50% of Companies Are Dissatisfied with Communication Tools
IT leaders are faced with a growing challenge when it comes to providing communications capabilities that deliver what employees need and customers expect. Many companies have already moved some or all of their communication channels to the cloud, only to find they still have many applications to juggle, administer, and maintain. Additionally, relevant data may still remain stuck in each application.
With all this volatility and uncertainty, it's not surprising that half of all businesses feel dissatisfied with their current communication tools and apps. And almost 90% plan to invest in new communications software within three years.
8x8 uncovered these startling stats just last year when we researched the current state of unified communication. We wanted to understand better how people currently use their communication tools, how they hope to use them in the future, and how their employees feel about it all.
While some of the data we gleaned from the research is alarming, it makes sense. Yes, when it comes to communication, we all have more options than ever before. But are options alone enough to create a positive employee and customer experience? Not according to the research.
From implementation fatigue to disparate applications and high effort for both employees and customers, business communication has, in many cases, become a hindrance or hassle more than a source of collaboration.
What can we all do to fix this? If you're looking to calm the communications storm in your organization, keep reading. We'll share key findings from our research, along with practical insight you can use to improve communication and boost both employee and customer satisfaction.
Your Employees Are Suffering from Technology Implementation Fatigue (And Your Customers Are, Too)
When was the last time your business rolled out a new piece of technology? Whether it was a project management tool, content management system, CRM, or unified communication platform, you're in good company if you introduced at least one within the last year.
There's no shortage of tools on the market. And most promise to make your team smarter, better, faster, stronger.
But in a rush to keep up with the latest and greatest trends, employees are left feeling burned out by all the change. They learn how to navigate one tool or process, and just as they're getting used to it, a new tool is introduced. And each time they have to learn to navigate a new piece of technology, it can take months for them to feel confident using it. It all adds up to wasted time, loads of frustration, and lost money when employees resist using new technology or struggle to use it to its full potential.
And if you think customers can't sense the internal chaos that ensues, think again.
According to CIO, 80% of 450 business managers surveyed say they struggled to deliver a superior customer experience, with 29% citing organizational structures that prohibit them from providing the Customer Experience (CX) they intend to.
What are some solutions to this problem?
1. Start with your customers and employees in mind and work backward.
Yes, it's always a good idea to keep an eye on what the competition is doing, but "keeping up with the Joneses" or staying ahead of industry trends should never be your primary source of motivation for investing in new tools. Follow the data, and start having face-to-face conversations with the people who will be using the tools or technology you're planning to implement. Asking them about their challenges, needs, wishes, and fears. If implementing a new tool won't help solve their most significant pain points, carefully consider why you're doing it.
2. When implementing new technology, bring employees along on the journey.
On a related note, once you've gotten customer and employee feedback and determined the need for a new tool, be sure you bring your critical stakeholders along for the ride. No one likes feeling that a significant change is being forced on them. But buy-in is always stronger when you include people in the process, share honest updates along the way, and ask for their help making a change successful. A good best practice is to assign a small group of employees to act as champions for any new tool or process you're rolling out to the broader organization. By bringing together team members from a variety of different business functions, you'll get a valuable perspective on how to ensure the new technology fits everyone's needs. You'll also benefit from having them advocate to their peers and get people excited about the launch of the new technology.
3. Include customers in pilot-testing before you roll out any new customer-facing communication tools.
If your new technology will impact customers, t's also a good idea to help them feel engaged in the process. Pilot-testing is a critical part of any new technology implementation process, and getting super-users involved is a win-win. Not only will your team gain priceless feedback to make the rollout smoother, but you can also ramp up customer loyalty by helping customers feel they're getting "behind the scenes" access. And when they see you're using their feedback to make improvements to the way you serve your customers, you'll build trust. Priceless.
4. Do your homework! Here are some questions to ask as you're evaluating solutions.
Last but not least, before you throw money at a problem, make sure you thoroughly vet your options and do your research. Before you engage with a new vendor, we suggest completing this short exercise to get clarity on your business needs.
Jot down your requirements using the MoSCoW method: Must have, Should have, Could have, Won't have.
Must have features:
Should have features:
Could have features:
Won't have features:
Disparate Applications Are Causing Siloed Communication
Aside from the fatigue involved with rotating through new vendors and applications regularly, employees are also feeling overwhelmed by the sheer number of tools they have to navigate to do their jobs every day. More than two-thirds (70%) of companies use two to five providers for communication services, while almost a quarter (22%) use more than six providers.
Switching between so many different tools creates the perfect storm for miscommunication, employee frustration, and significant confusion for new employees. In fact, disparate systems are one of the number one causes of poor communication. And poor communication creates a breeding ground for silos.
Offering your employees the resources to connect with their colleagues and customers from anywhere, all on one platform can instantly ramp up productivity and morale. And there are plenty of cloud-based solutions on the market now. As you're evaluating the choices, here are some things to consider.
1. Do we stay on-premises, or move to the cloud, and will it be risky? (Spoiler: yes, you should move to the cloud!)
2. What policies, capabilities, and certifications are in place to ensure our data is kept private and secure?
3. With a growing distributed workforce and increasing disruption possibilities, what capabilities are in place to ensure business continuity?
4. What is the cloud deployment model that ensures quick and complete service delivery?
5. How do we reliably measure our performance, and gain insight into the customer experience?
6. With customers driving innovation, how can a partner keep up with that and enable us to deliver?
7. How do I reduce the complexity and cost of our current network infrastructure?
8. How difficult is it to integrate communications into our systems of records?
If you're looking to do a bit more research, download a free copy of this eBook that covers a variety of business communications trends.
The Bottom Line? Employees and Customers Just Want Convenience
If you haven't picked up on a clear theme yet, employees and customers expect their business communication tools to be convenient to use.
They're tired of switching from tool to tool and channel to channel. As our 2019 research uncovered, they're tired of switching between channels and platforms, navigating the learning curve for complicated new tools, and having to work in silos.
They want access to information at their fingertips, no matter where they are.
They want the same flexibility they're used to having in their personal lives.
They just want simplicity.
How can companies get the security, reliability, and quality companies are looking for in their communication solution and the simplicity that employees and customers crave? Our collaboration research suggests they should look for a cloud solution provider that delivers voice, audio, and video conferencing, chat, and contact center on one platform.
One solution? 8x8 X Series--a one platform solution for communications and contact center gives you one system of engagement and one system of intelligence that lets you arm employees with the exact tools they need to communicate, collaborate and access data and experts. Learn more about our mix-and-match plans.