The UCStrategies Experts share their expertise in bylined articles, opinion pieces, blogs, and podcasts, to define unified communications, educate you about unified communications technologies, and help you make informed decisions about unified communications solutions.
UCStrategies.com defines unified communications as “Communications integrated to optimize business processes.” The definition of unified communications narrows significantly when you can read and hear about real-world examples that other companies are implementing right now—and apply them to your situation.
This section offers learning tools to help you plan your unified communications implementation.
This section provides a practical, vendor-independent service to any Enterprise that is seeking the benefits of Unified Communications. How do you pull everything together to implement unified communications? Use the tools in this sequence to define unified communications for your business.
The Unified Communications industry changes daily. We keep track of it for you.
UCStrategies is an industry resource for unified communications enterprises, communications vendors, system integrators, and anyone interested in the growing unified communications arena.
A supplier of objective information on unified communications, UCStrategies is supported by an alliance of leading communication industry advisors, analysts, and consultants who have worked in the various segments of unified communications since its inception.
UCStrategies defines UC as the following: “Communications integrated to optimize business processes.”
In a contact center setting, the ability to effectively leverage UC has grown increasingly complex and sophisticated over the last number of years. There was a period of time in the development of the contact center when being able to share information in real time would have been considered a significant achievement of technology.
This simple concept of shared information is still at the heart of a contact center, but it is the layers wrapped around this concept that have changed. Communication tools have evolved in the contact center that moved beyond phones to include email, chat sessions, instant messaging and more.
The tools that are available for contact center employees to communicate have also changed at the desktop so that with a simple click, group or team audio conferencing or video conferencing can be initiated or web presentations leveraged so that effective business decisions can be made to drive increased customer satisfaction. All part of a UC strategy.
These tools can also be leveraged to include the mobile or the home-based contact center representative. The contact center that is looking to be able to deliver scalability during peak demand periods and still maintain customer satisfaction can make use of several call routing options, including skills, status, language, wait times and more.
In the ideal world, the most complex customer interactions will require contact representatives to be able provide a “One and done” or first call resolution. In an article titled "First Call Resolution – introduction to Quality Management" published in September, 2003, Niels Kjellerup Ashgro stated the following:
"This is what the customer wants – no wait and somebody with the authority to handle matters for me quickly and personally.
What does the service rep need to perform it?
Many things have changed, in terms of delivering first call resolutions. A major enhancement is the available tools in today’s UC marketplace. However what cannot get forgotten is that Telephony features won’t fix the problem of a contact center, address the problem of poor people or process. In order for an organization to define UC for themselves, determine if they need UC and how they will benefit from UC, they need to clearly understand what business process and technology they have today, how they use it and if they need to change what they do and how they do it. Only then will the UC journey become clear understanding and leveraging UC. This is a good opportunity for a knowledgeable channel to step in and assist with their UC ideas.
Business Process, CEBP and Collaboration capabilities on solving business problems – from improving the productivity of individuals and workgroups to revising and revitalizing business processes are key to successful selling of UC by the vendor community.
Simply stated, you need to make sure that you speak with your customers about an issue, and provide great service, once and only once. Make a mistake on the phone, and your customer has to call you back. From that moment forward, everyone starts to lose.
Multiple industry studies show the number of repeat, dissatisfied calls is between 20% and 30% of your total call volume. Let’s make this really clear: 20% to 30% of every dollar you spend in your contact center is spent on fixing what you didn’t do right in the first place.
And your First Contact Resolution rates are directly related to your customer satisfaction rates. Your Contact Resolution (FCR) rate is the home run of contact center statistics. It is the single key performance indicator that has an effect on almost every other meaningful statistic and measurement in the contact center. To measure it properly, you need to ensure that the information you have collected is clearly actionable.
Business Process that is done by interviews, discovery and examining “As is” and TO BE” process in that client’s organization today. Those companies implementing business process management have learned that it can compress cycle times, reduce cost and improve responsiveness. But if you treat BPM as a once-and-done project, you run the risk of suboptimal gains or the gradual erosion of initial gains. If you cut costs by automating the customer-inquiry process, for example, but don't go on to analyze, redesign and manage the larger order-to-cash process, you'll miss further gains simply because the root causes of many customer complaints stem from the larger, end-to-end process. Similarly, if an insurance firm improves a process, such as claims handling, but then fails to continuously monitor, measure and manage that process, the initial gains will erode over time as staff, technology and business conditions change.
Communications-Enabled Business Processes (CEBP): You want to integrate communications with core business applications in your enterprise, such as with applications for sales, service, logistics, human resources, or specialized vertical market apps such as in health care, financial services, manufacturing, transportation, education, or government. This focus is on presenting communication tools in context of the applications and within the business application user interfaces (on PCs, laptops, mobile devices, appliances, or telephones) CEBP solutions are based on the discover of communication-intensive places in business processes which have problems – delays, errors, duplication of effort, low quality, high cost, customer or user dissatisfaction, etc. With the new UC tools, those ‘communication hot spots’ can be redesigned or re-invented to avoid or bypass the legacy communication problems.
The new kid on the block represent the interoperability and interaction of multi media tools with each other Perhaps next generation CEBP? But not just the interactions of the tools but the interactions of the multi-media reporting and recording to deliver a true cradle to grave experience and analytics.
There are many applications and users of both existing and future state UC. Some of these uses are listed below and further illustrate how this documentation needs to be understood by many stakeholders:
So if you as a UC vendor are not having any or all of these discussions with your existing and potential customers, maybe you should change oars in the water and try some or all or them. It does bring a new level of relationship building to the client profile.
You covered a lot of territory, Samantha. As consumers increasingly have direct access to information and self-service transactions (Not just IVR!) through smartphones and tablets, we see changes in what those end users really want. On the one hand, it won't be immediate "call resolution'" all the time like the telephone created. On the other hand, there will be more "contextual" questions while using self-service applications that may require assistance. With UC's "click-for-assistance," the role of contact center agents and experts will change dramatically. In some cases, an immediate response will be necessary, in other cases, there will be no ruch. The fact that customers will be using multi-modal mobile devices also means that responding to them can be done at any time, in any mode ,not just with a voice call to a fixed location. We have to start learning what mobile customers will really do in a UC enabled Contact Center environment through more comprehensive contextual application analytics, not just call and message traffic.The "cloud" environment will provide a great way tC-enabled self-service applications and gather the learning data.
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Communications Integrated to Optimize Business Processes.
UC integrates real-time and non-real time communications with business processes and requirements.
Uses presence capabilities for coordination, and presents a consistent unified user interface and experience across multiple devices and media types.
Learn more at What is Unified Communications all about?