As we are easing out of lockdown it is good to take a moment to reflect on how organisations and their customers managed the crisis.
When the Coronavirus crisis struck forcing all but key workers to be locked down at home the need for communications was even greater. The speed of lockdown was incredibly fast, shifting the UK’s workforce from their offices into their homes giving organisations minimal time to adjust.
Most organisations fast-tracked their Remote Working plans deploying Unified Communication (UC) elements of their telephone platforms, the subsequent demand on vendors, distributors and resellers was considerable. If the inhouse system was not able to support a UC service IT Directors looked to the cloud and mobile providers to meet their needs.
Whatever solution was deployed it had to be fast, simply to configure, agnostic to non-corporate network standards and above all, easy to use. The speed to deploy and project constraints became a clear criteria in selecting a new technology partner. Lockdown was not the time to embark on a complex implementation.
Customers were also forced to change their engagement with their suppliers. Those organisations with self-service eCommerce platforms were ideally placed to absorb the overnight shift in buying habits, for those without an eCommerce platform the impact of this could be telling. The inbound pressures on customer service teams especially in the travel sector were also exceptional.
Contact Centres and Customer Service teams were propelled into supporting multiple digital channels with teams dispersed geographically into their homes. In a pre-COVID world, this was a model rarely implemented. The need to find ways to respond efficiently and effectively to high volumes of digital communication spanning multiple channels ideally suited the adoption of business process automation – the ability to let the system automatically apply content-based intelligent decision routing.
There is no doubt that consumers and businesses have been immersed in the world of Digital Transformation without having any choice in this decision. The stock market prices of these providers and underlying cloud computing vendors are compelling evidence of this shift.
The cloud UC as a Service (UCaaS) and Contact Centre as a Service (CCaaS) marketplace has come of age through COVID-19 with IT Directors and CIOs looking to the cloud to beat lockdown. The question now must be, how will the rest of the UC/Contact Centre marketplace respond to retain their market share and counter the shift to cloud user adoption?
In summary, maybe this crisis will mark the pivot point in the technology journey where organisations and consumers realised that digital interactions can transform their communication experience.