“The way life was like before this pandemic is not the way life is going to be. When we talk about going back to normal … there is no going back to normal. But this is not without precedence.” - Simon Sinek

The New Normal

Welcome to the new normal. While many thought the sudden changes in how we do work and how we connect with customers might not last, they are here to stay and have created two distinct challenges for businesses across the globe: how do I stay open for business and how do I continue to support my existing customers while recruiting new ones?

Communications and real-time collaboration with your customers, colleagues, and other contacts is essential to the lifeblood of any business. And having the right technology to provide continuity for communications and collaboration is key to ensuring not only that your business remains open, but that it can thrive and grow in this new paradigm.

And in fact, while there has certainly been a lot of bad news all around with this pandemic, including its impact on businesses, there is also a lot of opportunity for positive change.

Customers are embracing remote engagement, so should your business

While your business is transitioning to a work from anywhere model, it turns out your customers are also expecting the same. This is good news not only for businesses that hope to continue serving your existing customers, it poses an opportunity to recruit new customers remotely. In doing so, you can expand the traditional boundaries your business is accustomed to.

But for this to be successful, your communications and collaboration solution needs to:

  • Be available whenever you and your customers need it to be (that’s always)
  • Scale-up and down with your business
  • Update regularly with new features and capabilities relevant to helping you get your work done
  • Enable internal communications amongst employees as well as external communications with your customers
  • Operate from one application that can run on any device (desktop or mobile)
  • Come from one vendor with one simplified cost structure, a single service level agreement, and a single hand to shake when you need something

Your employees can be anywhere

Another key benefit of a shift to remote working is providing more flexibility to your existing employees on how and where they work. We all were forced into a great experiment when businesses had to enable their employees to work remotely, although the trend towards remote working was already underway. The results have been nothing short of amazing. Employees have overwhelmingly stated they prefer working from home and most companies have reported a noticeable improvement in productivity and overall employee satisfaction.

Less time commuting, fewer distractions, more time focused on getting work done and more flexibility on when and how work gets done allows employees to create a work/life balance which has a positive effect on how they work and the quality of their work. Happy and productive employees ensure happy customers.

Working from anywhere also provides your business with an opportunity to broaden your talent pool and hire talent from anywhere. As is the case with recruiting new customers, hiring new employees can transcend the traditional physical boundaries associated with acquiring and keeping talent. Because they work from anywhere.

Getting the right communications solution for your business

In the rush to adapt to the rapidly changing business environment, you may have been forced to hastily consider and adopt technologies to address your communications and collaboration needs. Those decisions may have sufficed to help your business to transition to remote working and customer engagement quickly. But, as we settle into the new way of working, is it time to reconsider your choices?

Cheap does not equal low cost

While the upfront cost to acquire and use separate calling, messaging and video conferencing applications may seem appealing to the bottom line, many hidden costs associated with maintaining and operating separate applications will have an overall negative effect on that same bottom line:

  • Employees need to be trained and supported to use separate applications for messaging, calling, video meetings and sharing content
  • This can be exacerbated by having to use multiple applications for internal communications as well as externally communicating with customers (a good example is messaging, where businesses may need to use an external messaging service to communicate with customers different from the messaging platform used internally)
  • The cost to support multiple applications can be excessive if you consider that your business will need to maintain separate vendor contracts, support arrangements, and service level agreements
  • The inability to switch amongst different channels of communication while maintaining context and history creates inefficiencies in both how employees collaborate together and how they collaborate with your customers, leading to lower productivity and lower overall employees and customer satisfaction
  • A recent survey revealed that 94% of users indicated they had “more freedom” when using an integrated solution that allows them to communicate across channel

The next eight weeks

Over the next eight weeks, 8x8 will be publishing individual chapters of an eBook on how to Enable True Collaboration without Compromise. Each chapter will be supported by blogs, social posts, and surveys designed to gather real-time feedback and insights that we intend to incorporate into the narrative of the book.