Our Top Takeaways From Enterprise Connect
Enterprise Connect 2016, the industry’s premier conference and exposition on enterprise communications and collaboration, concluded its four-day run today in Orlando, Fla. But while the conference may be over, no doubt that the discussions which took place among attendees, vendors, analysts and members of the media will continue for some time to come.
Representatives from ShoreTel and Corvisa, a ShoreTel company, were onsite at Enterprise Connect in a variety of venues. Whether chatting with visitors at our Expo Hall booths, answering questions after presentation sessions, or conversing with guests at our sponsored receptions, certain topics came to the surface again and again.
Here’s our list of the top takeaways from Enterprise Connect:
1. It’s a transformative time in the communications industry. As noted by No Jitter Associate Editor Michelle Burbick, “The enterprise communications landscape of today is not your father's communications landscape.” Unified communications is undergoing significant changes. With new technologies, infrastructures and architectures to consider, it’s an exciting, albeit, sometimes confusing time for businesses looking to optimize operations.
2. Providing positive customer experiences that can differentiate a business requires us to expand upon the contact center concept. Traditional metrics such as average length of call no longer define success. The true goal is to minimize the number of interactions needed to get customers answers. To accomplish this, communications solutions need to provide seamless integrations that connect people inside and outside of organization with the ultimate objective of getting customers what they want and when they want it, via the delivery channel they prefer.
3. Business leaders need to think out-of-the-box when it comes to communications needs. The worst thing you can do today is say, “I want a new communications system, but I want it to be exactly like my old one.” Why? Two reasons: 1) Creating positive customer experiences requires that you revisit and possibly revamp processes to meet your customers’ changing needs; 2) New technologies that you have yet to explore may speak to the issues you are trying to address. Thus, always start by asking, “What are we really trying to achieve? What do our customers really want? What measure of effectiveness and efficiency do we need to get to and how will this software help us do that?
4. Astute decision-makers understand that the agent experience provides the basis for the customer experience. Contact center agents need to be equipped better than ever to respond. Think about it: with all of the ways customers now can get information from businesses, when they do contact an agent, the expectation is that the agent will have the answers that they couldn’t find elsewhere and/or must be able to solve a complex issue. Hence, for those managing the frontlines, providing upfront and ongoing training, as well as integrated, accessible customer information, is imperative.
5. Speed of service delivery is all about integration. As stated by Brandon Knight of Corvisa, a ShoreTel company, during a panel presentation entitled, “Managing the Customer Journey” – “Contact centers have been waiting for more than 10 years for an integrated experience and will welcome it. Talk to anyone staffing the frontlines and they will tell you that anything you can do to empower agents and simplify the steps it takes for customers to get answers will be welcomed with open arms.”
6. The need for unified communications has expanded beyond the contact center and now encompasses all aspects of the business. Contact center agents aren’t the only ones who benefit from unified communications. Providing a unified workspace for chat, email, video, phone, conferencing and collaboration is good for business. Whether meeting the needs of a customer, partner or employee, such tools improve productivity and effectiveness, whether you are in the office, on the road or working remotely.
7. Businesses no longer view cloud technologies as ‘nice to have,’ but a key part of their communications mix. Given the flexibility, scalability and cost savings that cloud offerings can provide, it’s no surprise that businesses are now more readily embracing cloud-based solutions. But the cloud decision is no longer an all or nothing proposition; for those who aren’t able or ready to move everything to the cloud, a hybrid solution can bring the best of both worlds. Hybrid communications provide all the benefits of a pure cloud – shared services, scalability, reduced cost, greater agility – along with the traditional performance and control of onsite systems.
8. Everyone wants the 3 C’s: Customization, Control and Cost Reduction. Everyone was interested in offerings that provided the ability to easily customize the solution on their own… without having to call the vendor and wait for it to happen. Those conversations underscored that more and more businesses are looking for solutions they can customize to their own workflows that not only provide more control in terms of functionality, but also in the timing of the delivery of those functions. Plus, they want communications solutions that can ultimately improve the bottom line by reducing costs and increasing productivity.