By connecting workers in efficient and intuitive ways, Unified Communications (UC) addresses many business challenges. Whereas UC was originally implemented simply to cut costs and ease IT administration by converging data and voice networks, it has evolved into a mission-critical resource for businesses across all industries as they struggle to enable comprehensive and seamless collaboration across platforms, systems, and devices.
E-commerce is one of the markets reaping the benefits of UC as online retailers can employ its capabilities to match the needs of today’s digital shoppers. With user experience and customer satisfaction as key drivers in the space, UC technology can help online stores address most buyers’ needs expediently. This article offers insights on how service providers should approach online retailers with UC services.
Help retailers achieve differentiation
Achieving differentiation in the e-commerce sector is perhaps more challenging than in any other industry. The sky-high number of online retailers has created an extremely large variety of choice for the customer and online shoppers are finding it more and more difficult to stand out. Offering a better pricing may have been a valid solution for quite some time, but for King Customer it’s just not enough anymore.
The purchase experience needs to be transparent and effortless, from the very first visit on the website all the way to the purchase moment. And here is when service providers can come in offering retailers a UC solution to support their differentiation strategy.
Fill in the gaps of legacy telephony
The best way for service providers to make retailers see what they’re missing out by delaying or excluding the adoption of a UC platform such as VoipNow is to present them with a short comparison to a traditional PBX. To be able to review how legacy telephony currently helps online shoppers deliver a great customer experience, we’ll simply take a quick look at what online retailers need in the first place.
When a customer calls, retailers have to:
- respond fast while still being able to take other incoming calls
- be easily reached, regardless of their location or device
- have instant access to the customer’s call history
- be able to transfer calls or queue them
- be able to anticipate a customer’s request or reaction
- reduce, if not eliminate waiting and resolution time for the customer
- be able to place affordable calls, regardless of their destination or time interval.
Even from a distance, it’s more than obvious that traditional telecoms cannot fulfill these needs. What if the retailer already has a UC platform in place, you might ask. Either way, you can recommend VoipNow’s capabilities as solutions for each and every need mentioned earlier.
Outline VoipNow’s advanced capabilities
Online retailers are not software engineers, so there’s no need to go into a whirlwind of technical details. Briefly present how your UC offering meets their needs:
- The Smart Queue feature provides multiple options for call distribution: when a customer calls, it can ring all agents, the least recently called agent, the one with fewest calls etc. This feature provides info on the customer’s waiting time and can transfer the call to a manager, if the customer has been in the queue for too long. Also, the history-based routing engine will connect the customer to the agent he last talked to.
- VoipNow Mobile is the app that enables agents to take incoming calls on their iOS device.
- Call Control features such as call parking, call transfer or call forwarding ensure that agents effectively manage all incoming calls. Call parking allows them to put multiple callers on hold and other agents will pick them up. With call pickup, agents can pick up calls ringing their colleagues’ extensions. Call forwarding ensures that when the agent is not at his desk, the call is forwarded to another agent’s extension, landline, or mobile phone.
- An IVR system helps direct incoming calls to the right department. On the one hand, it reduces the customer’s waiting time and eliminates frustration; on the other hand, it simplifies call management saving the retailer’s time and money. What’s more, an IVR helps agents anticipate the customer’s needs or requests, hence provide them with a better service.
- The Local Agent feature allows employees to easily handle the calls in the queue. Agents log in to one or several queues at the same time, they can act as supervisors and thus listen to the ongoing conversations of other agents, being able to whisper solutions whenever needed. With the Remote Agent feature, employees can handle call queues without being in the office. They only need access to a desk phone, softphone or mobile client such as VoipNow Mobile.
Since an online retailer’s business processes pretty much resemble a call center’s activities, it’s very important to provide them with full control over business flows. VoipNow comes with advanced reports and statistics on call distribution, number of calls, answer rate, call duration. Having straightforward access to such data will help the retailer improve the staff’s performance and build an accurate plan on how his business should scale. You can find VoipNow’s full set of features for contact centers here.
Focus on cost-effectiveness
Last but not least, the money. For the retailer, handling the implementation and maintenance of a UC platform is most likely a big turnoff in terms of resources, time, and money. Therefore, make sure you point out the advantage of having the platform hosted on your servers – if possible, use numbers to emphasize how cost-effective your solution is.
Also, bring the APIs in the conversation. If the retailer’s businesses is large enough, use VoipNow’s APIs and third-party integration possibilities to stir the retailer’s interest. For instance, offering integration with a CRM or an e-mail service can be appealing for a retailer with a large customer base because it allows him to automate business operations and reduce costs.
If you feel the retailer is still reluctant to adopting your UC solution because of the big investment he anticipates, present him the advantages of a pay-as-you-grow licensing. Having the freedom to scale his business at his own pace and being able to pay only for the resources used should encourage him to adopt your UC offering.
A practical example
Case in point, Romanian e-commerce business Mamica.ro improved its customer relations by providing a more effective way for sales representatives to communicate with callers. It did so by upgrading its business phone system with the VoipNow platform, successfully eliminating dropped calls and busy signals.
By replacing the company’s old phone system with modern, socially-oriented UC software and cloud services, Mamica.ro accelerated its communications and enhanced its productivity as follows:
- Call handling time was reduced by 20% thanks to VoipNow’s integration with the online retailer’s CRM.
- Customer experience was significantly improved with the help of VoipNow’s smart queue feature as well as via integration with a mail-to-SMS provider.
- Resolution time has decreased as VoipNow provides customers with quick access to available supervisors and experts.
For more information on how an online retailer can implement the UC tools needed to drive productivity and profitability, click here to read Mamica.ro’s full-length case study.