual customers. That’s a difficult task, but not an impossible one—thanks to machines. When businesses give machines a voice, they can scale an intimate experience and deliver a higher level of service quality. By handling routine issues, machines free up contact center agents to focus on complex problems and higher-value customers. This means customers save time too. Curious about how to get started with IoT in your business? Check out the white paper. > Business leaders already recognize the possibilities here. In a survey by Opinium Research, 85 percent of IT decision-m..

Collaboration Tools Build Productive Campuses

Just as in every other corner of the world, the pace of life on university campuses is speeding up. Students, faculty and administrators are always on the move, rotating among classrooms, campuses and even off-campus events and internships. Today’s tech-savvy students use several devices to speed their work and be more productive. In a recent survey, the EDUCAUSE Center for Analysis and Research found that almost a third of students own a laptop, smartphone and a tablet. What’s more, they expect instructors to leverage more technology in the classroom. Video conferencing and messaging are in constant use. These collaboration tools streamline communications and keep students and faculty in the know. Unified communications enables universities to blend collaboration tools into the campus network. By doing so, they provide students and faculty with numerous ways to communicate across devices and networks. Creating an environment that makes collaboration easy is the key to a productive c..

As Call Commerce Rises, Are Growing Businesses Mobile Ready?

In an increasingly digital world, phone calls are still very important. Who’d have thought? Despite the myriad ways consumers can connect with local companies today, those who are ready to buy increasingly want to have questions answered by telephone. For growing businesses without the staff to work the phones continuously, this presents a real challenge. In 2016, mobile calls represented 60 percent of inbound calls to businesses – or about 85 billion global mobile calls annually, according to the researcher BIA/Kelsey. By 2020, the firm expects that volume to grow to 169 billion, mostly through click-to-call. Most mobile calls originate from searches, although consumers also launch calls from banner ads, social media, apps and email. Growing businesses can’t ignore this trend. According to Dialogtech, 62 percent of searchers believe it’s extremely or very important to be able to call a business during a critical stage in the buying cycle: when they’re ready to purchase. Looking t..

How, and Why, Governments Must Act on Customer Experience

Is it time for government employees to start thinking of constituents as customers? Should they begin to consider actions in terms of what the private sector refers to as customer experience? And what will this look like for government services? “Technology has progressed so much that residents have higher expectations of access to information, the type of information, the frequency of communication, customer service,” says community consultant Kim Newcomer of Slate Communications. “And frankly, local government has struggled to respond.” The Challenges Because governments operate on a different model than commercial entities, they face some unique challenges when it comes to improving the customer experience: Lack of overall strategy. Many public service leaders cite a lack of vision when attempting to create a modern digital experience for their constituents. It can be difficult to make the business case in an environment where every dollar spent is scrutinized and when new electe..

6 Ways Sports Venues Can Elevate Fans’ Customer Experience

Nothing electrifies fans as much as a winning team, so it’s no surprise that sports organizations profit from that seasonal excitement. But when it comes to fan engagement, sports teams and venues know they need to play a long game. As technology advances, fans’ expectations rise. So to continue selling season passes and filling stadiums, sports organizations must improve the fan experience all year long – not just at a single event. During a recent panel at the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference in Boston, participants described the ideal venue playbook for enhancing the fan experience: “a comprehensive strategy, a deep understanding of [fans’] backgrounds and interests, and a robust technology infrastructure to support engagement efforts.” Communications technology is the linchpin of customer experience because it connects with fans at every point of their relationship with the team. To deliver a stronger, holistic experience, teams and venues need to tap into every fan touchpo..

Cloud Communications: The Future of Manufacturing

Not only do today’s customers expect innovative products that fill unforeseen needs, they expect to receive those products within days of ordering them. To make that happen, manufacturers can deploy cloud communications across complex supply chain nodes. That will increase efficiency, drive profits up and keep costs down. Consider this scenario: An online retailer based in New York prepares to launch several new shoe designs in time for the spring and summer season. The new product is approved, manufacturers and suppliers are in place, distribution centers are ready and the ad campaign begins. But while customers are clicking through the website, reading product details and moving toward the shopping basket, they don’t know about the supply-chain problem that’s arisen. It seems that while customers were doing all that clicking, one of the manufacturers based in China discovered problems with the raw materials that impact the shoe’s design. It can be fixed, but the issue could delay p..

Why More CFOs Are Shifting IT Investment from Capex to Opex

The bottom line is always the focal point in any company. Where to spend money is a constant tug of war but it’s not the only battle being fought. How to spend the money can be just as contentious. CFOs have to consider multiple factors to determine expenditures and every year might bring with it a host of changes and market conditions that impact those decisions. Traditionally for technology investments, CFOs most often preferred capital expenditures over operating expenses because they could take advantage of amortization and depreciation of those investments over an extended period of time. There’s a growing argument, however, that operating expenditures (opex) have distinct advantages over capital expenditures (capex) that have made it a favored investment approach by finance departments and CFOs. The growing role of opex in IT spending There are plenty of hard costs that require large, upfront investments and should be a part of the approved budget (capex). They are costs that ca..

Why Mobility Comes First in Customer Experience

How, exactly, does a business become “mobile first?” Obviously, it gives mobility a high priority. Yet at the same time, it must undertake more than a simple shift toward incorporating mobile devices into its business activities. Simply put, the company must make its products and services mobile-centric — not desktop centric. Mobility has changed expectations about the user experience. Where employees and customers were once tied to desktops and landlines in a single location, now they’re performing increasingly complex tasks on their mobile devices. As a result, they’ve come to expect mobility’s convenience and personalization to come along with the flexibility of a desktop. Why mobility must be a priority Mobility is emerging as an important trend in business communications systems not only because employees and customers expect it, but also because companies profit from it. People spend more and more time on their mobile devices – both when they’re off the clock and when they’re w..

API Integration Helps K-12 Schools Get More from Existing Tools

Two related trends are converging in the current K-12 education landscape. The first concerns parents’ evolving preferences for school-to-home communications. Parents believe messages should be personalized and timely, according to a recent survey by Project Tomorrow and Blackboard, Inc. Most especially, they value convenience: they don’t want to waste time looking for important updates and they expect information to be pushed directly to them. The second trend is the explosion of learning management systems (LMS) in the classroom. Google Classroom, Canvas, Schoology and Blackboard have created robust learning environments that make it easier to store content and stay on top of student performance. In fact, the LMS global market is expected to more than triple by 2025, reaching $18.44 billion, according to Insight Partners. Because these platforms are the source of critical information about student performance and workload, school districts must make it as easy as possible for teacher..

Public, Private or Hybrid? 5 Questions to Pick the Right One

How do you educate 30 baseball teams about new policies – and make sure they follow them? That was the challenge Major League Baseball faced as it moved toward implementing “pace of play” rules aimed at shortening the length of games. As part of the plan, the MLB installed phone lines in every stadium, connecting the dugout, the bullpen and the video review rooms, which teams use to prevent sign stealing but can contribute to excessive visits to the pitcher’s mound. Now the league can centrally monitor, review and record every time a coach picks up the phone. The league’s solution was in the cloud – specifically, a private cloud, securely accessed through the public internet, that all stadiums can count on. Of course, every business has its own needs. As you consider which cloud environment makes sense for your company – public, private or hybrid – ask these questions. What level of privacy and security do you need? If you’re in a highly regulated industry – like financial services..

Keep Minor Business Changes from Becoming Big-Time Setbacks—with Unified Cloud Communications by Guest Author Evan Kirstel

Business processes enable the basis of everything your business does day to day. Basics like how an order is placed, closed, tracked, organized, delivered, and paid for and how revenue is realized are at the heart of any business. But even a small business that wants to do something simple like add mobile workers can get stymied by change if it doesn’t have the right processes in place. Without the right processes, that small business that’s simply adding more mobile employees to the number of communications pathways until the number skyrockets and overwhelms it, resulting in delayed orders, customer service logjams, and more. Unified communications (UC) can help businesses avoid things like that by simplifying communications so that small changes won’t so easily cause big business setbacks. What UC does for any size business is provide a multi-view approach to communications. By integrating voicemail into emails, communications can be shared, distributed to the right person, and arc..