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Tag: Advice

How you can leverage technology to reduce pressure on customer support teams

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The demand for customer support has increased greatly over the years, putting pressure on companies to meet consumer demands. However, many businesses struggle to keep up due to lack of resources and evolving landscapes for customer support teams. 

In a survey carried out by Intercom [1], it was found that the top challenges faced by customer support teams are:

  1. Poor workflow efficiency
  2. Attracting and retaining quality staff
  3. Inefficient handling of customer queries

Support teams can leverage technological advances to optimise their way of working in order to adapt to growing demands. Here are a few ways you could utilise tech to alleviate the pressures your customer support teams face:

 

        1. Use a phone system that supports remote work 

Customer support teams have reduced in size due to the pandemic resulting in increased pressure on staff. Team leads have also faced difficulties attracting and retaining staff due to large scale burnout. 

To overcome this and adapt to the changing landscapes of work, support team leads should look into investing in phone systems that support remote working like Devyce. 

With the Teams Plan on Devyce, you can provide your employees with two numbers on their phones allowing them to work from anywhere meaning employees can prioritise their wellbeing. This will also enable hiring of talent remotely – an attraction point in hiring which could lead to increased retention of staff. 

 

        2. Use a phone system that facilitates call groups and forwarding

Customer expectations have grown and only 24% of support teams surveyed stated they were confident they could meet them [1]. Often customer queries can’t be answered by the first person they get in contact with. The biggest challenge here is transferring calls to the right person on the team in a timely manner.  

To improve the efficiency of your customer support service, look out for phone systems with features to aid your customer’s journey. For example, on Devyce’s Teams Plan you are able to set up an auto attendant which filters inbound calls to the relevant call groups, streamlining the workflow and minimising wait and transfer times. 

        3. Utilise CRM and analytic software with your phone system

Poor workflow management is a key reason for staff burn out. To optimise, team leads need to regularly revise operations by setting up and tracking call metrics. This is hard to do on traditional phone systems so companies should explore newer phone systems. At Devyce, we offer a Teams Management Portal – a platform to view call analytics, allowing optimisation of workflow to meet goals. 

The Teams Plan also offers integrations with CRM softwares like Hubspot so you can manage your customer’s journeys. Creating an integrated tech stack improves workflow efficiency as it reduces the need for switching between softwares and ensures all team members can quickly access relevant data to handle customer queries. 

 

Leveraging tech to optimise your support service strategy is the key difference between companies that exceed customer expectations and those that fall behind due to not having the infrastructure to handle the growing demands. Help your team flourish today by embracing innovative advances in technology with Devyce. 

 

References:

[1] https://www.intercom.com/resources/books/customer-support-trends-emea-2022

 

Three ways firms can help Black staff thrive beyond Black History Month

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Black History Month may be coming to an end but that doesn’t mean we should table the conversation about supporting black employees within companies. 

There needs to be an ongoing effort by business leaders to improve inclusivity and integration of BAME communities in the workplace. Although much has been done for inclusivity, sadly minority communities still face many challenges with their professional progression after passing the first few hurdles. 

So how can firms build a better environment for black employees to better support them? Here are three things you could implement:

 

  1. Re-evaluate your protocols and gather feedback
    One of the first things to do is to re-examine your internal procedures and company structures. By analysing the data available to you within your organisation, you can identify the areas of organisational dynamics that need improvement.Research has shown that UK black employees hold only 1.5% of senior roles, which has only increased 0.1% since 2014 [1]. This reveals a deep-rooted organisational problem that generates barriers affecting progression of BAME communities.

    Although many companies may argue that the opportunities for senior roles for BAME employees exist but there aren’t enough BAME employees to be considered, this highlights a bigger problem faced by minority communities in workplaces.
    Surveys have revealed that 46% of black employees plan to leave their workplaces due to negative experiences with workplace culture and racism in the UK [2]. This coupled with the systemic barriers to their progression makes it extremely difficult for representation of BAME in leadership to improve.
    Therefore, it’s important to create a systematic and continuous method of gathering feedback from your minority employees in order to learn and build better working experiences.

  2.  Encourage difficult conversations and educate within your organisation
    While data is important to power better decision making, it’s also important to have those necessary and sometimes difficult conversations within your company.In the post pandemic world where we are adopting an “everything back to business” mindset, it can be easy to sweep certain problems under the rug as we focus our efforts on recovering industries. However, in order to create positive change, the conversations surrounding inequality still need to be encouraged – and regularly.

    For example, conversations about the gender pay gap need to also address the extremely low percentage of less than 0.1% of black women being top earners in the UK [3]. While the gender pay gap is a different challenge in the workplace, we cannot neglect the role that race has in it as well.

    By regularly having such conversations, employees within firms can better learn and understand the workplace experiences of BAME communities and empower introspection within your firm that leads to positive changes.

  3. Lead consciously with purpose and build trust
    Building a workplace culture that supports black employees may arguably be redundant without trust in the leadership.You could be creating an outstanding structure within your organisation that supports growth of BAME employees but if they don’t believe you have their best interests as a priority, you will likely still see poor retention of minority employees.

    A culture of trust is largely built around the credibility of leadership, an atmosphere of fairness and demonstrating a high level of respect for all employees. It is important that those in leadership positions have contact with minority employees and seek to understand their experiences within the workplace.

    Although we often blame the “system” for inequalities and leaders are responsible for changing it, they must remember that they are also part of the system and therefore will be doing or not doing things that hold minority communities back.

    Speaking to BAME employees and asking simple questions like “how could I support you?” or “do you feel there is anything I may be doing unintentionally that is blocking you?” is powerful in getting the insight necessary to create change. It can also help facilitate more conversations in the workplace around inequality. 

    These recommendations will not be the definitive driving force for positive change however it is a good starting point for firms to improve. Companies will need to be consistent in their efforts beyond Black History Month and continuously learn and adapt their approaches in order to move towards creating workplaces where employees are valued and treated fairly.

References:

[1] https://www.peoplemanagement.co.uk/article/1744977/black-employees-hold-just-1-5-per-cent-of-senior-roles

[2] https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2022-07-13/almost-half-of-uk-black-professionals-plan-to-leave-their-jobs?leadSource=uverify%20wall

[3] https://www.lse.ac.uk/News/Latest-news-from-LSE/2021/c-March-21/Black-women-are-least-likely-to-be-among-UKs-top-earners

The Most Important Things Start-Ups Should Invest in Early

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When starting a business, you’ll undoubtedly have a million things to do, whether it be product development or fundraising. So, what do business owners need to prioritise for maximal growth? Truth is, there isn’t one area that should be prioritised more than another. This means it can get difficult to manage if internal processes aren’t optimised. 

 

Around 20% of businesses are dissolved in the first year according to research carried out by Fundsquire [1]. The reasons for startup failure could be one of many including: getting outcompeted, hiring the wrong people or burnout. 

To help better manage your business and avoid startup failure, owners should look to invest early into these things:

 

  1. Scalable Tech Solutions 

Whether it be long processes like data logging or physical equipment like work phones, there are almost definitely tech alternatives available that will make your life easier as a business owner. 

An example is Devyce – a modern business phone system.We provide you with two numbers on your phone through an app so you can affordably make business calls without having to commit to a lengthy contract with a phone provider. 

Devyce also offers a Teams Plan to provide your employees with business numbers and you have access to a Teams Management Portal where you can view call analytics and manage employee inbound/outbound calls. The Teams plan is scalable to your business needs and growth so it will save you money in the long run, allowing you to allocate more budgets to other departments such as Marketing. 

 

Check out our Teams Plan for your business here: 

 

  1. Marketing

So, getting Devyce has saved you a lot of money on the telecommunications side. Now what do you invest in? Marketing! 

Many businesses underrate the importance of marketing, especially in the early stages. An important component of marketing is customer relationship management. While many businesses’ marketing efforts are directed towards top of the funnel objectives and getting those sales, the actual relationship a business has with its customers is widely neglected. 

It can get difficult to stay on top of all your customers’ journeys without a system to collate all the information. To ensure you foster and maintain beneficial relationships with your customers, business owners should look to utilise CRM platforms like Hubspot. This will encourage more positive reviews to be generated for your business, further helping as 90% of consumers rely on reviews when making a purchase decision [2].  

You can also integrate your CRM system with Devyce to keep track of your client calls and the follow up! 

 

  1. Your Team

The people you choose to work with can be the make-or-break factor for your business. It’s important that you take the time to hire the right people to deliver on your long-term business goals. Not only will you need to hire the right people, but you will also need to invest time into their development as your business grows. 

However, the pandemic has changed the way we work, and many businesses need to hire remotely. This has many advantages for business owners including saving money due to lack of need for office space. Although, it can be challenging as business owners will need to find ways to seamlessly integrate new hires into the company from afar. 

Here’s how Devyce can help; our plans are easy to sign up to and within minutes you can assign business numbers to your employees. With Devyce your employees can work from anywhere in the world and the app is easily accessible on any smartphone – just download it from your app store! 

 

Find out how else your business can benefit from switching to Devyce here.

References:

[1] https://fundsquire.co.uk/startup-statistics/

[2] https://www.qualtrics.com/blog/online-review-stats/

What can business owners learn from Patagonia’s hand over vs. Starbucks’ reinvention plan?

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A lot of high-profile business decisions were published in the recent weeks, most notably Patagonia’s handover which sparked widespread support for the brand. 

 

Patagonia’s founder – Yvon Chouinard announced in a personal letter, [1] the handover of the company to two non-profit organisations and that going forward, 100% of revenue will go towards protecting the environment, supporting thriving communities and fighting the climate crisis [2]. 

 

They have experimented with ethical business models for years and this radical decision sets a new bar for corporate sustainability. Patagonia has consistently evaluated their impact and made steps to improve including becoming a B corporation. However, Chouinard addresses there were “no good options available” going forward for generating more money to fight the climate crisis while maintaining company values, so they “created [their] own” path. 

 

Going public with the company was not an option due to the pressure it would bring to “create short term gain at the expense of long-term vitality and responsibility”. This shows the commitment to maintaining the company’s values and staying true to what he’d envisioned the company to be. 

 

In contrast to another company in recent news – Starbucks have announced their “reinvention plan” for the coming years entailing aggressive growth targets, a 450-million-dollar investment into North American branches and intent to open thousands more across the US and China [3]. This demonstrates how far Starbucks has and will be straying from its roots. 

 

Howard Schultz’s vision for Starbucks was a place for people to experience the “purity of Italian coffee” that he’d fallen in love with [3] and he admits in certain ways, the company has “lost its way”. Most consumers now view Starbucks as a quick coffee stop as opposed to the authentic Italian coffee experience Schultz had envisioned. 

 

Starbucks has been a public company for 30 years and as a result, their immense growth has largely aligned with the goals of shareholders. While the reinvention plan is great for shareholders, current fans of the company will either love or hate the growth trajectory. 

 

So, what can business leaders take away from this? 

Growth should be considered with intention. 

 

While expanding is a long-term goal for many entrepreneurs, business owners need to be careful of how their plans align with their vision for the company. It can be easy to get caught up in the pursuit of major development milestones and lose sight of the intention behind building your business. This is especially true of public companies whereby the only goal then becomes creating massive returns on investment for shareholders. 

 

When this becomes the primary goal, it can lead business owners to cut corners and undertake unethical business practices in order to shape the company to the visions of shareholders. With pressure like this on leaders, there are high chances of making business decisions that end up being met with widespread distaste.

 

By taking a more thoughtful approach with consistent consideration of how your company impacts its community and prioritising your audience, your company will likely grow into one that sets examples for future entrepreneurs while staying true to your vision. 

 

References: 

[1] https://www.patagonia.com/ownership/

[2] https://www.upi.com/Top_News/US/2022/09/15/patagonia-outdoor-retailer-yvon-choulnard-climate/8801663251152/

[3] https://www.inc.com/justin-bariso/starbucks-howard-schultz-patagonia-how-big-should-my-business-grow.html?utm_medium=browser_notifications&utm_source=pushly&utm_campaign=2385105&cid=pushly

 

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