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Gen Z & Gen Alpha – Tips for Preparing Your Organization for Them

Gen Zers and Alphas are digital natives — they’ve grown up alongside smartphones and tablets. They’ve always had information and communications tools at their fingertips and are incredibly comfortable experimenting with the latest technology and AI.

Who Are Gen Z and Gen Alpha?

  • Gen Z is defined as those born between 1995 and 2012. The oldest are starting their careers and the youngest are in middle school.
  • Gen Alphas’ birthdays range from 2013 to 2025. The oldest are beginning to pick up summer jobs and the newest members have yet to be born.

By the end of 2024, Gen Z will outnumber boomers in the workforce and are poised to overtake millennials by 2040. By the end of 2025, there will be two billion Alphas worldwide, making them the largest generation in history.

The Impact of Gen Z and Gen Alpha on the Work Landscape

Driven by a sense of purpose, they’re more likely to take control of their careers, frequently switching companies or working multiple part-time roles to get the flexibility they desire.

As more and more members of Gen Z enter the workforce, they struggle to reconcile their expectations of work with those of their employers. Companies have concerns about Gen Z’s experience, professionalism, and work ethic, with 36% of hiring managers admitting to age bias regarding their youngest hires.

Years of remote school and work mean Gen Z may have some catching up to do when it comes to navigating the work landscape. However, professional language and business dress — once office staples — are no longer the status quo in the new workplace. The new approach to work is less traditional and a little more personal. Video conferences have become much more informal over the last few years, and other communication tools like team chats make work seem more like an extension of their everyday lives.

After spending so much time online, Gen Z is looking to gain experience in the physical office. In fact, 74% prefer a hybrid schedule, and only 11% prefer to stay completely remote. They’re looking forward to experiences that can’t be replicated online, like in-person collaboration, mentorship, and office culture.

Despite their managers’ concerns, 64% of Gen Zers say they like their jobs, and 81% believe they’re good workers. A lifetime on social media means they’re the most well-connected generation yet. The future Gen Z (and Alpha to come) workforce will be tightly knit, socially driven, and technologically advanced.

Although leaders may be concerned about hiring Gen Zers and Alphas, they should embrace their strengths. Given the right tools and the room to grow, these new tech-savvy and purpose-driven employees have the potential to propel businesses into the future.

3 Ways to Prepare for the Future Workforce

As Gen Z and Gen Alpha begin their careers, organizations must develop strategies to set them up for success. To attract these younger generations, take advantage of their unique strengths, and turn them into a sophisticated, productive workforce, organizations should take these three steps:

1. Embrace Flexible Work Options – Gen Zers and Alphas value work-life balance and the ability to work on their terms. Businesses can attract and retain top young talent by embracing flexible schedules, remote or hybrid work models, and providing in-person collaboration opportunities.

2. Invest in Digital Tools and AI Integration – Generations Z and Alpha have grown up in a digital-first world, and companies should invest in robust, unified communications and collaboration platforms to meet their technological expectations. Features like AI capabilities, calendar integration, document management, and text-to-speech can enhance remote or hybrid work, streamline digital collaboration, and boost productivity.

3. Promote a Sense of Purpose – Younger generations value work that aligns with their values and has a positive social impact. Companies should focus on cultivating a workplace culture that emphasizes purpose, social responsibility, and opportunities for meaningful contributions.

Tech Savvy and Ready to Get to Work

By embracing tools and approaches that play to the younger generations’ skills and values, organizations can better prepare their newest employees for successful careers and future-proof their operations.

TCI designs, deploys, and supports communications tools and services that will connect your newest employees. Contact us today at (703) 321-3030 or GetHelp@tcicomm.com.
 

AI and Your Phone System… The Good, Bad and Ugly

We expect the evolution of AI to be as earth-shaking as the creation of the semiconductor, the personal computer, the Internet, and the mobile phone. AI will change the way people work, learn, travel, get healthcare, and communicate with each other.

Evolving phone systems will be just one aspect of its far-reaching influence as AI revolutionizes industries and our society.

Where will AI take UC?

“2024 may well be the year of reckoning for AI. So far, the main application of Gen AI has been with chatbots and voice-enabled bots. The real value is transitioning from front-end chatbots to ones that can act based on their process inputs. The next step will be for customer support software to go beyond just answering questions and move toward enabling true end-to-end task automation.”
– Martin Bitzinger, Mitel SVP, Product Management

AI will improve customer service in phone systems in several ways, including:

  • AI-supported Contact Centers: AI will reduce the likelihood of human error with improved user satisfaction, shorter call times, and more accurate information for callers.
  • Personalization and Customer Satisfaction: AI-powered systems will enable businesses to provide more personalized responses, leading to improved caller satisfaction rates.
  • 24/7 Availability and Quick Response Times: AI will allow for round-the-clock availability of virtual assistants, leading to quick response times and improved customer experiences.
  • Automated Call Transcription: AI call transcriptions will enhance call quality assurance, aid in targeted training of new representatives, and help identify key service trends and recurrent issues, ultimately improving customer service.
  • Chatbot-Based Customer Support: Web-based chatbots powered by AI will enable customers to find solutions without calling customer service, thus enhancing the overall customer experience.

More powerful smartphones

Companies like Google, Qualcomm, and Apple are heavily investing in AI to evolve smartphones, with a focus on generative AI, which can create new content and provide personalized recommendations based on text and image inputs.

Trouble Ahead

The use of AI in phone systems won’t be without its challenges. Scammers are already using AI to clone voices, making phone scams more sophisticated and believable.

Experts recommend adopting a “code word” system with your loved ones, always calling back to verify the situation, and setting social media accounts to private to prevent publicly available information from being used against individuals.

AI-enabled phone scams have raised concerns about the increasing threat of advanced phishing and targeted scams, prompting more calls to regulate the use of this powerful technology.

Let’s explore new ways to leverage and safeguard the technology in your business. Contact us today at (703) 321-3030 or GetHelp@tcicomm.com.
 

Position Your SMB for Success with the Latest UC Capabilities… Connect Your Employees & Customers

As we look toward the new year, small business owners have a lot to consider…

  • After navigating a global pandemic and high inflation, small business owners know they need to be ready for the next unexpected business disruption.
  • Customer expectations have reached an all-time high, and delivering an optimal customer experience has become more critical than ever.
  • Employee needs have also changed, with many desiring more flexible and fulfilling work options.

These increasing demands present new challenges for SMB owners and IT professionals who now must develop a strategy for connecting a distributed workforce while interacting with customers wherever they happen to be.

The SMBs that will be the most successful are implementing the latest Unified Communication (UC) tools to provide resilience over the long term.

Today’s UC tools are integral in streamlining business processes by combining features like Team messaging, AI-powered chatbots, Video chat, and Third-party app integrations.

  • Delivering an Optimal Customer Experience – UC solutions provide SMBs with the flexibility to connect with customers on their preferred channels – whether it be contact center, SMS, Web chat, email, social media, or even virtual agents. SMBs need UC solutions that easily follow a customer conversation from virtual chat to phone to email.
  • Providing Flexibility to Employees – 98% of employees want to work remotely at least part of the time. As your workforce moves toward a hybrid work model, long-distance collaboration will be essential. A single easy-to-use UC interface simplifies this process for both employees and IT departments bringing together phone, chat or messaging, audio and video conferencing, web collaboration, and more.
  • The Cost Consideration – Lost productivity from poor communications strategies can cost SMBs significant dollars – funds that small business owners can’t afford to lose. They need reliable UC tools that are scalable and can grow and change with their business. Their UC deployment models must adapt to what’s best for business – whether that’s on-premises, in a private or public Cloud, or hybrid arrangement.

Plan Now for a More Prosperous 2024

As many SMBs prepare for the new year, there’s no better time to start implementing UC tools into business practices. Customers will spend money with businesses that are easy to communicate with and can solve any issues that may arise, quickly and efficiently.

Prospective employees looking for a new opportunity will also be attracted to businesses with systems that make their jobs and lives easier.

Let’s talk about your challenges and goals and map out a plan that will move your organization forward. Contact us today: (703) 321-3030 or GetHelp@tcicomm.com.
 


 

4 Ways Artificial Intelligence Will Improve Your Communications & How to Mitigate AI Security Issues

Unified Communications enable your employees to communicate and collaborate more effectively through screen sharing, video conferencing, mobile apps, and more. Adding artificial intelligence (AI) to the mix promises to send productivity through the roof, so it’s not surprising to see enterprises jump at the chance to experiment.

Still, even as AI transforms communications and collaboration, it raises new security concerns. Let’s dive deeper to understand how AI enhances Unified Communications and what enterprises need to do to maintain a secure environment.

4 Ways AI Is Improving Communications and Productivity

1. Improved Collaboration – Integrating AI chatbots into UC applications opens new doors for collaboration by gathering status updates from team members and alerting members via an app, email, SMS, or push notification if an error occurs on a product or process. When chatbots keep everyone and everything connected employees can more easily troubleshoot together, keep track of each other’s progress on projects and share ideas and information.

2. Easier Access and Use Of Data – AI virtual assistants improve access to documents and other information, automatically gathering and distributing data to employees’ devices — whether a presentation, a video, or a PDF. If questions on a prior discussion or topic arise during a meeting, the assistant retrieves pertinent emails, messages, or documents. As AI voice assistants such as Cortana and Alexa become more ingrained in the workplace, these requests may be made through voice recognition. Attendees stay focused and engaged in the conversation, with all information at their fingertips.

3. Increased Productivity – Chatbots field straightforward calls and online chats with customers, allowing your customer service team to focus on more complex calls and issues. In meetings, attendees concentrate on the content and discussion rather than on the communications tools. The AI assistant even initiates the conference automatically.

4. Better Efficiencies – Wouldn’t it be great to have someone else send meeting notes, assign action items, and schedule follow-up calls? The AI assistant handles all of it, allowing human attendees to spend their time on more complex and higher-value activities. AI also simplifies scheduling by identifying times that work for everyone. In the not-too-distant future, facial and voice recognition technologies will take attendance at meetings, eliminating yet another mundane and time-consuming task.

How To Mitigate AI Security Issues

While the benefits of AI and UC are many, the security of your communications system will also require more attention. AI technology accesses vast amounts of enterprise data on products, processes, and customers. If an attack occurs, all that data becomes vulnerable.

  • New standards and protocols will emerge as AI plays a more significant role in enterprise communications systems, so organizations must remain vigilant to stay compliant with the latest requirements.
  • There are likely security challenges with BYOD as employees’ AI-enhanced personal devices enter the workplace. Some organizations opt to disable voice assistants such as Google Assistant or Siri in the workplace. But as employees bring newer devices to the office, organizations must assess emerging AI technologies for security threats and establish clear guidelines in a formal security policy.
  • A positive note here is that AI enhances data and communications security. It will scan for potential threats and alert IT and security teams when vulnerabilities or possible attacks occur. Security professionals can respond far more quickly with the help of these technologies.

As AI and UC blend, productivity skyrockets, efficiency improves, and data is more accessible. But the architecture must have a stable base, with security as a main priority.

Thinking about adding new technology and capabilities to get more from your UC platform? Contact us today: ((703) 321-3030 or GetHelp@tcicomm.com.

How Real-World AI is Transforming the Fast-Paced World of Contact Centers

Thanks to Hollywood, it’s easy for many people to think of artificial intelligence as a sentient, self-learning technology that inevitably runs amok with the intent of wiping out humanity. This makes for fun movies, but what about the practical applications of AI in the real business world?

AI enables a computer or application to perform tasks commonly done by human beings – such as carry on conversations, discover meaning, and generalize or learn from past experiences. So, it should come as no surprise that AI is becoming a valuable tool in Contact Centers where such tasks have traditionally been carried out by human Agents to assist customers.

With more businesses looking to leverage AI’s capabilities, Mitel has partnered with tech leaders like Google to deliver AI-driven improvements across their core contact center solutions…

AI-enabled Chatbots accelerate Implementation

With a traditional chatbot, a contact center team is responsible for predicting what their customers are going to ask, and painstakingly scripting each interaction. With AI in the mix, the customer is connected directly to your company’s knowledge base, simplifying and shifting chatbot implementation time from months to days.

Natural Language Processing enables Virtual Agents

Using natural language processing, an intelligent customer experience solution understands what your customers are saying, chatting or texting – without requiring specific phrasing – and a virtual agent responds in real-time – whether a human agent is available or not.

Whenever the virtual agent reaches a question or situation it cannot handle, it can involve a human Agent in the conversation and feed its conversation details directly to that Agent.

Machine Learning improves the Customer Experience

Leveraging machine learning, the AI solution will continue to observe the customer-agent interaction, suggesting relevant options or content to the Agent and monitoring which responses come to a successful conclusion. This real-time coaching from AI Agent Assist results in more accurate, more responsive follow ups and an improved customer experience.

Webinar recap: The Intelligent Contact Center [57:30]

This in-depth webinar will show you how AI provides valuable insight into customer behavior so your contact center can deliver the best customer experience every time.

Among the topics covered:

  • Utilize IVR and CRM data to intelligently route incoming calls, offer predictive recommendations and drive up first call resolution
  • Save time and money by automating responses to common queries, improving resolution time and customer satisfaction (CSAT) scores
  • Identify trends, monitor performance and unlock deep insights into agents and customers

Video Demo: AI in the Contact Center [4:56 min]  

This video overview shows how Google AI & Mitel technology…

  • Uses the virtual agent chatbot and AI analytics to respond to common customer issues
  • Stays with each call, SMS or chat to find the best information for each customer
  • Learns what works and what doesn’t to improve future customer interactions
  • Simplifies agent workflows with smart virtual agent assist

New use cases will continue to emerge as the technology becomes more advanced. That means the definition of AI will continue to evolve, and you’ll want to keep pace to reap future business benefits.

Ready to improve your customer experience with real-world AI now? Contact TCI today: (703) 321-3030 or info@tcicomm.com.

 

 

Leverage Virtual Assistants & IoT to Make it Easier to Stay Connected with Your Customers

Customers are conversing with businesses in new ways, thanks to the Internet of Things (IoT). For many consumers, virtual assistants, chatbots and messaging apps are quickly becoming their preferred methods of communication.

CNBC reports that half of consumers will own a smart speaker by the end of the year, and among the top three uses for it will be shopping and ordering items.

Every business should take notice. According to Gartner, more than half of enterprises have already invested in virtual assistant technology, and 25% of customer service centers intend to integrate virtual assistants or chatbots across channels by 2020.

IoT enables businesses to place a greater emphasis on conversation to improve customer engagement. Gartner points out that companies already benefit from using virtual assistants across channels – ranging from a 70% reduction in call, chat and/or email inquiries to a 33% savings per voice interaction.

As these AI-driven services evolve, there’s an enormous upside to use them to create a more intimate connection with customers. Some businesses already leverage location and other profile information to make personalized recommendations.

For these applications to work effectively, businesses need to put the right communications technology in place. Unified Communications provides universal access to applications and data, which removes the typical barriers to successful implementation of AI and IoT technologies.

The time is right to start experimenting with these technologies and to start studying use cases with the idea of improving your operations. The Digital Transformation experts at TCI understand how IoT and artificial intelligence enhance customer interactions.

Ready to open more doors to converse with your customers? Contact us today: (703) 321-3030 or info@tcicomm.com.

Mitel Integrates with Google Cloud Contact Center AI to Deliver More Insightful Customer Experiences

Mitel has announced an integration with Google Cloud’s new Contact Center AI that will improve your company’s customer service experience, as well as the productivity of your contact center.

Contact Center AI is a simple, secure, and flexible solution that allows enterprises with limited machine learning expertise to deploy AI in their contact centers.

Key features of Mitel’s integration with Contact Center AI include new capabilities you can use to offer smarter, more personalized agent/customer interactions.

  • AI-Powered Virtual Agent – Enables your customers to self-serve with the help of an intelligent chatbot equipped with product and service information.
  • AI-Powered Agent Assist – Enables a customer inquiry to be easily transferred to a live agent with full context of the virtual agent conversation and continuous AI support to provide the agent with real-time research and coaching.
  • AI-Powered Analytics – Provides another layer of intelligence and insight to enhance your offerings and further elevate your Customer Experience.

Let’s talk about upgrading your Mitel contact center with AI. Contact TCI today: (703) 321-3030 or info@tcicomm.com.

 

Mitel Partners with Google AI to Develop the Intelligent Customer Experience

By 2020 Customer Experience is expected to overtake price and product as the key differentiator used by customers to influence their brand, product and service decisions.

Responding to this reality, Mitel has partnered with Google to deliver new AI-driven customer experience capabilities across all Mitel core contact center solutions, including its cloud-based MiContact Center.

Download: The Impending Contact Center Disruption

Accelerating customization

With a traditional chatbot, a contact center team is responsible for predicting what their customers are going to ask, and painstakingly scripting each interaction. With Mitel/Google’s AI solution, the customer is connected directly to your company’s knowledge base, shifting chatbot implementation time from months to days.

Using NLP – natural language processing – Mitel’s intelligent customer experience solution understands what your customers are saying, chatting or texting – without requiring specific phrasing – and a virtual agent responds in real-time whether a human agent is available or not.

Whenever the virtual agent reaches a question or situation it cannot handle alone, it can involve a human agent in the conversation, feeding its conversation details directly to that agent.

Leveraging machine learning, the AI solution will continue to observe the customer-agent interaction, suggesting relevant options or content to the agent and monitoring which responses come to a successful conclusion. This real-time coaching from AI Agent Assist enables more accurate, more responsive follow ups and an improved customer experience.

The Video Demo: How it Works

This Mitel video explains how the technology…

  • Uses the virtual agent chatbot and AI analytics to respond to common customer needs
  • Stays with each call, SMS or chat to find the best information for each customer
  • Learns what works and what doesn’t to improve future interactions
  • Simplifies agent workflows with smart virtual agent assist

Ready to improve the experience of your customers with AI? Contact TCI today: (703) 321-3030 or info@tcicomm.com.