The speed with which communication technology has evolved has been exceptional. Where employees once relied on face-to-face meetings to collaborate, today it’s as simple as sending an IM or hosting a video call.
By Robert Oscanyan
In the past, if you wanted to have a productive day at work, it meant actually going to the office and sitting behind a desk. Today, you can be productive wherever you are, as long as you have a laptop, an Internet connection, and a reliable unified communications (UC) solution.
In the span of a few decades, we went from in-person meetings, to telephones and faxes, email and smartphones, to remote and on-the-go communication and collaboration at the speed of need. So, where do we go from here? What does the future of business communication look like? What new technologies will revolutionize the way we work?
Take a look at some predictions worth noting below:
1. Artificial Intelligence (AI) will be at the frontline of communications
The emergence of AI has always prompted worry among the general workforce, especially since reports say that 47 percent of US employees are apparently at risk for displacement. However, take a look at this from a different perspective. AI can complement instead of displacing your business communication.
Chatbots, for example, which automate responses from your company can be used to engage customers and streamline customer service efforts. With machine learning capability, the platform becomes more intuitive and can become more intelligent with consistent engagement. This frees up a lot more time for your employees to actually focus on more strategic endeavors.
2. Delivery of customer experience…on steroids
Earlier, businesses typically, only had to worry about the one-time transaction with customers and ensure that it was a great one. However, the consumer journey has changed significantly in the age of digitalization. Customers now have access to multiple touchpoints–and with it has emerged the need to deliver exceptional customer experiences across the spectrum.
Today, with the advent of SaaS (Software as a Service) solutions, what would have been a one-time transaction can be transformed into a lasting vendor-customer relationship–but only if your business has the ability to earn the consumer’s trust repeatedly. This is why businesses are working towards creating hyper-customized experiences that cater specifically to the needs of their customers–whether online or off.
Integrations will play a big role in how well businesses achieve this. And moving forward, there will be a stronger focus on how brands and services can continuously improve the delivery of customer service across multiple channels.
3. Greater focus on mobility
Today, there are 96.2 million mobile workers in the US. That number is poised to rise to 105.4 million in the next five years as broadband technology continues to improve, mobile devices become more affordable, and employee priorities shift and focus on remote working opportunities.
With more companies offering remote working opportunities as a way to steadily motivate employees and promote work/life balance among their team members, technology that empowers flexible working schedules is needed. These solutions will also ensure that productivity isn’t limited to an employee’s cubicle.
4. Stronger need for data to guide business decisions in the workplace
With today’s tools easily being able to deliver insight into communication and collaboration habits, businesses no longer have to rely only on instinct to make good business growth decisions. Solutions such as UC and Hosted VoIP are making it possible to gather better data into work habits and needs that will support operational improvements.
For example, you could use the data gathered to understand when customer calls are heaviest, allowing you to free up as many employees to attend to customer calls, or set up automated options such as chatbots to accommodate the additional work. Depending on your employee communication habits, you could choose which apps and tools are best suited to facilitate better collaboration between your team.
The future of business communication will definitely see improvements to current technology that we have today in the interest of improving transparency, productivity, and efficiency in the workplace.
Based on the examples discussed above, it’s clear that business communication technology today is already evolving towards bringing these possibilities to fruition. Whether we do see automation, AI, or AR and VR incorporating itself to today’s current solutions, we certainly know that data and mobility are clearly shaping how tools are being used in current workplaces. As new solutions gain more momentum, you can rest assured that future technology will be game-changing.
Robert Oscanyan is a Product Marketing Manager at Jive Communications by LogMeIn, a hosted VoIP provider which helps thousands of organizations simplify how they manage their phone and conferencing systems. Rob spends his time creating new adventures with his wife, six kids, and rambunctious dog while still finding time to binge on crime podcasts. You can find him on LinkedIn.