The real business value of cloud communications platforms

Stand-alone communication tools help to connect your employees, partners, and customers. But deploying a cloud communications platform will unleash operational and productivity improvements that go far beyond the platform’s primary purpose, a recent survey of RingCentral customers found.

Benefits compounded by open API and ready integrations

Among the benefits measured in the recent RingCentral Customer Success Metrics Survey, users reported that an open API and ready integrations compounded the anticipated gains of deploying an all-in-one communications platform in some meaningful—and surprising—ways:

+47% increase in customer satisfaction

Whether it’s an out-of-the-box integration with your CRM or customer service software or a customized application, using RingCentral to streamline workflows can decrease informational silos and makes it easier for employees to meet customer needs faster and more effectively. The payoff? RingCentral users report an average 47% increase in customer satisfaction, an important driver of loyalty and retention (and new word-of-mouth referrals!).

+32% increase in employee productivity

The countless business apps workers have to use these days may make it easier to get specific tasks done, but they can also be a major time drain (earlier research shows app toggling can eat up the equivalent of 32 workdays a year for some employees, causing up to $500,000 in lost revenue). But even simple integrations can add up to big time savings and process improvements.

RingCentral customers report an average +32% increase in employee productivity (65% in the uppermost percentile), due to a reduction in app toggling (-31%), and increases in resource access (+27%) and information access (+23%). Not only can these improvements better enable employees to meet customer needs, but they also free up more of their time and energy to focus on delivering value and innovation.

+27% faster workflow deployment, +25% faster integrations

Although some other Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) platforms support integrations, the ease and speed of deployment is often a point of differentiation. RingCentral customers report 27% faster workflow deployment and 25% faster integrations thanks to our extensive gallery of easy-to-install integrations as well as the ease of building custom integrations with our APIs and developer tools. – Read more

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Hybrid remote work: 6 strategies to make it successful

Around 40% of managers surveyed by the Harvard Business Review said they don’t have the skills they need to manage a remote team.

Still, remote work is now common and popular because of the pandemic and because new technologies have made it easier to work from anywhere in the world. Many companies now let their employees work a few days remotely or let some teammates work remotely full-time while others work on-site.

Now that more companies are using this hybrid remote work model—sometimes called WFH 2.0 because it’s the model many companies are adopting after an entire year of remote work—team leaders need to tailor their management techniques for these teams’ unique characteristics to ensure their companies continue to thrive and grow.

1. Normalize a hybrid remote work model

Managing a hybrid remote team effectively requires setting clear expectations to avoid misunderstanding and built-up resentment. Some colleagues might feel uncomfortable continuing to work remotely while others are returning to the office. Others might struggle to include their remote colleagues once they’ve returned to office work.

To make the transition as seamless as possible, brush up on communication techniques to keep things as transparent as possible. For example, consider establishing company policies that allow people to work remotely two days a week, or require that people who work remotely full-time obtain special permission from their managers.

Here are a few other ways to build a healthy hybrid remote work model:

  1. Set out transparent and equitable rules for who can work remotely and when, then make sure that everyone on your team knows the company policy. You can do that by emailing everyone a memo or posting the rules in an online channel that everyone uses to communicate.
  2. Don’t make remote work a privilege enjoyed only by your most senior teammates. That could cause some teammates to feel like you don’t trust them enough to allow them to work remotely. Remote work shouldn’t be a privilege, but rather an integral part of your company’s hybrid remote work culture.
  3. Normalize remote work by encouraging team leaders and managers to work off-site at least some of the time.
  4. Recruit and onboard employees remotely. Ensure that the process is the same for everyone, so you don’t accidentally create discrepancies between the way people are hired or shown the ropes. The goal is to standardize the process for everyone and avoid creating inequality.

Darcy Boles, an expert in remote company culture and the Director of Culture and Innovation at TaxJar, argues that companies should be “going hybrid with a remote-first mindset.” That means operating like a remote team even when many of your employees are working in the office.

“Spend at least a few days working outside of the office,” Boles suggests to managers. “Put yourself in the position of the people you’re managing.”

2. Create a cohesive work culture for your hybrid remote team

To create a healthy hybrid remote work culture, you must put extra effort into creating a connected culture between remote and office workers and strengthening the bonds between everyone, no matter where they are located.

Your company’s work culture can make or break your business. Nearly half of all job seekers surveyed said a good work culture is the number one thing they’re looking for in a prospective employer, according to a survey by Jobvite. And 88% of people surveyed said it’s a significant factor when deciding where to work.

One key way to create a connected hybrid remote work culture is to make sure that no one feels left out from the decision-making or creative process. That means ensuring everyone—remote or not—has an equal opportunity to participate in meetings, make decisions, and feel heard. Read more

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A better caller experience: How to talk to your customers in the cloud

Doing business in today’s climate of hybrid work environments, caller expectations for instant gratification, and the need for businesses to scale or pivot quickly reinforces just how valuable a cloud-based phone system can be for business continuity and to your caller experience.

Take COVID, for example. In the early days of the pandemic, without warning things like business hours, physical operations, and the ability to serve customers rapidly changed. Businesses that had previously adopted a cloud-first approach to communications were able to adapt quickly and use their phone system to communicate fluid changes with their callers. Those who hadn’t found that they lacked a critical piece of their business continuity strategy—a reality for an estimated 51% of businesses around the world.

When you need to communicate high-priority information to your callers, today’s cloud phone systems’ flexibility and power lie in its integrated message capabilities—greetings, announcements, prompts, and messages on hold. Here’s how you can leverage these capabilities to share critical information at scale and integrate them into your business communication strategy.

Greetings and announcements: provide a consistent caller experience
Your phone system greeting is the first thing callers hear. It allows businesses to provide a consistent caller experience and set the tone for the rest of the call. Professionally recorded greetings also provide clarity and consistency throughout every call.

Use greetings and announcements to communicate important information up front. For example, during the Coronavirus pandemic, a restaurant that closed their dining room but is still offering to-go orders through curbside pick-up could share this helpful information in their greeting. A doctor’s office or pharmacy that breaks for lunch can let callers know when they’re unavailable and when they will return. Banks offering PPE loans or pharmacies offering COVID testing may have experienced higher call volumes for these services. Instead of answering every call and repeating information, they can use greetings to direct callers to other sources of information, such as an automated announcement or a web page.

Any information that you repeat over and over with multiple callers is a good candidate for greetings and announcements. Sharing essential details early can help to reduce wait times, provide information around the clock, and reduce the load on your staff. – Read more

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