Why cloud is the future of telehealth

The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the adoption of telehealth delivery, proving remote, virtual care to be largely positive for patients and healthcare providers alike. However, to scale services and improve delivery as telehealth evolves, cloud-based communications will play a critical role.

The current state of telehealth

Like many other sectors, the earliest days of COVID-19 forced healthcare organizations to quickly mobilize existing resources as an emergency stopgap to reduce and avoid care disruptions. While they delivered on the immediate imperative, these ad hoc solutions fall short of the integrated requirements that will make telehealth sustainable.

To determine the current state of telehealth among healthcare organizations, we took a live poll in a recent telehealth webinar. According to participants, only 16% of healthcare organizations have mature telehealth programs capable of delivering a robust level of service. 

The greatest proportion of respondents (49%) said that they’re either still defining their telehealth offerings or employing virtual healthcare services prescriptively using ad hoc solutions.

Many solutions that were employed in the short term are falling short. When asked which capabilities their existing telehealth platforms lack, webinar attendees reported the following:

  • 80% have no collaboration tools
  • 45% do not offer multichannel communications, such as voice, video and text-based messaging
  • 35% lack middleware support and/or diverse endpoint support
  • 30% do not offer centralized administration
  • 10% do not meet enterprise-class security standards

Building the telehealth programs of the future

With 76% of consumers expressing interest in using telehealth in the future, and the potential of telehealth to resolve longstanding challenges in healthcare delivery, organizations have a vested interest in finding ways to integrate telehealth into their care models. 

However, developing long-term telehealth strategies will require careful assessment of foundational technologies. For example, organizations are exploring platforms that offer integrated communications, robust security, scalability for surge demand, and remote management capabilities.

Why telehealth belongs in the cloud

During the webinar, Gregg Malkary, Founder and Managing Director of Spyglass Consulting, presented new research from a white paper developed in partnership with RingCentral surveying healthcare providers that successfully deployed telehealth.  – Read more

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Is the office dead? What cloud technology tells us

In normal times, corporate offices are packed with people and buzzing with energy and activity. This year, however, they’ve become veritable ghost towns. 

Take a typical Silicon Valley tech company, for example. Hardware engineers can work from home on coding days. On other days, however, they need the office to access hardware, machinery, and other proprietary tools. 

The million-dollar question: what’s the future of the office? As it turns out, COVID-19 is transforming office spaces, and technology plays a critical role.

The state of offices today

Most large offices remain closed as companies grapple with when to reopen. In New York City, for example, only 8% of office workers have returned to their offices, and it’s unclear when others will be back. 

At the same time, only 26% of major employers expect to reopen their offices by the end of 2020. According to the New York Times, the majority of New York employers – 54% — believe they will return to the office by July 2021.

The same goes for major companies in the San Francisco Bay Area. Google, Facebook, and Uber have unofficially targeted July 2021 as their reopening date, with many in the process of implementing permanent remote work.

Staggered return

Many companies are still fully remote and in no rush to fully reopen because their office employees—from software development to marketing and finance teams—can do their jobs at home full-time.  

A smaller percentage that has recently reopened or plans to reopen is doing so because some of their employees need or prefer the office.

These companies are deploying different strategies, but many of them are staggering schedules so workers are coming into the office on separate days to ensure safe social distancing. These flexible work arrangements allow employees to split their time working remotely and in the office.

Business leaders and employees support permanent flexible work schedules and the ability for employees to continue to work remotely at least part-time when the pandemic threat is over. In fact, 55% of executives plan to allow employees to work from home at least one day a week. Most employees – 83% — want to telecommute at least one day a week, according to a PwC June survey.

Future offices

With flexible work arrangements and the pandemic in mind, companies are now reassessing their office strategies, from where they’re located to how they are designed and used. The upshot: traditional offices aren’t dead, but they’re evolving. – Read More

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SaaS customer support: 6 essential elements & best practices

When it comes to customer service, SaaS products are in a league of their own. Because customers pay on a recurring basis, often use your product daily, and have to learn new features as the product evolves, having good customer support is cash-burn-rate-friendly—and integral to the success of any SaaS product. 

Of course, some of the challenges that come with SaaS customer support represent an opportunity as well—especially with a small team. 

After all, in a business where customers use your product regularly over time or are just getting to know your product, customer support offers a chance to build a relationship and even glean insights that help the entire company. Not to mention they’re literally the life-blood of startups—as a rule, the goal should be to retain as many customers as possible. (And yes, often that means real-time 24/7 support.)

And that relationship building? That’s also the thing that will get you great reviews and referrals, and keep customers subscribed and make you more money month after month.

So, how can you be sure you’re getting customer support right for your SaaS product? It’s not as hard as it seems—with the right strategy and some simple best practices, your customer support can be the kind that turns customers into raving fans.

As a company that helps customer service teams communicate and collaborate every day, we know how important support is to small SaaS businesses like yours. That’s why today we’re sharing the best insights that will help you help your customers. 

🤝 Is your tech startup’s team collaborating as effectively as it can to provide good customer service?🌟 Download the checklist to find out

3 essential components of a SaaS customer support strategy

When it comes to creating a SaaS support model that works for your company, you need to start with a few foundational components. 

Having a good team, the right tools, and solid customer resources will make sure that your support team is set up from the beginning to provide the best possible customer service.

In the next section, we’ll talk more specifically about best practices for your support agents, but first, it’s all about getting the right framework to build your support strategy on. 

Ready? Let’s start with how to hire the right agents.

Great agents

Many larger companies work on a tiered system, with levels of agents handling progressively more complex questions that come in. But for a smaller business, you may have a team as small as one person handling customer support. 

That’s why hiring the right people is the most important investment you can make in your SaaS support model.

A great SaaS support agent should be, above all else, curious and ready to learn. 

Ultimately, the best agents will know your product inside and out—but usually, nobody will know your product that well yet off the bat. 

That’s why investigative skills and an ability to learn and solve problems are absolutely crucial in a SaaS support hire—because those skills will ensure that they learn quickly.

Depending on your product’s complexity, technical skills are important too so that they can handle more in-depth tech questions that may come in. 

And, of course, they should also be personable and professional, so you know you can trust them with customer-facing communications.💡 Pro-tip: 

After you’ve found and trained the best agent possible, trust them! Give them freedom to do well and they’ll deliver exceptional customer service.

If it sounds like this person is a unicorn, you aren’t wrong. In fact, good support agents are so crucial to a customer support model that you may consider opening your search to remote agents to find the best talent. 

That’s not the only benefit, though—a remote support team will set your digital product up with a competitive advantage over time. As you hire agents in different places, you can offer support around the clock. 

Hiring remote support agents might sound intimidating or complicated, but it doesn’t need to be. The right communication tools will allow your team to stay connected to each other and to communicate with customers from anywhere around the world. Which brings us to our next point.

The right tools

As a SaaS company, you probably already know the importance of having the right technology at your disposal, and when it comes to customer support, it’s no different. The right support software empowers your agents to do their best work in real time. 

The most important resource for your agents will be the one they use to actually speak to customers—your support software.

Because of the technical nature of a SaaS product, it’s important to be sure that video conferencing and screen sharing are available options on your customer support platform. For example, RingCentral‘s desktop and mobile app both have screen sharing and video calling options—along with team messaging and phone call functionality too:

But as you’re shopping for tools, don’t lose sight of the fact that your goal should be to help customers solve their problems on the first call or contact.

Screen sharing empowers your team to walk advanced (or just hopelessly lost) customers through even the most technical questions easily. Just imagine a highly technical back-and-forth chat session on a phone call and how much time you could save by being able to see someone’s screen: – Read more

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