It’s hard to believe how different the business world looks today. QR codes have replaced hand-held menus. Visits to the vet consist of parking-lot waiting rooms and car-side visits. Children and pets are a fixture in video meetings, and finally, offices are reopening with employees returning to work.
The modern workforce is anchored by a hybrid work model that encompasses employees in the office, at home, remotely, and everything in between. I touched on this shift at the recent Enterprise Connect event in Orlando, Fla., where the overarching theme was around hybrid work and the technology you need to deliver a total experience.
What was once considered work-life balance has become work-life integration, as the “anywhere” workforce demands businesses adapt and offer communications solutions that support remote work and collaboration from multiple devices and locations. To gain a competitive edge, brands must gain a deeper understanding of how we’re all adapting to work in this new era. Expectations have evolved, and stakeholders want modern, flexible solutions that mirror the way we like to communicate.
To deliver a premium experience to your most important stakeholders, here are some of the key areas to focus your efforts in the short term.
Happy employees = happy customers
The employee experience is one of the biggest drivers of customer retention, with Gallup reporting that companies with the happiest employees achieve four times as much earnings-per-share growth as their competitors. But creating this positive environment centers more on an adaptive culture and flexible, innovative technology than antiquated perks disguised as benefits.
At Zoom, we’re given the freedom to work where and how we feel most comfortable, and can designate if we’re remote, hybrid, or want to permanently work in the office. This ability to choose our work style reflects the type of flexibility employees need to feel supported in a post-pandemic workforce.
Regardless of location, employees – especially remote – crave inclusion in a team meeting, at an event, or while presenting to a customer. To achieve this at Zoom, we leverage the same modern, video-first communications solutions our customers use to connect our remote and in-person interactions. Giving employees access to modern collaboration tools yields a greater chance for increased productivity, improved company morale, and ultimately, positive customer relationships.
Meet your customers where they are
Like employees, today’s customers want to feel valued by the brands they trust and less like a transaction. This long-term relationship requires that organizations have empathetic conversations to give customers a sense of being understood.
Along those lines, consumers also desire flexibility in how they contact and engage with customer support. The ability to communicate and conduct business anywhere, at any time, translates into the expectation that customer service should extend outside the traditional walls of a 9-to-5 call center.
To meet customers where they are, businesses should provide convenient, multi-channel support to establish a sincere interaction. Contact centers are evolving to offer omnichannel tools such as chat, SMS, video, and phone as a means to connect customers and brands through their preferred digital channel. These flexible options consolidate customer interactions and decrease call abandonment rates to generate a more positive customer experience.
This enhanced customer experience approach also extends to events. Although in-person trade shows and conferences are returning, virtual and hybrid events remain a popular option for networking, as evidenced by a recent Qualtrics study citing 62% of surveyed participants prefer hybrid events with the option to attend virtually. When thinking about engaging with customers, brands need to weave hybrid experiences into their event strategy to stay competitive.
It’s no secret customer service plays a large role in the overall customer experience, but customer success is slated to become another differentiator in the coming years. When your customers can use your products and services to get ahead, it’s a win-win for them and your business.
Partners bridge the gap between your brand and customers
Partners also play a significant part in the customer experience, as they are often the link between a brand and its audience. As an extension of your team, the partner relationship shouldn’t be an afterthought. The need for consistent communication tools across the entire ecosystem is critical, as partners often own customer relationships, speak the same language, and know the ins and outs of both businesses. They want to be heard and need frequent interactions to feel part of the team at large.
Those interactions often occur within popular file-sharing and chat software tools that require integrations with larger SaaS platforms. All told, the average company uses 137+ apps for productivity, making it more imperative than ever to streamline your tools and ensure seamless communication between partners and brands.
How to deliver the total experience
Now’s the time for brands to transform the experience for their internal and external stakeholders. To create a brand that people will remember and want to interact with, flexibility remains key. It’s important to seek out scalable solutions that can support the changing needs of your employees, partners, and customers.
Rather than manage 138 separate tools, Zoom unites your collaboration, communications, events, and customer support in one familiar platform. Our all-in-one solution streamlines communication between businesses and partners through virtual events, webinars, meetings, phone, popular app integrations, and chat, while the new Zoom Contact Center gives customers the freedom to connect with your brand through popular digital channels of their choice.
As companies finalize their return-to-work plans, now’s the time for decision-makers to adopt the right technology that supports the future of work and humanizes customer interactions. To learn how to deliver a meaningful, memorable brand experience within this new hybrid landscape, join me at our next Work Transformation Summit.