Digital Transformation in 2021… Keeping Up with Touchless & New Ways to Connect with Customers

Adaptation has always been a necessity for survival, but now businesses are finding that they have to adapt overnight to stay afloat. Touchless technology in the form of contactless payments, expanded mobile app offerings and remote contact centers is becoming the new normal for businesses across industries.

Touchless technology is impacting the B2C world primarily in payment transactions and customer communications. For example, contactless digital payments are replacing traditional paper checks in many transactions. While the primary driver is health and safety, there are other benefits: digital payments are received faster and cost less to process, improving cash flow and reducing costs.

B2B companies, as well as organizations with call centers or large sales teams, have had to quickly figure out how to stay in touch with customers and clients via a largely remote workforce…

  • Unified communications technology keeps the lines of communication open from any device and any location.
  • Cloud-based VoIP phones enable employees to communicate and collaborate via voice, text and screen share, making it easy to assist customers even when working from home.
  • A unified communications contact center empowers businesses to communicate with customers via chat, SMS, voice, email and social media – all with a virtual workforce.

All companies should consider the impact touchless tech will have on how their business is run, and we encourage you to explore Digital Transformation and new avenues of communications with your customers.

Looking for new ways to connect that will grow your business? Contact TCI today at (703) 321-3030 or info@tcicomm.com.

 

Creating a Superior Customer Experience to Grow Your Online Business

In the brick-and-mortar world, windows entice shoppers into the store. Online, your website is the “window.” Is it visually exciting? Does it encourage shoppers to explore your services and capabilities? Is it easy to navigate, and does it load quickly?

These are only the basics. If you haven’t already, you’ll want to cover all the bases when it comes to developing a strong e-commerce platform. Here’s why…

Responsive communications

Today’s consumer won’t tolerate slow service. Shoppers want answers quickly – in minutes, not hours – and certainly not days. They’ve come to expect 24/7 service, where someone, somewhere in the world, is available to resolve any issues they encounter. And while they expect and use self-service options, consumers’ patience runs thin if they can’t find the answers they need quickly. When that happens, they expect a live person to step in and help.

Personalized service

Consumers expect service reps to know everything about their communications with the company, as well as key personal information and history. Successful online businesses use CRM tools to capture all customer data, across all channels, to create a seamless experience. By using the cloud and integrating with other internal systems – like supply chain and logistics platforms – service professionals can have all the information instantly available to meet customer requirements.

Easy, safe online check out

The desire to limit exposure to COVID will continue to influence shopping behavior for the near term. Enhancing the online shopping experience with tools for attracting and retaining customers becomes even more vital. That can mean offering the ability to save items in a cart and apply coupon codes to offering a range of payment and shipping choices. Shops that aren’t properly set up for online transactions will lose out.

Multiple delivery options

Along with increasing their demands on customer support, consumers have come to expect flexibility when it comes to shipping and delivery. Due to the pandemic, delivery services are expected and many companies are making delivery options part of their core business and arranging Just-in-Time inventory to help reduce costs.

Customer reviews

An essential part of today’s online shopping experience is the ability to read credible product reviews. That means not just publishing your customers’ thoughts about their purchases, but responding to any concerns they might have in the review section. Businesses that demonstrate that they’re listening to – and doing something about – complaints develop greater respect from both current and potential customers.

Remote teams

The pandemic has moved more employees into a virtual work environment, which can actually improve customer service. Call centers don’t need a physical location when reps can connect to the network from home. With the right communications tools, businesses can be more responsive and nimble.

The pandemic has put great pressure on businesses, but it has also presented them with great opportunities… TCI can help your efforts to exploit better technology go smoothly. Contact us today at (703) 321-3030 or info@tcicomm.com.

 

Moving Beyond Band-Aid Collaboration Tools

The impacts of the coronavirus on business culture have forced a critical need for unified business communication technology that goes well beyond commonly used band-aid solutions.

As we all continue to grapple with social distancing and lockdown protocols, everyone is searching for innovative ways to get back to “normal life.”

This has prompted business leaders to rethink customer interaction and strengthen remote collaboration in their B2B and B2C environments – while making it all work seamlessly.

  • Incorporate everything your team uses to connect and be productive in one system.
  • Choose technology that supports all of your collaboration needs with these three features – Dedicated Workspaces, Task Management, and Shared Files for each project.
  • Create an ideal environment that allows for quick responses with features such as Messaging, Telephony, and Video – no matter what your system includes, it’s important to keep it Unified.

Ready to make the switch from your emergency solution to a long-term solution? We’re here to help. Contact TCI today: (703) 321-3030 or info@tcicomm.com.

 

Strengthening Collaboration in the Evolving Workplace

Today’s pandemic has changed the way small and medium businesses perceive the workplace. Responding to stay-at-home mandates, SMBs with existing remote work programs have expanded them, and those that lacked work-from-home options prior to the pandemic started implementing them.

The Hybrid Workplace

Some employees will eventually go back to the office full-time when the pandemic subsides. Many will continue to work at home full-time, while others divide their work between home and office. The workplace is also likely to remain fluid, accommodating changing business and employee situations on the fly.

People who had turned off their cameras for online meetings started turning them on. In the process, everyone has become accustomed to the occasional technical glitches and security breaches, or scenes of family life playing out in the background. But video conferencing is not the only online tool that has helped sustain businesses…

Cloud to the Rescue

Cloud applications – remote IT and access, real-time collaboration, file sharing, backup, security, and identity management – have proven their value in supporting remote work and keeping businesses operational.

Integrating a mix of old phone systems, web and video conferencing, SMS, file-sharing and other tools often cost more – in terms of both time and money – than it does to move to a unified solution where the applications work together.

Unified, cloud collaboration solutions pull all of the things you need to do every day into one place. Many cloud solutions offer integration with key business applications, such as email, CRM, human resources, and other solutions to help streamline business workflows and help remote workers thrive. For example, your communications can be arranged to integrate with G Suite, Salesforce, SugarCRM, Microsoft Office or Microsoft Dynamics. Unified collaboration solutions also offer enterprise-grade security and reliability safeguards that businesses need.

Making the Transition

As your business transitions from meeting immediate needs to long-term planning, taking a more holistic approach can help you bring people and processes together, and put your business on the path to sustainability and growth as the workplace continues to evolve.

Collaboration in the evolving workplace can be a big challenge. TCI can help make it happen. Contact us today at (703) 321-3030 or info@tcicomm.com.

 

4 More Reasons We Built TCI Host on a Mitel-Powered Business Cloud Platform

Mitel is #1 in Cloud Communications Worldwide… This is good for TCI-delivered Cloud services and better for you…

When it comes to communications and collaboration, the DC region’s fastest moving businesses choose solutions that give them choices.

TCI’s flexible, easy-to-use cloud service is powered by Mitel, making us the choice of public and private sector customers across the region. Supporting ‘anywhere’ connections, our TCI Host service supports their office-based, remote and hybrid workers across the country.

Industry experts and customers of all sizes are reinforcing our choice of a Mitel-powered platform over any other provider for our clients:

  • Synergy Research – Mitel is the #1 market leader in total cloud seats for the 7th consecutive year
  • Frost & Sullivan – Mitel named leader in UCaaS growth and innovation
  • Newsweek – Mitel named Best Business Communications Tool Provider
  • Tolly Report – Mitel was compared to 8×8 and RingCentral and emerged superior

Just 4 more reasons to choose TCI Host – powered by Mitel – for all your communications needs… Contact us today at (703) 321-3030 or info@tcicomm.com.

 

 

Lower Costs and Add Flexibility with SD-WAN… We’re Ready to Manage Your Deployment or Support “as a Service”

Software-Defined Wide Area Network (SD-WAN) technology allows you to do more with your network. Paired with high speed connections and Wireless backups, SD-WAN can help overcome the bandwidth, scalability, complexity and cost concerns common with legacy network services.

The WAN struggle is real

Branch sites have never demanded as much bandwidth as they do today with both global business traffic and SaaS application usage soaring. This results in legacy business WAN links, such as MPLS, rapidly exceeding the capacity for which they were originally designed.

With a software-defined network you can take advantage of broadband and fiber links to significantly save on WAN costs and deliver the desired level of performance you need for critical cloud applications like Voice, Data and Video.

SD-WAN is ideal for multi-site deployments, offering lower operational costs and improved resource usage. The technology also enables service providers to offer the highest level of performance without sacrificing security or data privacy. Here are some of the ways your business can benefit from SD-WAN…

  • Optimize performance – Features like a scalable pipeline and intelligent path selection can improve network performance enterprise-wide.
  • Increase throughput & reliability – Application-aware routing protocols let your network adjust to demands in network traffic.
  • Save time and travel – Handle tasks like pushing policies to branch locations and launching new sites remotely from a central location.
  • Reduce costs – With intelligent software substituting for hardware functionality, you can save as expensive hardware options are consolidated or phased out.
  • Track the performance – of critical web applications travelling through VPN tunnels or directly through the public Internet
  • Easily identify and pinpoint – the cause of poor application performance – LAN, WAN, or server

SD-WAN adoption can be a gradual process… There’s no need to sacrifice existing investments in traditional networking infrastructure. No matter what kind of network solutions you may have in place now, TCI can help you select from the best providers and manage your SD-WAN deployment to make your hybrid WAN easier to implement and operate.

Let’s talk about how SD-WAN can improve the way you connect your business. Contact TCI today at (703) 321-3030 or info@tcicomm.com.

Your One-Stop-Shop for Better Broadband & Network Services

Broadband, network and carrier services are no longer just a ‘required’ cost of doing business, especially when the workplace is being re-imagined during the current pandemic. In today’s environment, optimized network services translate into competitive advantage.

As your trusted IT and Telecom services advocate, TCI helps you select, source and implement what you need at the best prices.

  • Broadband Internet Access
  • SIP Trunking
  • MPLS, SD-WAN, Dedicated WAN Services
  • Local & Long Distance Access
  • Audio, Video & Web Conferencing

The Best Solutions, Pricing and Support

TCI thoroughly reviews your services, invoices, agreements and providers while evaluating your spending to find better deals and uncover savings. We stay current on the service providers and what they offer. To help you avoid service problems, we act as your representative and work with only the most dependable carriers and providers.

At TCI, our top-most concern is you

  • Save Time – Comparison-shopping can be time consuming. Contacting various providers and working through the quoting process can be overwhelming. Let TCI do the work for you so you can focus on your core business.
  • Single Point of Contact – We can be your 1-call for both hardware and carrier services.
  • Reduce Costs – We can secure the best pricing when shopping for new or existing services
  • We are Carrier Neutral – We recommend the best providers and services for your unique requirements.

Contact us today to schedule a complementary Broadband and Carrier Services consultation: (703) 321-3030 or info@tcicomm.com.

 

 

Adapt with New Technology… Fill Your Resource Gap with Conversational AI / Chatbots

The COVID-19 pandemic is transforming the way we connect, communicate and collaborate. One powerful tool helping to close the social distance gap between customers and businesses is the chatbot, a software application designed for human-like conversations.

Personalized Interactions

Amid the pandemic, chatbots are being used to fill the current resource gap and enable businesses to operate at scale.

The technology uses customer data to personalize interactions, answer questions and route requests to the right person. Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) enable the bots to recognize common words and phrases as well as gather information to resolve issues or assist agents once a call is transferred.

Conversational AI is adept at helping businesses manage heavier workloads created by the competing demands of shrinking workforces and higher call volumes. With chatbots handling routine questions and transactions, employees can spend more time building relationships with customers or working on problems that require creativity to solve.

Customer Acceptance

Customers value chatbots as much as businesses do. According to a recent study, 62% of U.S. consumers say they like using chatbots to interact with businesses. While they still prefer a human agent’s help with complex matters, customers are more willing to accept AI help for simple tasks, such as relaying an account balance.

Consumers are more likely to engage with chatbots if they feel they will save time and money. In a Gartner survey, 58% of respondents said they personally would use AI if it saved them time, compared to 53% who said saving money was their top reason. Nearly half (47%) say easier access to information would make them more likely to interact with a bot.

The trend toward more chatbot interactions is likely to continue as businesses rely on innovative ways to get work done and provide fast, efficient customer service.

Reach out to TCI to discuss new solutions that can help your business exceed customer expectations. Contact us today at (703) 321-3030 or info@tcicomm.com.

 

 

Stay Energized… 5 Tips to Combat Video Conferencing Fatigue

Many of us are relying on video to stay in touch with friends and colleagues. As a result, we’re spending both work and personal time on camera, and these hours add up fast. It’s no wonder people have come to find video conferences draining.

Fortunately, there are things you can do to reduce video fatigue, while still interacting with team members and getting work done. The five tips below will help recharge your video conferencing batteries…

1. Ask yourself if video is really necessary – If you’re scheduling a meeting, think about how important it is to see the other participants. Client meetings and brainstorming sessions are often better with video, but routine check-ins and status updates may be just as effective with the camera turned off.

2. Be selective about invites – The more people on a video call, the more tiring it can be. There are more faces to watch (and interpret) and it becomes difficult to constantly adjust your attention from one person to another. Staying focused becomes a challenge. To overcome this, carefully review the invite list and limit attendees to only those who need to be there.

3. Use a reliable and secure video conferencing provider – A reliable video conferencing solution reduces worry about potential technical issues. A powerful solution should also include additional features that make video calls more productive and engaging. Some providers include persistent chat logs and file sharing, so you can keep track of important decisions and share information.

4. Schedule breaks between video conference calls – With remote work continuing for many, video conferences aren’t going away. A short break between calls gives you time to stretch, grab a snack and freshen up if you’re feeling drained. A walk outside can also do wonders. It will help you to refocus and gear up for the next call.

5. Leverage other unified communications technology when appropriate – Persistent collaborative workspaces are a unified communications tool that allows team members to work together efficiently and effectively. Colleagues can share files, chat and exchange ideas in real time. You can even create and assign tasks to people, making it easy to track progress on projects and to stay on top of your own to-do list.

Sometimes we just don’t want to be on screen. Remote work and video conferences will be part of our new normal, so take steps now to keep them in check and you energized.

Make sure your video meeting solutions are helping your team meet its potential… Contact TCI today at (703) 321-3030 or info@tcicomm.com.

 

Stay Competitive… Ensure your Communications System is a Strategic Asset in 2021 & Beyond

Today’s business reality is that you can’t be competitive without a fully optimized communications system. That’s why it’s important to regularly take a hard look at what you have and what you should have.

Many communications system features that may have seemed unnecessary a few years ago are now table stakes. Likewise, features you thought would improve operations may no longer be delivering the benefits they should be providing.

  • Efficiency – Research shows that 85% of small businesses agree that efficient communication between different teams is fundamental to staying ahead of the competition. But a poor technology strategy can have serious repercussions on a business and even affect a company’s ability to compete. For example, inefficient communications can cost upwards of $6,000 per employee per year to a small business, even more for an enterprise.
  • Integration – Systems that aren’t integrated with core applications, like CRM, that don’t provide a single unified view of all communications options and that don’t enable team collaboration, video conferencing and anytime, anywhere access to email, text and chat are no longer adequate.
  • Software Updates – Likewise, systems that offer all those things but are two or three software updates behind are not operating at peak efficiency and may, in fact, be reducing productivity and increasing the IT threat surface.
  • Reassessment – Organizations that don’t view their communications system as a strategic asset, reassess their investments regularly and optimize their systems at every opportunity can find themselves in situations where their communication technology mix does not meet today’s demands.

Keeping pace with ever-changing communications technologies will position your business for success when an unexpected crisis arises.

Schedule a technology consultation or site survey to ensure your Business Communications are ready for 2021. Contact us today at (703) 321-3030 or info@tcicomm.com.