The first telephone communication happened in 1876. At the time, it was one of the world’s most transformative inventions and arguably still is to this day, amongst the top 10 inventions, ever.
However, sadly it seems digital transformation drivers and business leaders aren’t seeing telephony as being as transformative as it used to be. Yet, in this disruptive environment the humble telephone is actually key for driving digital and business change. In this article we’ll put telephony back on its pedestal, not because we’re biased, but because it deserves to be there and seen as a gateway to bigger, better things.
Let’s Start with Smartphones
How could we forget? Something we carry round every day is one of the most revolutionary Internet of Things (IoT) devices in the world. The smartphone is a key milestone in digital transformation history. Whether you’re an Apple or Android user everyone now has the ability to access the internet at the touch of a screen.
But mobile phones weren’t always this smart, their original purpose was just to make calls on the go and the most entertainment you could have on them was to play snake in the limited gaming section. However smartphones have now transformed many industries and the way we communicate with brands and work colleagues. Whether it’s scrolling through Facebook, liking pictures on Instagram, working through your work emails on the train, or communicating with your colleagues in a WhatsApp group, a smartphone can do it.
This shift to digital has had a profound effect on the way consumers communicate with businesses. It’s opened up the conversation to far more channels than just voice. Now interactions thorough WhatsApp, social media and review sites need to come through to the contact centre for agents to respond and resolve enquiries.
Collaborative and Remote Working
With at least four generations in the workplace at one point in time, from the emerging graduates or Generation Z to the often semi-retired Baby Boomers; shifts in the ways we work are happening at a fast pace. These shifts are helping to drive digital change. Employees now want to have flexible arrangements and be able to work on the go. The younger generations value their work-life balance above all and will even take a pay cut to get it!
Enter, telephony. We’ve been using it for years to collaborate and speak with colleagues. But now, it’s helping to facilitate seamless experiences for employees across the business. Whether you’re in the office for half the week and work from home the other half or are constantly on the go within the field because you meet up with customers, work is something you do not a place you go.
Telephony has led to the emergence of cloud applications that integrate with your handset, or laptop, whether it’s Mitel or Avaya to help with conferencing, document sharing and instant messaging. This means that all employees get a seamless experience whether they are in the office or on the go. Smartphones play a part in this too, with many of the apps offering smartphone versions for employees to download. It’s safe to say that flexibility is not hard to implement these days.
The Phone is still a Crucial Part of the Customer Experience
It goes without saying, usually when you have an issue with the service a business is giving you, one of the first things you do is pick up the phone. We still see it as a direct, and immediate way to speak with someone to get our issue resolved. And when the journey is smooth, it still works very well. Agents on the other end of the phone represent your company’s brand and what it stands for directly, the phone is still a crucial part of the customer experience.
Businesses now understand they need to consider how they can take the customer experience someone has had on the phone and ensure that it is seamless across all digital channels too. So that it doesn’t matter whether the customer calls in, uses a chatbot, sends an email, or sends a direct message through Facebook or Twitter. Having a communications strategy that is unified, will ensure that the customer is always getting the same high level of service.
Telephony as a Driver of Digital Change
It’s not always seen as a key driver of digital change but telephony (aka your communications platform) is actually crucial for business transformation. It’s not only still a go to channel for many customers, but somewhere that you can enhance their experience by dealing with enquiries rapidly. It’s opened the door for new and digital ways to communicate with customers via the smartphone applications like WhatsApp. And at the end of the day where would your company be without it? In this day and age it’s all about how we incorporate telephony in with the rest of our many communication channels, not how do we get rid of it. Telephony is just one part (albeit a key part) of your end to end integrated business platform.