Toolbox: How to Leverage Communication for Business Continuity in a Crisis

Having a crisis communication plan is essential for business continuity when the unexpected happens. The COVID-19 pandemic exposed the gaps in communication plans or a lack thereof. There are a few key considerations that are the foundation of any communication plan. Here, David Liu, founder, and CEO of Deltapath advises how to reduce uncertainty with proactive communication strategies to effectively respond to a crisis. 

It’s difficult to predict what the future has in store. Most business owners have a plan in place to help them stay on track when disaster strikes. Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic that began in 2020 showed many companies that they weren’t nearly as well-prepared as they had thought. 

Making sure that your company can withstand any crisis isn’t just about having backups of your files on the cloud or making sure you’re ready for a data breach. As most organizations discovered during 2020, it’s communication that dictates whether a company will survive a sudden change. 

Communication Keeps The World Turning

When the COVID-19 pandemic stuck, companies everywhere were suddenly facing a series of communication issues. First, they needed to connect with employees that were no longer able to gather in office environments. 

Though 50% of the workforce was already expected to begin remote work in 2020, most organizations hadn’t put the right strategies in place before the crisis hit. That left most business leaders scrambling to create a secure and flexible cloud environment for their team. 

All the while, consumers were demanding more communication, too, while contact centers and customer service teams were shutting down. 

The overall email open rate in March 2020 was extraordinarily high (around 55.3 million unique opens). At the same time, customers were making more phone calls to find out as much as they could about postponed appointments, deliveries, and refunds. 

Real-time, relevant, and convenient communication became the only way to survive during the pandemic. Yet, even as the dust settles and companies find their way back into the workplace, many don’t have the right strategies in place to protect them if a similar crisis should ever happen again. 

How to Prepare Your Communications Strategy for a Crisis

Having the right business communications strategy in place ensures that you can give customers peace of mind while helping employees to collaborate. 

As many organizations discovered this year, it’s not enough to simply switch over to the first cloud-based business communication tool you find online. You need to ensure that your communication continuity plan matches your precise needs for security, functionality, and performance. 

1. Start with the Contact Center 

Any consumer expert will tell you that customer experience is the driving differentiator for brands today. Although clients in the COVID-19 crisis did show some patience for their favorite brands as they switched to new communication styles, that patience doesn’t last forever. 

Maximizing your resources and making sure that you have the right tools available is crucial for business continuity. Start by thinking about the kind of contact center tools you have in place. Would a cloud-based mobile contact center allow your employees to offer the same customer service to clients when working from home?

Does your contact center come with back-end tools to help the virtual workforce? For instance, real-time interactions between agents and supervisors can help to make challenging calls easier when team members aren’t in the same environment. 

The right contact center solutions can even make it easier to organize your workforce. Routing software can intelligently send calls to the agents with the right skills to solve problems so that you can get through conversations faster. 

2. Bring UC into the Cloud

Most organizations were already embarking on a journey of digital transformation before COVID-19 began. The pandemic’s rise accelerated this process, forcing companies to think more carefully about how they can take advantage of flexible all-in-one tools, like the cloud. 

Finding a communications provider that can give your UC technology in the environment that suits you is crucial to being prepared for the future. Choose a provider who can build proprietary communication technology from the ground up and offer you innovation and flexibility where you need it. 

As many companies also discovered during the Covid-19 crisis, it’s often helpful to have all of your tools in the same environment. This gives you a single point of truth when you’re trying to gather data about which communication strategies are working best for your team. 

Finding the right cloud fit can be complicated at first. However, the right provider should help you to find a strategy that suits your security and compliance needs while ensuring that you have the flexibility required to evolve. 

3. Learn and Grow Whenever Possible

Crisis situations like the COVID-19 pandemic push companies to adapt and transform their strategies at an incredible pace. Analyzing the trends and statistics on your contact center or UC cloud technology will give you an insight into how you might be able to progress going forward. 

For instance, you might notice that you get a higher volume of calls at certain times or during specific days of the week. This will allow you to add extra people to your call center during peak times with mobile workers and remote employees. Real-time analytics can even show you which agents need the most support during difficult calls. 

Analytics and insights will help you to develop new FAQs and support systems so that customers can serve themselves when possible too. At the same time, when you know which issues your customers are the most concerned about, it’s possible to upgrade your IVR systems, create new flows, and make sure that the right customers get in touch with the correct agents. 

Monitoring and analyzing every interaction in the contact center is the perfect way to not only adapt during times of crisis but prepare for any future eventualities too. 

Communication is Crucial in a Crisis

Communication will always be at the heart of any successful company. However, when the world is moving through a period of uncertainty, ensuring you have the right communications strategy in place is even more essential. 

Finding a flexible, scalable, and customizable way to ensure business continuity in the cloud is crucial for today’s companies. Even as we return back to the office after lockdown restrictions begin to soften, it’s crucial to understand the continued importance of having the right business communications system in place. If you haven’t taken the right transformation steps to prepare your communication stack for anything, now is the time to get started. 

Toolbox: Want to Elevate CX? Eliminate Background Noise in Contact Centers

Noise is one of the most common problems businesses face when it comes to customer service. David Liu, founder-CEO of Deltapath says noise, often an overlooked piece in the customer experience strategy is crucial for meeting CX goals and improving call center agent performance.

Noise is one of the most common problems faced by today’s businesses when it comes to communication, collaboration, and customer service.

Whether you’re working in a high-tech call center, interacting in an open-office environment, or even working remotely from a local coffee shop, noise is everywhere. In fact, according to the American Society of Interior Designers, 70% of office workers believe that their productivity levels are diminished because of excess noise.

Many of us have gotten used to having at least some noise in our surroundings, from the sounds of printers shooting out paper to telephones ringing on someone else’s desk. However, the truth is that every extra decibel we’re exposed to has an impact on our performance. Not only is the problem of noise detrimental to day’s employees, but it can also be a severe problem for businesses that want to deliver the best customer experiences too.

Customer Experience and the Noise Issue

When most people consider the issues caused by background noise, they think about office workers and the distractions that sound can cause. However, background noise in a call center or any discussion between an agent and customer can also disrupt CX too.

Customer experience or CX is now the most important consideration for any business. More than price or product features, it’s the experience that determines whether a business will succeed ahead of its competitors or not. Customers are on the hunt for brands that can offer them convenient, efficient, and professional interactions. If they don’t get those meaningful moments from you, then they’ll be more likely to take their revenue elsewhere.

Background noise in a business environment can easily be transmitted into a phone or through a microphone headset, making it difficult for customers to understand what agents are saying. This lack of clear communication leads to frustration in both clients and agents, who often need to spend more time confirming what’s said in a conversation.

Today’s customers are living in a world of instant gratification. Studies show that almost 60% of customers will hang up after being left on hold for just one minute. Limited clarity in a conversation means that finding the solution to a problem will often take longer, leading to greater frustration from a customer, and an increased chance that they’ll abandon the call before getting the answers that they need.

Since background noise is distracting, often drowning out what customers say, there’s a chance that your agent may need to ask clients to repeat themselves too. However, research shows that 3 quarters of customers hate repeating themselves whenever they have an issue with a brand.

Noise Harms Agent Performance

Another way that noise in a conversation can reduce customer experience, is by making it more difficult for agents to deliver the kind of experience that your clients expect. Distracting noises mean that agents might not give customers the degree of attention required during conversations, which leads to misunderstandings.

There’s also the issue that agents will need to speak louder to make sure that their voices are heard above the din of background noise in an office or external environment. These raised voices can lead some customers to feel attacked, harming the emotional connection between brands and their clients. Additionally, when voices need to be raised during conversations, customer privacy diminishes, as it’s more likely that other people will be able to overhear private information.

In a world where voice continues to be our primary mode of communication, the noise cancellation gateway eliminates the age-old problem of noise pollution in everyday conversations. Ensuring your business uses a noise cancellation gateway can filter out all non-human voices and provide crystal clear sound quality.

Improving Customer Experience One Step at a Time

Better clarity in communications has a range of benefits to offer the modern workplace. Not only does noise cancellation create more productive employees, allowing them to focus on the issue at hand without distraction, but it improves brand image and reputation too. When customers receive clear, noise-free conversations from the businesses that they interact with, this creates a more professional and reliable image for the company.

Customers come to believe that they can trust certain companies to deliver a specific level of quality in every interaction. That means that these clients are more likely to become repeat customers with certain brands because they know they can get the experiences that they need.

Noise reduction can also help businesses to improve the customer experience on a deeper level, assisting with artificial intelligence strategies that improve business outcomes. For instance, many organizations are now turning to speech recognition and voice assistants within their IVR systems. When those artificial intelligence solutions can collect clear data with less noise, it’s much easier for them to provide actionable insights through accurate analysis.

AI Powers Noise Cancellation

Whether AI engines are analyzing voice input, interpreting commands in an IVR scenario, or transcribing audio into important text, clarity is the key to success. With noise cancellation, businesses can ensure that artificial intelligence engines can interpret information more accurately than ever. It may even be possible to collect more accurate information about customer sentiment during various conversations, improving the ability of agents and supervisors to react instantly to changes in customer emotion.

The customer experience landscape grows more complex by the day, with new opportunities and technology to explore. However, the foundation of any good CX initiative starts with voice. If businesses can get the noise cancellation strategy in their voice interactions right, then they’ll have the right foundation in place for happier customers, more productive agents, and enhanced opportunities.