All of us in the Business world are very aware of what challenges we’ve faced over the past few months. We’ve learned a lot about ourselves and about what technology and process gaps that business’ need to close to be successful in the future. These are the highlights from our own unique BrantTel perspective.

People

Headline: People are resilient

Overwhelmingly the strongest single group evaluated here. We are well aware of the resiliency of the Frontline workers and Healthcare workers, much respect.  Many people took on challenges with work and technology that they’ve never had to before, and they succeeded in great numbers. Those that never used Web or Video Conferencing became experts, many can troubleshoot their own VPN set ups now. In February, many didn’t even know what a VPN was! People overcame challenges that they had never faced before and overcame them with ingenuity, co-operation and technology adoption. Overcoming all challenges is the hallmark of this cohort.

Time to Transform: 1 Day

Post-COVID Recommendation: Keep embracing change, there will be more of it

Small/Medium Sized Business

Headline: Weathering the storm with whatever we have.

Small Business with limited cash flow and limited time to react to the changing business environment is well documented by our teams. Small business used the tools they had available to maintain their communications practices with their customers. Mobile phone use on its own is the primary engagement tool with their customers. Desk Phones ring and are never answered, reception hand writing messages and call backs where required. Bringing on Zoom or other web conferencing tools was the single largest technology adoption that occurred in this space. Integrating social channels and other methods of communication from customers would be a big improvement for this group. The Small and Medium sized Business has the most to gain by undergoing a Digital Transformation.

Time to Transform: 6 Months – 1 Year

Post-COVID Recommendation – Re-tool your systems and more importantly your customer experience practices to ensure that a clean flow of communications vehicles allows you to stay connected to your customers from any location. Integrate a documented process flow that is understood by all employees and replicated by all employees. Build, refine, sustain, and repeat.

Enterprises

Headline:  Run for the Hills

These organizations were the most prepared to support remote workers, and handle remote customer experience tactics. That being said…forcing people to digitally transform in 2 months with no process or organizational strategy was challenging. Many have done a valiant job in attempting to do this in a short period of time, with the resources they had. Expansions of current systems to ‘patch’ the current situation was the method chosen by most. Not enough time to change direction caused mayhem for both operational and technology staff, they worked through it the best they could. The bright spot for enterprises as seen by our teams, is the rise of contextual awareness around traditional channels (Voice) and the interest in omnichannel approaches including Web Chat, the AI Chatbot, and the interest in bringing in social channels to capture revenue. The gaps still exist though, silos of groups within these organizations run these initiatives without corporate and organizational support and leadership. Through self-reflection, these organizations are poised to raise their internal goals as a business, by realizing that they actually have a long way to go to digitally transform how they work and serve customers.

Time to Transform: 2 years

Post-COVID Recommendation – Don’t leverage your existing processes when looking into the future. Re-define what your core strategies are, and reflect them in the new processes and tools that you use to achieve that outcome.

Technology

We’re not going to single out people or business groups without talking about what technology we’ve seen changing during this time. Again, from BrantTel’s unique perspective.

The Re-birth of Voice

From a customer experience angle. Voice was always the King. When you needed to get definitive answers in a short time, you called. As time went on other channels began to disrupt voice especially in a Contact Centre setting. Email, Web Chat, Social Media mining were getting some attention and pulling people away from Voice as a primary channel. The crisis that began this soul searching has overwhelmingly turned back to Voice as a very important method to communicate with your colleagues and customers alike.

The Rise of Video

Zooming. Chiming, Going into Space, whatever you happened to call it, it changed the way we interact digitally with each other. Even those very practical types who hate the camera embraced their own image so it could be seen by others. No one was afraid of the camera after using these tools. A shout out to the resiliency of people here, overcoming challenge, embracing the tools. During this time, Video meetings came of age and grew exponentially, doubtful we’ll go back now.

The Efficiency of Team Collaboration

What Slack and Ryver started, MS Teams is finishing. Overwhelmingly the choice for medium and large enterprises. Almost every Business BrantTel spoke to recently has mentioned their use of Teams and how its helped every company stay on task in a digital environment. With outstanding integrations to Office 365 Apps, this software suite outperformed all other internal collaboration apps. Yes, if you are considering using MS Teams as your Communications Platform, we can assist you. That’s the number one question we get at BrantTel these days and we can help your business choose the best path forward with MS Teams as there are several ways to accomplish this.

Cloud and Pay-as-you-go

The Cloud as a source of Cost Reduction – That’s right. At BrantTel, this topic and the software suites available within them became a hot topic of conversation over the past 2 months. As Businesses began to consider alternatives for cost reduction, did anyone buy a Server over the past 2 months to maintain their on-premise applications. Simple answer. However many did explore AWS with BrantTel and how we can implement a pay-as-you-go usage model. Many many discussions around these topics around infrastructure as a service, contact centre as a service and custom application development will continue for months to come. BTW we knocked out 3 unique AWS IaaS development projects for customers in Toronto and Southwestern Ontario the past 2 months. Let’s hear what unique problems you are trying to solve and we’ll be able to show you some eye-opening numbers and methodologies to leverage Cloud the way it should be leveraged.

How’s Your Internet?

With Mobile Networks pushed to the max and home based Internet getting a thorough workout, connectivity for both Business and home workers is now as important as your water or heat. Watch for businesses to ramp up their consumption as people return to those offices, at whatever pace that occurs. These web based tools were in high demand before the crisis, they will be in even higher demand when things return to the new normal. Watch for technology like SD-WAN to get more attention as Enterprises and Small businesses look to increase throughput, and save money at the same time.

Stay safe, stay vigilant.

From the Authors at BrantTel