The 9 Most Important Call Center Trends of 2022

We’ve seen a lot of changes to the call center and customer experience landscape over the years, from cloud communications and virtual agents to more strategic thinking around analytics, more flexible social media interactions, and innovative ways to involve artificial intelligence. And when the pandemic pushed businesses to modernize their business communications overnight, we’ve seen even more shifts in how businesses meet the evolving needs of both customers and their employees.

Here are nine technology trends that are helping companies deliver the best quality customer experience. See how far your business has come in building customer relationships that last — or which of these trends may need to be on this year’s to-do list.

1. Artificial Intelligence

As early adopters continue honing AI applications for call routing, we expect to see more connections forged between various media channels and streamlined call center response.

2. Digital Transformation

A forward-looking digital transformation strategy is going to be essential for business competitiveness. And it’s not just about using the right channels to interact with customers where they are; the smartest businesses are integrating technologies to provide full customer context with each interaction and leveraging system data to provide proactive service.

3. Better Contact Center Analytics

Gone are the days of relying on supervisor skills and know-how to get the most out of contact center agents. Now, even smaller businesses are taking advantage of sophisticated analytics to turn data – like call and screen recordings, chats, SMS messages, and more – into useful feedback for their agents. We expect more advancements in analytics as companies continue to implement more unified communications platforms and strategies.

4. Omnichannel Communications

More businesses are recognizing that while a customer journey may begin on one channel, valuable insight and feedback from the customer can be gained on a completely different channel. Responsive businesses are using this trend to create a superb customer experience by unifying communications across channels into one stream. This helps their customers by connecting them with an agent who knows their purchase and service history and provides valuable context. Most importantly, the two-way conversation is public on a social media platform, so other customers can see how the business solved the problem.

5. Cloud Communications

Many businesses have already adopted cloud communications as part of their communications strategies, but cloud communications have become particularly important for contact centers. The steady increase in remote call agents has made cloud communications a necessity for businesses who want to take advantage of seamless team communications and collaboration. With cloud communications, traditional office-based contact centers can take on new locations, and grow and contract workforces as market needs demand.

6. Employee Engagement

Just as customer expectations have evolved in the last few years, so have the expectations of the employees that make quality customer experience possible. And dissatisfaction in the work environment and culture has led to high agent attrition in the contact center space and beyond. Businesses that want to remain competitive will provide their employees with the culture and technology that empowers an efficient, productive, and flexible workforce.

7. Flexible Working Options

Lower overhead, time zone flexibility, and variable working hours have made remote contact center workers a stable trend in 2022. With constantly improving unified communications, remote workers have become a permanent and beneficial part of the contact center environment. By using collaboration tools, contact center agents can be mobile, with access to real-time analytics and customer context.

8. AI-Powered Self-Service Tools

The high priority on process improvement and self-service since the pandemic has addressed the issue of increasing workload for contact center agents, as well as the difficulties around achieving the desired service levels or Average Speed of Answer (ASA). Giving customers information quickly helps reduce call volumes, and easy-to-navigate FAQs help narrow down calls to those with sufficiently complex issues. Quick access to self-serve solutions also provides an emotional benefit to customers (that DIY-fix high!) and reduces overall call times.

9. SMB’s Leveraging All Employees to Support Customers

SMBs are extending traditional contact center agent desktop features to employees that work outside of the contact center to supplement customer-facing employees. Blended UC/CC solutions that bring customer and employee experiences together into a single user experience tear down the silos between traditional contact center agents and the rest of the organization.

If you need more help determining how to apply these trends to your call center, TCI’s local experts are here to help. Contact us today: (703) 321-3030 or info@tcicomm.com.

 

Live + Digital… Ready to Deliver a Seamless Customer Experience?

There’s no question that the customer experience (CX) has undergone a dramatic shift in the past few years. Consumers are online more than ever. Like the rest of daily life, CX has become a true blend of the digital and “live” worlds.

Most people channel-switch without thinking these days and consumers will only want the process to become more seamless as they return to brick-and-mortar stores. In-person shopping has nearly returned to pre-pandemic levels, while smartphone purchases have undergone a 70% increase since 2019 and continue to grow.

Digital, but Make it Personal

Because so many transactions take place in the digital space first, it’s more important than ever to prioritize investment in technology that supports client engagement. Being able to deliver curated products and personalized customer support goes a long way in making your customer feel like you truly care.

CX is tied directly to Employee Experience; customers are increasingly sensitive to the person on the other end of the line and can tell when a company doesn’t prioritize staff well-being. Equipping your employees to work in hybrid or remote settings and giving them the tools to make informed decisions at any point in the customer journey makes everyone feel empowered.

Tips for Building Trust

A little investment in the CX goes a long way towards building loyalty, ensuring customers will continue to use and recommend your services. So, how can you build trust in this complicated, digital-first world?

  • Lead with digital, finish with personal: Ultimately, customers want to feel that human element. Customize their experiences and connect with them personally to keep them engaged.
  • Discover new customer journeys: Your clients will be accessing your products from multiple channels. Do you know how to meet them every step of the way?
  • Define your values and follow through: Not only do consumers want to understand your values, they also need to know that you see them through. Showing that you care about the same things as your customers will bring them back time and time again.
  • Provide excellent customer service: Employee happiness translates to customer happiness. Give your staff the technology they need to maximize CX.
  • Ensure data privacy: Customers are willing to give more of their personal data if they know it will be handled securely. This data can be used to customize interactions even more.

The Commercial Advantages of Blended CX

Consumers are willing to pay a premium for positive transactions and are increasingly tying their personal values to their purchasing decisions. If you can meet customers on their terms, speak to them on a personal level, and develop their trust, your investment will yield returns far beyond your expectations.

TCI is ready to implement technologies that help your business maximize the Customer Experience. Contact us today: (703) 321-3030 or info@tcicomm.com.

 

The Next Level of Cloud Voice Flexibility from Mitel & RingCentral… TCI Makes it Happen

Our new strategic partnership with RingCentral makes it easier to leverage one of the best cloud-based UCaaS options available today. RingCentral Message Video Phone (MVP) is an all-in-one solution that can easily meet the changing needs of your workforce.

Upgrading to RingCentral provides everything you need to build a company culture that will position you for long-term success:

  • A unified, collaborative hub for all employees, regardless of where they are working
  • Higher capacity video conferencing, more powerful messaging, and full-featured telephony
  • Enterprise-grade security and unmatched reliability that delivers 99.999% uptime
  • Over 275 out-of-the-box integrations with business apps and open APIs
  • A modular system approach that can grow alongside your business
  • Analytics and real-time reporting that make tracking important metrics easier than ever
  • Seamless integration with any of your existing features

Special Offers for Existing Mitel Customers

For our existing Mitel customers looking to upgrade or replace their cloud technologies, there’s even more to be excited about. For a limited time, Mitel is offering up to three months free of RingCentral MVP. They’re also waiving early termination fees and offering free onboarding and implementation services. Make sure to ask us if you’re eligible for this special competitive pricing, but act fast – these offers end on June 30, 2022.

Your local TCI team will ensure a seamless upgrade experience, so you and your team will be up and running in no time. Contact us today: (703) 321-3030 or info@tcicomm.com.

 

Enabling Innovation & Productivity in Your Hybrid Workforce

Innovation and productivity are key factors in the growth and success of any company. When workers were suddenly forced home in March 2020, many thought innovation and productivity would plummet during the pandemic lockdown. Against expectations, by November of 2021, productivity had increased.

A study by Microsoft showed that 82% of company leaders felt their companies were at least equally if not more productive than before the lockdown. Now, after two years, some experts predict productivity across the economy will rise by 5% as a direct result of remote or hybrid work.

What Factors Contribute to Productivity?

Productivity now hinges on employees’ adaptability and ability to function independently in non-traditional work environments. Here are three important elements that play into productivity…

  • Tech Savviness: Getting all employees up to speed using video calls, text messaging and file sharing may take time in the beginning but pays off in the end by ensuring that everyone is seamlessly connected to the workflow and that communications occur naturally.
  • Time to Focus: Some workers feel less distracted when working from home, while others desire the structure of the office. The challenge for managers is to find the balance between giving employees the independence to work on their own and making sure they remain integrated with the rest of the team, no matter where they’re located.
  • Employee Engagement: Employees who are deeply connected to their companies are 55% more productive than those who don’t have the same feelings. Listening to employees’ needs is important, as well as ensuring that those who choose to stay remote feel integrated into the community.

What About Innovation?

Innovation happens best when teams come together and create solutions. Companies that encourage creativity stay ahead of the curve, while those that don’t make the same investment will quickly fall behind. Structures that support innovation include…

  • Effortless Communications: Teams that have free and open conversations with each other innovate on a higher level. The creative energy that arises from the ability to iterate ideas is what drives companies to develop new products and stay at the top of the field. Apps with shared documents and instant communication features allow coworkers to collaborate easily without getting bogged down by slow connections or switching between applications.
  • Time for Teamwork: Whether employees are in-person or remote, prioritizing structured time for everyone to come together is important for fostering new ideas. Creating an intentional schedule specifically for brainstorming sessions ensures coworkers have the time to build trust and feel comfortable sharing ideas. Using screen sharing and video chatting apps can facilitate innovation by enabling everyone to feel like they’re in the same room.
  • Community of Trust: Fostering an environment where it’s safe for ideas to fail as well as succeed is important for innovation. Finding ways to establish connections is always a challenge – even more so without the nuances of personal interaction. Being able to seamlessly switch from text messaging to video chatting removes some of the barriers to communication between coworkers and helps everyone feel more comfortable sharing their thoughts.

It’s clear that investing in communications technology and ensuring that everyone is up to speed will be key factors in supporting productivity and innovation in 2022. For example, communication solutions with integrated collaboration and team meeting apps help bridge the gap between remote and in-person work, providing ways for everyone to feel confident and connected.

Your local TCI team is ready to support your innovation and productivity initiatives with customized technology solutions. Contact us today: (703) 321-3030 or info@tcicomm.com.

 

The 2022 HR Challenge – Building a Supportive Company Culture in the Digital Era

As companies continue with hybrid and remote work arrangements, human resource departments have had to reorganize their priorities. When asked what they saw as their primary role in their organizations in 2021, 65% of HR professionals pointed to “keeping employees engaged and building a supportive company culture,” according to a recent survey.

Replacing the Physical Workplace with a Collaborative Space

The first thing that usually comes to mind when attempting to define “corporate culture” is the physical office. Historically, the workplace environment has had an outsized influence on corporate identity, employee productivity, job satisfaction, and morale.

The needs and values of today’s employees have evolved. Rather than speculating on ways to revive the old culture and re-create it, companies should be using employee input to visualize and create a new culture that transcends the confines of physical space.

How to Create an Authentic Company Culture using UC

Of the organizations that indicated significant transformation since the beginning of 2020, three out of four reported they expect to be more reliant on remote work, according to a recent survey. Not surprisingly, 69% also said they expect to be more reliant on technology for internal collaboration.

Here are some ways organizations can use UC tools like those from Mitel to create and support company culture:

  • Leverage video conferencing tools so both in-office and remote employees can stay informed and engaged on important topics. Equal facetime is important for employees to feel involved and valued.
  • Create shared workspaces where employees can exchange files and documents and store them in one place. This can stem virtual meeting fatigue by reducing the number of status calls and facilitating collaboration across time zones and geographical locations.
  • Record calls when you need to use flex hours and catch up on what you missed by listening to the recordings at a later time. This feature allows employees to achieve better work-life balance while staying involved.
  • Use UC monitoring tools to track project completion and delivery milestones, rather than just time spent on a given project. Employees are more empowered when they’re able to determine their personal workflows.

No two employees work the same way, and UC tools can be used to accommodate different approaches to achieving goals. By providing employees with the flexibility and tools they need, managers can make everyone feel like they’re part of a community, rather than just cogs in a machine.

Your local TCI team is ready to implement UC technologies that support your company culture and employee work styles. Contact us today: (703) 321-3030 or info@tcicomm.com.

 

Expansion or Move on the Horizon? Your Technology Plan Needs to be Priority 1

Whether you’re faced with relocating the company headquarters or adding a new office, ensuring a successful Day One requires that you plan ahead – especially when it comes to office technology.

Engage your local TCI relocation experts well ahead of your move date – keeping in mind that some services can take as long as six months to deliver.

Some of the technologies you need to consider and plan for may include:

  • Voice, Data, and Video services and platforms
  • Wired and Wireless infrastructure
  • Audio/Video and Conferencing Systems
  • Room Scheduling, Overhead Paging, and Sound Masking
  • Access and Security systems
  • Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity Plans

Technology done right takes planning, time, and coordination with ALL the relevant trades involved in your move or new space, including HVAC to protect your IT equipment and UPS to keep your systems running when commercial power fails.

Let TCI experts manage the details. We have decades of experience supporting business and public sector clients in every type of facility…

  • Commercial offices
  • Industrial | Manufacturing
  • Warehouse | Distribution
  • Secure Facilities
  • Retail & Branch Locations

TCI’s certified network engineers are ready to coordinate everything… We’ll work with your real estate professional, general contractor, project manager, designer, and architect to ensure that all technology requirements are included in their plans so you don’t get stuck with expensive and time-consuming change requests.

We’re ready to design, build, manage, and support your technology. Contact us today: (703) 321-3030 or info@tcicomm.com.

 

4 Team Collaboration Challenges and How to Overcome Them

Businesses are finding it increasingly difficult to encourage team collaboration. When successful team skills are absent, your business can end up as a collection of competing silos and individuals.

Collaboration Challenges

  • Poor Engagement – Developing a collaborative group starts with the team itself. This includes buy-in concerning process, direction and expected outcomes. If teams aren’t engaged, they won’t be able to identify problems or find solutions.
  • Competition – Turf wars discourage collaboration. In fact, one of collaboration’s main benefits is that people, even those with vastly different skill sets, can mentor and teach each other.
  • Lack of Transparency – When you have team members whose work depends on others, they need to share their progress, concerns, and obstacles. Without transparency, teams can’t establish trust.
  • No Team Governance – People tend to resent collaboration when they aren’t given clear objectives and key performance indicators or don’t understand what their teammates bring to the table.

The Solutions

  • Start with the mission – To create collaboration, team members need to have a convincing reason to buy into the mission. When they’re given a clear cause to engage in, team members naturally become as passionate about team goals as their leaders. When collaboration permeates the entire organization, everyone wins – engaged employees mean increased retention, faster time to market, and improved profitability.
  • Promote positive change – To strengthen a company, create a values-based culture. When you treat employees as people instead of cogs in a wheel, and ensure their managers focus on positive interactions, you remove the stress that can lead to a toxic workplace. When employees are happy and collaboration improves, so does an organization’s ability to handle sudden disruptions.
  • Foster a culture of innovation – For teams to grow, they need to feel they have the ability to be creative, brainstorm, and question the status quo. It’s also important to ask team members for their ideas and reasoning on a regular basis. The more connected and understood they feel, the more motivated they’ll be to perform, think outside the box, and exceed expectations.
  • Leverage technology – Use technology to strengthen internal and external communication via channels such as messaging and video conference calls. Collaboration tools help keep departments and decision-makers on the same page at all times. This is even more crucial as companies become increasingly distributed.

Team collaboration is the main ingredient your organization needs in order for every other element – talent, innovation, productivity, and profitability – to fall into place.

Let’s talk about overcoming your challenges by leveraging technologies that enable collaboration. Contact TCI today: (703) 321-3030 or info@tcicomm.com.

 

Surviving on Good-Enough Communications? A Guide to Upgrading Your Business Technology

Business leaders have been running in emergency mode trying to adapt to workplace limitations imposed by COVID and the mandates intended to limit its spread. Often, businesses made do with a mix of communications solutions from different vendors – with varying results.

Now is the time to re-assess and refine:

Integrate Communications

Many businesses are working with an unwieldy patchwork of solutions from different vendors, each implemented separately at different times. This Frankenstein-type framework is okay for just getting by. But compatibility and efficiency issues can hamper your capacity to grow and thrive. An integrated platform ensures a seamless experience for management, employees, and ultimately customers.

Adapt Processes to Make the Most of Communication Technology

If you find yourself spending more time on communications tools after a partial or complete migration, you may not be making the best use of them. Define optimal ways of working before you implement the tools. Will you recreate your current processes with your new cloud solutions? If so, go back to the whiteboard. Set up measurement tools before you deploy. You can’t improve what you don’t measure.

Develop Flexibility and Security

Whether your employees are remote, hybrid, or in-person, they’re likely to use personal devices for work purposes. With the right solutions, you can support secure work and promote collaboration regardless of which devices your employees use.

Offer Robust Tools to Avoid “Shadow IT”

Keeping employees from using unauthorized IT isn’t easy. You’ll need to offer modern and agile tools and establish an IT infrastructure that works for everyone. One central, lean IT infrastructure with well-documented interfaces will always scale better – and be more secure – than a hodge-podge of departmental apps and databases.

Invest in Omnichannel Customer Communication

Customer experience is an essential part of any communications upgrade. Customers want flexibility when they reach out. They may start on social media, switch to email, and then give you a call. An omnichannel communications solution removes friction and helps you meet customers where they are.

Prepare for Takeoff

The pandemic accelerated many businesses’ digital transformation, but many were forced to choose between speed and strategy. If your business has been getting by with emergency quick fixes, it’s time to redefine your communications strategy and upgrade.

TCI experts are here to help. Contact us today: (703) 321-3030 or info@tcicomm.com.

 

The Future of Work… Balancing Space, Place and Pace

Many organizations are building on the lessons of the past few years and finding a balance between remote and in-person work. As many companies prepare to welcome some employees back to the building (while others may not physically come back at all), it’s unlikely the workplaces we return to will look or function the same way they did before the pandemic.

A “Space” Where Collaboration is Easy

Regardless of your industry or company size, one thing is certain – creative use of unified communications technology can bridge the distance between remote, in-office, and hybrid workers and create an environment and culture sure to keep employees productive and engaged today, tomorrow, and beyond.

Companies will need to find ways for in-person and remote workers to collaborate in ways that feel natural, using UC solutions to ensure seamless communications no matter where they are.

The Connected Work “Place”

When employees return to in-person work, it may not look like the same place they left. Many companies are imagining adaptable workspaces with shared “zones” for whoever is in on a given day and large screens for videoconferencing with employees working remotely.

With the right technology, the workplace of the future will keep employees productive and happy as they seamlessly shift from one workplace to another. TCI offers solutions that make the line between remote and in-person work virtually disappear, allowing colleagues to seamlessly switch from text to video chat and whiteboard ideas in real-time with screen sharing.

Say Hello to the New Work “Pace”

Until recently, the constant connectivity of email and cell phones meant people were often on call around the clock. Instead of reporting from 9-5, workers will instead build their schedules around collaboration, finding times when teams are available to brainstorm together, before breaking apart to complete their tasks.

The right technology is required to make this vision a reality. With a single app, employees can text, video chat, share documents, and collaborate on projects. TCI’s solutions are flexible and easy to use, so employees will feel like they’re sitting next to their coworkers, even if they are on opposite coasts or even different continents.

The Future of Work

The lessons learned since 2020 will be used to build stronger connections. Forward-looking companies will turn to integrated communications to empower employees with the tools to work together seamlessly, regardless of where their “office” is located.

TCI is ready with the technologies you need for the re-imagined future of work. Contact us today at (703) 321-3030 or info@tcicomm.com.

 

Migrating to the Cloud… The Easiest Way to Simplify Your Business Communications

Your business has its own needs and distinct workflows, and the path you take to the cloud will be just as unique. Our new e-book will help you discover which path to the cloud is best for you, and how the cloud’s benefits – reliability, agility, and simplicity – and affordable monthly pricing can work for your business.

Learn why migrating with Mitel and our new UCaaS partner RingCentral is your easiest and most effortless way to connect with the cloud.

eBook: You Can Get There from Here, Profiles of a Cloud Migration Candidate

Connect Your Workforce

Migrating to the cloud gives you the best foundation for supporting the growing shift to hybrid work models and driving engagement with both employees and customers. Give your employees the tools to do their work, their way, supported by the best solution out there.

Support Your Customers

Enhancing employee experiences with your technology is a small change that has a big impact on your ability to meet your customers where they are and help set your business apart.

Migration Made Easy

Your TCI, Mitel, and RingCentral teams will work closely to ensure a seamless migration experience so you and your team will be up and running in no time. You will get access to world-class features and functionality with industry-leading 99.999% uptime.

Ready to talk about your path to the Cloud?
Contact us today at (703) 321-3030 or info@tcicomm.com.