Covid-19 has created seismic change in how we work. While the shift to remote working was first seen as a temporary fix to stay-at-home orders, the conversation is becoming a long-term one. Companies such as Twitter, Shopify and Square have opted to move to remote work indefinitely and there’s a growing desire from office workers to permanently incorporate flexible remote working. According to Kate Lister, president of Global Workplace Analytics, “Seventy-seven percent of the [global] workforce say they want to continue to work from home, at least once a week, when the pandemic is over.” Compounded by the growing trend of delivering remote services such as ecommerce and telehealth, building for a more remote world seems inevitable. This is an opportunity for businesses and organizations to re-envision the future of work and begin to build the infrastructure for the remote world.
But how does a business make that transition? Instead of thinking about it as simply “remote work,” companies should instead consider how they can replicate, and improve on, the in-person experience. In this new model, critical business operations must be replicated online, re-envisioned and transformed. This includes how your team communicates, the products and services you offer, and how you interact with customers.
Empowering employee communications
The advantages of being in-person are the connections that you make. Accidental meetings and passing conversations are where relationships are built and new understandings and ideas are created. It’s difficult to replicate physical presence, and many companies don’t fully understand how distributed workforces impact how deeply employees communicate and understand the business.
Most organizations have turned to video conferencing tools to help bridge the in-person gap. Research by UCLA shows that video gives people the greatest sense of emotional connection, second only to in-person conversations. Moreover, research from Buffer illustrates that 19% of remote workers consider loneliness to be their biggest struggle. Video technology can offer a connection between people and overcome some of the communications challenges of distributed working.
But video calling is only one small portion of a holistic work ecosystem. A remote work set-up is only successful when an organization has created systems of communication, collaboration and support that allows employees to connect with each other from anywhere. As a result, more and more companies are turning to omni-channel business communication platforms — those that include app integration, team messaging and video calling. Each employee has a communications preference but juggling multiple platforms can decrease productivity and increase information loss. Unifying communications makes the experience seamless.
Delivering services virtually
Incorporating Communications APIs into apps and websites has made it easier for businesses to diversify how they connect with their customers. Whether that’s embedding in-app texting capabilities to meet with your clients, video capabilities into your website to provide virtual fitness classes, or automating FAQs through a chatbot.
In healthcare specifically, Communications APIs are helping general practitioners provide care to patients remotely and in real time. According to the CDC, telehealth technology was not widely adopted in America beyond simple telephone correspondences until Covid-19 accelerated its reach into almost every healthcare need. Doxy.me, using Vonage’s Video API, has built its entire business around connecting remote patients with remote doctors to the tune of 20.9 million video minutes and an average of 168,999 calls a day in 2020. In just one week, the company added 139,000 new providers who consulted with 1.35 million patients. With the Vonage Video API, Doxy.me is able to provide its customers with a seamless video experience.
Delivering customer service beyond expectation
With less in-person touchpoints, organizations will need to ensure that they’re over-delivering with their remote customer service. When interacting with contact centers, consumers don’t have the patience to be asked the same questions over and over, or be rerouted to four departments. Integrating the right contact center platform allows organizations to manage customer interactions — whether that’s call, text or tweet — on one platform. It also means that customer information is consolidated in a centralized system, allowing employees to understand the context to every inquiry.
AI and automation can also help level-up the customer experience, going beyond an in-person experience. Recording and logging calls automatically means that employees can focus on taking more calls rather than manually logging their data. Programmatic numbers lead customers to the exact department they’re hoping to speak to. Meanwhile, analytics can identify trends and compliance issues to help you optimize your team’s strategy. When equipped with the right tools, data and AI can help every conversation feel more personal and productive in a way that is hard to replicate in-person.
Vonage is your partner
As employees and customers are looking to connect in more ways than ever, there is a pressure to rapidly adapt to the remote world. But building the infrastructure for a remote world is more complex and may appear daunting for a lot of leaders. There is pressure to make decisions quickly so that their businesses can get up and running, but they don’t want to rush into a solution that might not work for them in the long term.
That’s where Vonage comes in. Vonage aims to make communications how they should be — straightforward. Talk with our team of remote experts who can help businesses adapt to the remote world while stripping back all the complexity and jargon of the tech world. Whether you need Unified Communications, Contact Centers or Communication APIs, our team can personalize a solution to get your business running virtually as swiftly as possible.