Hardy MyersOctober 14, 2019

As Seen on TV: Business Communications Edition

The world of television is a window into the changing times, particularly when it comes to business communications. Crime drama Boardwalk Empire, set during the prohibition era, portrayed the widespread adoption of the telephone - though the business they were conducting was usually illegal. Mad Men, which takes place in the 60’s, glamorized the high-life of executive travel and in-person meetings. Modern classic The Office shows employees going from pagers and rolodexes in season one to connected tablets and collaboration in season eight.

Yet these wildly different shows have one thing in common: regardless of the era, the criticality of communications remains the same. The importance of communicating with others for whatever reason—sharing information, brainstorming ideas, resolving issues—has remained virtually unchanged since the beginning of time. In Mad Men, for example, Peggy Olson knocking on Don Draper’s door was the 60’s version of sending a chat message. In The Office, Dwight seeing Jim’s office light on late at night was the 90’s version of presence technology.

When it comes to communications, it’s not the “what” but the “how” that changes.  

So…where does that bring us to today, and how can businesses prepare for the communications changes that will inevitably occur moving forward? Let’s turn away from TV and toward research.

The widespread adoption of advanced technologies like Artificial Intelligence (AI), IoT, mobility and biometrics is significantly changing the way people and businesses communicate. Gartner predicts that by 2023, customers will prefer to use speech interfaces to initiate 70% of self-service customer interactions, rising from 40% in 2019. A recent report on the digital workplace by Dimension Data found that 62% of organizations expect virtual assistants to have a place in their companies within the next two years. Over 80% of companies use biometrics or plan to by 2020 for critical business tasks like employee access and data security, according to Spiceworks.

Things may have been simpler in the past, but the power of technology makes today’s communications much more impactful—so long as businesses have the right strategy. Today, organizations are challenged with:

  • Supporting truly natural - simple, intuitive, contextualized - connections within and across the enterprise;
  • Seamlessly tying together all of the different technologies, processes, departments and people that encompass a company’s digital transformation; and
  • Having real-time insight—not just data—in the right place at the right time to drive the right kind of business actions.

So, what would the corporate “cast” of today require to create experiences that matter? Here are a few examples of solutions that take business communications to the next level (and beyond):

Smart routing:

Leverage AI to naturally pair customers and employees while improving contact outcomes week over week with real-time insights, dashboards and actionable management controls. In-queue AI-powered intelligent pairing (or smart routing) matches customers with agents based on everything from behavior to personality to commonalities, leveraging AI to look for subtle patterns based on historic interactions to predict future best pairings.

Agent scripting:

Today’s agents need an intelligent scripting capability that defines call flows (both for inbound and outbound calls) and provides on-screen, step-by-step guidance for navigating critical customer interactions. Organizations can flexibly develop scripts across one or multiple pages, accommodating for the simplest to most complex of conversations. In this way, agents go from glossing over words on a screen to being guided and empowered to handle interactions, from collecting customer information to determining the next best step in the digital call flow.

Open, Modular Dashboard:

An open, modular, extensible dashboard delivers rich business insights in real-time from multiple data sources (inside and outside of the enterprise). This kind of dashboard is enabled through a single, unified, browser-based interface to drive faster intelligence, decision-making and experiences across the enterprise. It’s this level of insight and support from multiple data sources that paves the way for things like proactive notification alerts to improve key measures of customer satisfaction and the ease with which employees perform tasks.

Advanced Chat Messaging:

Organizations need an open, rich media chat messaging capability that enables faster, easier, real-time communication and collaboration between not only customer service and Back Office functions but with consumers as well. Both consumers and agents can attach files or videos directly within messages (i.e. screenshots of confirmation or return information, instructional videos, fact sheets, product guides), with multi-party chat available. Any employee, regardless of who they are or where they are located, can be pulled into a chat as necessary.

Intelligent Workspace:

Companies need to intelligently manage all communication and collaboration in real-time for every employee leveraging the power of AI, automation, and omni-channel capabilities. Again, this powerful new workflow paradigm should be enabled by a single interface to drive faster collaboration and information sharing. A key goal of this intelligent workspace would be to provide “people-literate” technology that adapts to users’ preferred ways of working.

Would Michael Scott and team use these powerful communications solutions today? It would certainly improve their customer and employee experiences. Looking ahead, it’s fascinating to think about what business communications will look like 10, 20 or 30 years from now. And the future becomes a lot less daunting and much more exciting when you have a flexible, reliable, scalable and fully secure communications foundation that will grow alongside your business in response to changing market, industry and customer needs.

Hardy Myers

Hardy Myers is Senior Vice President, Strategy & Business Development. He and his team are responsible for developing Avaya’s strategy and consummating key partnerships and acquisitions to achieve Avaya’s growth objectives.

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