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BLOG: Staying ahead of the business curve

Ray Teske | Aug. 8, 2011
The essentials of helping your busines remain competitive.

Forty-six years coming, and Singapore remains a key pillar in the heart of this vibrant region known to the world as Asia Pacific. Even in the face of uncertainty, the country has displayed strength and resilience to emerge as what people call the epicenter for growth in Asia.

Companies from all over the world continue to invest in Singapore, making the country more competitive in the global business arena. With competition increasing, it becomes imperative for businesses in Singapore to be more resilient, connected and efficient. The Singapore government has time and again introduced policies that have helped boost the overall business landscape both for home grown businesses and multinational set-ups. However the challenges that come with a progressive economy cannot be dismissed.

With the recent explosion in the number of communication devices and platforms, people today are more informed, connected and less patient. Research shows that 36 percent of Singaporeans have said that they will move to another vendor if they are dissatisfied with their customer service interactions when dealing with a company’s contact center (Ref: Avaya 2011 Contact Center Consumer Index), which makes it essential for businesses to adapt and keep up with changing consumer demands.

Real time communication and collaborative information sharing have also become the new way to do business. Immediate forms of contact such as instant chat messaging systems and mobile phones or text messaging are replacing landlines and traditional voice mail messaging systems. Voice over IP solutions have had a dramatic impact on the cost of communication. But Unified Communications (UC) – combining voice, video and text based communications in a common platform - really takes the way businesses can collaborate one step further. The decentralization and extended nature of businesses have pushed the need for improved and converged communications, which is why solutions such as UC are quickly gaining popularity among CIOs in Singapore.

Businesses need to offer a multimedia experience for their customers and their employees that will drive improvements in customer satisfaction, productivity and reduce costs in order to retain and grow their customer base, energize and retain a vibrant workforce and remain profitable and successful in a world without barriers.

As a global provider of business collaboration and communications solutions, Avaya outlines 5 key essentials that can help businesses stay ahead of the curve:

Listen to Your Consumers, Understand their Needs
With the explosion in communications tools available and the many channels of feedback that have sprung up over the last few years, a company must be connected with the pulse of consumers to understand them and know what they really want. Whereas communication was traditionally one-way, companies today need to understand the platform of social media as a key tool for feedback, and use solutions available to help them more effectively understand and digest the large amounts of content found in social media forums. Capabilities to include automatic monitoring of consumer feedback, sentiment tracking as well as suggested response managing to make solutions more progressive and efficient are all available today and are already deployed by many of our more forward-thinking companies. Is yours one of them?

Stay Connected to Stay Ahead: Users Want Choice
 As with consumers and the consumerization of end-devices (read: iPad, blackberry, androids, iPhone , tablets etc), the traditional ways to provide applications or solutions, be it voice, video or text, are dramatically changing. Users today want a choice of how they communicate and how they want companies to communicate with them — be it via Skype, Facebook, video, text, instant messaging or Twitter. The reality is no one can predict the next end-user device of the future 24 months from now. However, businesses can equip themselves with a strong unified communications (UC) platform solution to accommodate and seamlessly incorporate the myriad of end-user technologies on a common platform, with cost and energy efficiency in mind. Ultimately, a good UC platform will help in the centralization of all the communication vehicles, ensuring that companies stay connected with their end-users across all different environments, social media or devices effortlessly.

Equip your Employees with the right tools
As consumers move ahead in the technology game, your employees also need to be in the know so they can communicate with consumers on their desired platform. Give your employees options for communication and collaboration so they can be productive wherever they are located and on whatever device is available to them by choosing an open platform that can support these systems. Adoption of a standardized device that is suitable for multi-modal communication will contribute to a collaborative environment, which will in turn increase your employees’ job satisfaction and productivity.

Deliver a consistent end-user experience
Avaya’s case studies have shown that most business processes suffer inefficiencies due to slow, non-real-time collaboration. Closing the gap between notification and response time will be especially crucial in the healthcare and services industry to deliver a consistent end-user experience. On top of that, companies should also strive to increase first-call resolution using workforce optimization solutions. For returning customers, make the most of your UC platform features such as consolidated call logs and unified contact lists, so that your customers will not need to repeat their problems to another contact center agent. A consistent user experience ultimately helps to further simplify and streamline mobility.

Invest in infrastructure wisely!
Before you decide on your solutions and tools, define which communication tools would best suit your business and its needs first. Most businesses tend to deploy the latest technologies simply because, well, they’re new. However, they often forget to ensure their technologies and applications are suitable and useful for them to deliver ROI. Seek cost-effective measures and leverage network virtualization which will allow enterprises to customize solutions according to demands, react to end-users, as well as control and manage all communication types across the network. This way, with a whole package of solutions available – from Ethernet switches to wireless networks to branch routers –your company can efficiently deal with the fast pace of mobility and consumers’ ever changing modes of preferred communications. Remember that at the end of the day, users and enterprises should not be enslaved by technology; instead, it should provide ease of management, flexibility, and scalability.
Ray Teske is the Regional Director for Avaya ASEAN.


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