Building Stronger Teams with Video Conferencing

Video conferencing has been a proven technology for years, but was traditionally limited to executive desktops and conference rooms. With today’s democratization of video – thanks to significant advances in quality, reliability and ease of use – knowledge workers are taking advantage of video at their desktops and on their mobile devices. They’re collaborating face-to-face, sharing documents, making faster decisions and improving productivity.

Thanks to enterprise-grade video conferencing, companies are building stronger teams every day. In this blog, I’ll talk about how and why our customers are improving their corporate culture and building stronger teams. I hope reading this blog is enough to convince you to give video conferencing a try. You can try Avaya Scopia for free by clicking here.

Of course with so much opportunity, there are new entrants to the market all the time. The choices can be overwhelming. Last year, I blogged on the different types of video conferencing: Not All Video Conferencing Is Created Equal. I encourage you to read that post for some input on the right solution for your organization.

Driving Adoption
Video conferencing brings people together, and businesses around the globe are discovering new applications for video. In many cases those applications are dramatically changing the way organizations do business – take HR, for example. Video is changing the way companies interact with job candidates. It expands the interview pool for companies looking to hire, and it helps employees collaborate effectively regardless of location. Today, Scopia customers are interviewing new candidates (and even recording and playing those interviews back for hiring managers) and conducting corporate training sessions via video. Video is also used very effectively for mentoring, succession planning, morale boosting, team building, and executive coaching.

Scopia customers are also increasing the frequency of video meetings as they discover the many benefits. Meeting by video frees up time so that participants can have richer and more frequent meetings without surrendering precious time to travel. It helps people collect and exchange information, meet on-the-fly, and enables faster, better decision making. It enhances work-life balance and can save companies money.

Successfully implementing a video solution that achieves these types of results takes careful planning. It’s important to choose an enterprise-grade solution that features HD video and audio, content-sharing, meeting moderation, streaming and recording, chat capabilities, etc. And… it has to be easy to use! Many promising technologies have languished expensively in IT closets because users never embraced them. That is why ease of use needs to be near the top of your list when evaluating solutions.

Easy-to-use means your video solution is intuitive, always on, provides simple, one-click-to-join capabilities, delivers a rich collaborative experience, and doesn’t entail complex licensing or require involvement from your IT team to set up or run a meeting. The Scopia portfolio offers all of this and has for years. Radvision Scopia was a well-kept secret, but thanks to the Avaya acquisition, our brand is quickly gaining traction. People simply have to try it to believe it.

Seeing Is Believing
I’ve seen firsthand since joining Avaya how Scopia video conferencing can bring teams closer together. Since the acquisition closed last June, we’ve attended new-hire training sessions, companywide meetings, and weekly team calls – all via video.

Before Avaya acquired Radvision, video wasn’t a core part of the company’s culture. Now, it’s integral to our formal and informal communication strategy. In fact, since I joined Avaya, I’ve seen teams come together around the globe to create fun and motivational messages using Scopia technology. Some of these are for external consumption, e.g. the recent Tips for a Successful Video Conference. While others are merely to spread some holiday cheer among colleagues – our Americas marketing team has gotten creative with song and dance a number of times, putting smiles on our faces!

Our customers are reaping the benefits as well. One law firm reduced its partner review cycle in half by conducting the meetings over video. Another company achieved a zero-footprint growth strategy for its contact center by hiring all home-based employees connected via video. The opportunities to conduct business more efficiently, be more agile, and collaborate more effectively are endless when your company adopts video conferencing as part of its culture.

Simplifying Video for Everyone
How does Scopia video entice even technophobes to make video part of their daily work lives? With one-click simplicity. It doesn’t matter where you’re calling in from – whether you’re inside an organization or outside of it – or what device you’re using to join the call. Scopia video conferencing takes the guesswork out by automatically detecting the device and network being for each participant. It then leverages the built-in audio and video components on that device, or in the case of a laptop or PC, leverages the optimal connected peripherals like webcams, speakerphones, etc.

In fact, Scopia Mobile is incredibly intuitive. If you ask me, no one makes video conferencing easier than we do. My kids can use it – and so can others according to this YouTube video. When you click on the link to join a call, you automatically download the appropriate application for your device–and you’re in.

All this means that when you deploy Scopia video conferencing in your organization, there is every chance it will quickly go viral. No need to set up training – with our solution, there’s no complex licensing, no searching through app stores for the right download, no confusion on how to share your desktop or an individual application. And Scopia video is secure – you always know who is on a call, and whether anyone new joins or someone drops off.

It’s That Easy
Some might say Scopia video conferencing is a revolutionary approach to video conferencing, but we’ve been doing this since 2007 with Scopia Desktop. And now, with Scopia Mobile, we’ve extended the same ease-of-use to mobile users. Thanks to technologies like Scopia video conferencing, I forget that I haven’t met my colleagues in-person… I’ve spent so many hours on video with some of them, it’s hard to believe we haven’t been in the same room at the same time. We feel like we know each other well after so many video interactions.

If you don’t believe me and haven’t tried Scopia yet, I encourage you to test it out – simply click here and sign up.

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Call it what you will: Multi-channel, Omnichannel—It isn’t about the Contact Center!

At this point, we know that most companies are competing exclusively on the customer experience (83%, according to Dimension Data). McKinsey Insights shows that effective customer journeys are impactful: increase revenue by up to 15%, boost customer satisfaction by up to 20%, and turn predictive insight into customers’ needs by up to 30%. The issue isn’t that companies fail to understand the importance of the customer experience (CX). The problem is that over half of companies today fail to grasp what is arguably the single most important driver of a successful CX strategy: organizational alignment.

This isn’t to say that companies aren’t taking the necessary steps to strengthen their CX strategies. Looking back five years ago, 92% of organizations were already working to integrate multiple interaction channels—call it multi-channel, omnichannel, digital transformation—to deliver more consistent, contextualized experiences. The needle is moving in the right direction. However, companies will find themselves in a stalemate if they limit the customer experience to the contact center.

Customer Experience is the Entire Brand Journey

That’s right, the customer experience is NOT about the contact center. In fact, it never was. The customer experience is instead about seamlessly supporting consumers across their entire brand journey regardless of where, when, how and with whom it happens. This means supporting not just one business area (i.e., the contact center), but the entire organization as one living, breathing entity. This means supporting not just one single interaction, but the entire experience a customer has with a company from start to—well, forever. After all, the customer journey never truly ends.

Are companies ready for this future of the customer experience? Perhaps not: 52% of companies currently don’t share customer intelligence outside of the contact center, according to Deloitte.

Executives are planning for not only contact channels to expand but most are expecting these interaction journeys to grow in complexity. It’s clear that a contact-center-only structure doesn’t cut it anymore. At today’s rate of growth and change, it’s easy to see how a CX strategy can miss the mark when the entire customer journey is being limited to the contact center. Imagine how much stronger a company would perform if it supported the customer experience as the natural enterprise-wide journey it is? A journey where interactions take place across multiple channels and devices, unfolding across multiple key areas of business (i.e., sales, HR, billing, marketing)?

Imagine, for instance, a hospital immediately routing an outpatient to the travel nurse who cared for him last week, although she is now on the road to her next location. Imagine a bank being able to automatically route a customer to a money management expert after seeing that the last five questions asked via live chat were about account spending. Imagine a salesperson knowing that a customer attended a webinar last week on a new product launch and had submitted three questions—all before picking up the phone. Imagine a retail store associate knowing you walked in and that you were searching online for formal attire.

Contextual Awareness is Critical

Today’s CX strategy is no longer about asking the right questions: it’s about having the right information at the right time to drive anticipatory engagement. It’s no longer about being able to resolve a customer issue quickly. It’s about building an authentic, organization-wide relationship based on contextual awareness. In short, this means companies being able to openly track, measure, and share customer data across all teams, processes, and customer touch points. This ability either makes or breaks the CX today.

So, are you near the breaking point? Consider that nearly 40% of executives say their agents’ top frustration is that they can’t access all of the information they need. Less than 25% of contact centers today enjoy full collaboration on process design with their entire enterprise. Connected customer journeys and the overall CX are now top areas of focus as most organizations support up to nine channel options. CX will encounter a dramatic shift of reimagined customer engagements that will be able to incorporate technologies such as artificial intelligence, IoT, analytics, and augmented reality and virtual reality.

The bottom line is this: organizations must support an enterprise-wide customer journey to support the future of the CX now! They must share contextual data inside and outside of the contact center, and they need seamless and immediate access to that data anytime, anywhere, under any given circumstance. Above all, organizations need the right architectural foundation to support this anytime, anywhere ecosystem—otherwise, even their best moves will always result in a draw.

Get out of the Queue: Drive Your CX with Attribute Matching

At this point, nearly every company is working overtime to realign around two simple words: customer experience (CX). So much so that nearly 90% of companies now compete solely on CX—a drastic increase from 36 % in 2010—and 50 % of consumer product investments are expected to be redirected to CX innovations—like attribute matching—by the end of this year.

But what exactly does the CX consist of, especially in today’s new world of digital business innovation? This next-generation CX is supported by several advanced technologies—big data analytics, omnichannel, automation—however, these investments are all aimed at driving one thing: contextualization.

The rise of contextualized service—the ability for companies to not only gain insightful information about their customers but also deliver information in a way that is relevant and meaningful to customers based on individual circumstances to improve their experience—has evolved the CX to a point where it looks virtually nothing like it did as recently as 10 years ago. Whereas consumers once primarily focused on the act of purchasing, driven by such things as product quality and price, they now focus on the richness of brand relationships, driven by the personal value that companies deliver throughout the customer journey. Just consider that 70% of buying experiences are now based on how customers feel they are being treated. This is the key factor that sets apart market leaders like Amazon, Trader Joe’s, and Apple from the competition.

According to Accenture, there is an estimated $6 trillion in global revenue up for grabs due to dissatisfied customers constantly switching providers. The ability for companies to offer contextualized service is vital for operating at the speed of the consumer and capturing more of this market share. There’s just one thing preventing companies from seizing this limitless potential: the traditional call queue.

Every customer is familiar with the call queue. This is the place where statements like, “Your call is important to us. Please continue to hold,” and “Let me transfer you to a specialized team who can help you with that” perpetually live. It’s where exhaustive efforts to route customers to the correct service rep become lost, or where consumers must repeat the same information to multiple agents across different teams. It’s the greatest barrier preventing companies from being more dynamically connected to their consumers, and one of the greatest reasons why customers reduce their commitment to a brand.

Driving Contextualization with Attribute Matching

In a world where customers demand a profound level of connection and transparency, organizations can no longer support a contact center environment in which calls are distributed among agents who are organized by function (i.e., sales, service, support). In today’s smart, digital world, companies must transform the traditional call center into an integrated, digital communications hub. This means moving away from a siloed, metric-driven queue and instead working to put customers in touch with the best organizational resource depending on their exact need or circumstance as immediately as possible. The most effective way to achieve this is to migrate from archaic infrastructure towards an integrated, agile, next-generation platform built on open communications architecture.

Open communications architecture allows organizations to seamlessly collect, track and share contextual data across various teams, processes, and customer touch points. This integrated environment supports a real-time data repository from which businesses can pull from to route customers based on needs beyond traditional characteristics (like language preference). Rather, the technology allows companies to build customized learning algorithms that drive anticipatory engagement, enabling them to match customers based on next-level variables like personality, emotion and relatability.

Imagine, for example, a hotel routing a customer directly to an IT staffer after seeing that the person tweeted about a poor in-room Wi-Fi connection. Imagine a bank being able to route a customer to a money management expert after seeing that the last five questions asked via live chat were about account spending. Imagine an athletic apparel company matching a customer with an agent who is an avid runner after noticing that the individual recently signed up for a 5K.

The future of the CX means creating and continually building a contextualized view of customers throughout their entire brand journey. It means going beyond customer service to establish unparalleled, organization-wide relationships. It means transforming peoples’ lives, verses simply answering questions. This is what companies must work to align themselves with. The good news is that technology has evolved to a point where they can now easily, effectively and cost-efficiently do so.

Interested in learning more or getting beyond the queue to Redefine Your Customer and Employee Experiences? Contact us. We’d love to hear from you.

Every Week is Customer Service Week for this Credit Union

It’s not easy for credit unions to compete these days. Many need to win against neighboring big banks, with nearby branches, billions in operating expenses, and national marketing campaigns. To compete against their larger banking competitors, the IT staff of one top 20 U.S. credit union with 500,000 members and fewer than 50 locations focuses on three strategies while being very mindful of the budget.

Three Strategies Ensure Credit Union’s Commitment to Superior Customer Service

“We’re very conscious of fees,” says the senior telecom and contact center engineer at the top-20 credit union. “When it comes to our credit union members, our motto is: ‘We never forget it’s your money!’”

Having a customer-centric culture during Customer Service Week (October 3-7) and beyond requires a persistent focus on providing a consistently strong contact center. To accomplish this day in and day out, choosing a partner with the same focus on proactive customer service goes a long way.

Not long ago, the credit union launched a new internet banking service, which resulted in a significant uptick in call volumes to the call center. Some members calling in were not hearing the correct recorded announcements.

To fix the problems like this, and minimize the impact to the customer, the credit union IT staff selected a managed services provider that offers 24/7 support for its service center, corporate headquarters, and disaster recovery location. Three strategies help the credit union maintain their customer centric culture:

  1. Resolve problems quickly:

    The managed service provider used its extensive toolbox of innovative diagnostics and expertise to trace the problem to a Local Access Carrier issue and an internal server not rebooted in 900 days. The remote technical support specialist found the root cause and quickly fixed the issue. “Usually when you open a ticket, you feel like the first tier person is going to be just a ticket-taker. I was expecting to wait,” added the engineer. “But the gentleman I spoke to was able to stay on the phone, get another engineer on the line, and stay on the whole time. Both engineers on this case were solid,” she adds, “but I was most impressed that the first support engineer who took the initial call didn’t just hand us off, he stayed engaged throughout the resolution process.”

  2. Don’t repeat the same mistakes:

    The software specialist flagged the server reboot issue and recommended rebooting at regular intervals along with a recent software patch to further promote stability in the credit union’s environment. Receiving proactive guidance on how to avoid the same problem in the future helped the credit union once again to deliver consistent strong customer service. “The fact that our partner is so open and willing to integrate with other vendors is huge for us,” said the engineer. “The platforms that were offered—and the support I get—are top notch.”

  3. Use automated diagnostics:

    The IT staff is small but very efficient. During the day, they focus on projects that will drive customer satisfaction and at night—they sleep! “We’ll get alarms on our system on occasion. When I get in in the morning, I can see that our managed services partner’s automated diagnostic systems have been in at night, testing things and resolving those alarms,” says the IT manager. “It’s nice that you don’t have to be woken up in the middle of the night for those little things. We focus on being very efficient, so that we can turn around and give our members better dividends and rates.”

How is your contact center running these days? What helps you keep the focus on your customer service? What emerging trends are you watching in 2017?