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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

Black History Month

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It’s October which marks Black History Month! A month that has been celebrated annually in the UK since 1987. This marks a time when we come together and acknowledge our diverse culture and celebrate the history and achievements of black heroes both past and present that have contributed to making our society a better place.

Black History Month originated from Carter G Woodson, who wanted to challenge the assumptions at the time that ‘the negro had no history’. This resulted in Carter founding the Association for the Study of Negro and History in 1915, which aimed to encourage research and protect and preserve black history and culture. However, the idea was first brought into the UK, in the 1980s by Akyaaba Addai Sebo to eradicate discrimination and promote the importance of equality across the UK [1].

In the US and Canada, black history month is in February, whilst in the UK and Ireland, we celebrate it in October. Why? This is because, Akyaaba Addai Sebo chose it, as it fell in line with the start of the academic year and therefore thought it would inspire young people. Alongside the fact, October is traditionally when African leaders unite and settle their differences, so it was chosen as a month to reconnect [1].

Being part of the tech industry, we undoubtedly recognise the multitude of black engineers and leaders that have pushed for change in the tech industry. As well as pushing technology forward through the invention of numerous products and features that have set the stage for technologies we still rely on today and inevitably will in our future. Here, we share three extraordinary examples of black pioneers that have made a large contribution to the tech industry.

 

  1. Firstly, we must obviously discuss the incredible legacy of Marain Croack. She is an inventor in the voice and data communication field [2] and is best known for envisioning and developing the technology that is responsible for Voice Over Internet Protocol. This invention has meant we can make calls over the internet instead of a phone line. Which Devyce know all about and have you to thank for contributing to an integral part of our business!
  2. John Henry Thompson, ‘the father of Lingo programming’ [3] invented Lingo, a scripting language that displays visuals in computer programmes. His programming language is embedded into Macromedia Director and popular Adobe Programmes [4]. Essentially, his work has helped combine the world of art and tech in video games, graphic design, web design and computer graphics today. Both designers and Adobe users should thank Thompson!
  3. Lastly, Kimberley Bryant, is an excellent modern-day example of an inspirational black leader that is making positive change in the tech world. Kimberley founded Black Girls CODE, whose mission is to help young women of colour get into the tech world by introducing them to numerous science and technology concepts. Currently, Black Girls CODE has reached 30,000 women and has taught over 50,000 hours [5]. It is clear that her actions have already helped so many young women. Her drive to change the narrative within the tech industry surrounding diversity in STEM, will undeniably have a positive impact on our future, as it will increase the number of female black, tech founders, entrepreneurs and leaders. 

    Of course, there are also many more inspirational leaders and influencers, and we encourage you to explore more! 

    You can also celebrate this month by:

  • Raising money for a charity that is dedicated to helping the lives of ethnic minorities.
  • Shopping from blacked owned businesses or supporting them in other ways by sharing them on social media platforms, with friends and family.

References: 

[1] https://www.standard.co.uk/news/uk/black-history-month-2022-uk-why-is-it-important-why-celebrated-in-october-a4250966.html 

[2] https://lemelson.mit.edu/resources/marian-croak#:~:text=Croak%20is%20a%20prolific%20inventor,computer%20or%20other%20digital%20device

[3] https://blog.adafruit.com/2015/02/26/john-henry-thompson-invented-lingo-programming-used-in-macromedia-director-and-shockwave-african-american-history-month-2015-blackhistorymonth/

[4] https://tisch.nyu.edu/itp/events/fall-2017/dice-with-john-henry-thompson#:~:text=John%20Thompson%20invented%20lingo%20programming,design%2C%20animation%2C%20and%20graphics.

Why you should apply to jobs even if you may not fully qualify for them

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The corporate job market is at an all-time high, with a record number of job openings. Specifically, the graduate job market is soaring. The number of vacancies has risen by 59% and is set to see an expected 7% salary rise, compared to the figures released in May last year [1].

Despite this boom, entry-level jobs used to be the leading pathway into the workplace for new graduates but now many require prior experience. This was highlighted in a 2021 study that found that 34% of graduate-level jobs and 24% of junior jobs in the UK require at least one year of work experience [2].

Scrolling through numerous job websites and spotting an Entry Level Job that seems interesting, is quickly scrolled past when the dreaded phrase ‘two years of experience required’ is read and this can be incredibly frustrating. This can often be the only element a candidate is missing. Yet, women hold back if they don’t meet 100% of the criteria, while men only apply if they meet at least 60% [3]. It is important to remember that no candidate can meet 100% of the criteria. As there is simply no such thing as a ‘perfect candidate’.

Often this requirement is merely just a guideline and not a necessity. Employers also use this to narrow down the applicant pool, to avoid them getting flooded with unqualified candidates that have absolutely no knowledge of the industry [4].

Don’t let this requirement limit you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

There are numerous real-life stories that support this advice, including a recent article written by Janet Phan and published in the Harvard Business Review sharing her story. She found a job outside of her expertise which required skills she did not have. Yet, she applied anyway. This resulted in her landing a job at a major tech company! So, her advice would be, apply! [5].

We’ve asked one of our interns, ‘Kate’ who is fresh out of university, about her experience and her advice/ tips. 

Kate:

Finding a job straight out of university is a difficult and daunting task. It is incredibly frustrating when you search for hours to find a job that interests you, and you see you need years of experience. Why would I have years of experience, I have just finished university. 

After speaking to friends, family and industry experts I have taken away 5 incredibly valuable pieces of advice when faced with this dilemma. Firstly, there are many ways to tweak your C.V to work around the requirement. 

  1. Holm in on your transferable skills. Speaking from experience, as someone who entered the job market with no industry experience. Using these transferable skills when writing your C.V or a covering letter is a great idea!

  2. Don’t underestimate the importance of a good covering letter. 

I managed to slip these transferable skills into my C.V by including details about my university projects or modules I completed. I tailored each one I sent, by including different keywords that were in the description of that particular job. 

  1. Read the job description!

  2. Prepare! If you do manage to get an interview, preparation is key! Make sure you have spent time researching the company, their values, their culture, what they do, and any of their recent projects. Prepare for any questions they may ask you, but try not to over prepare! Get a good balance, you want to be yourself and you don’t want to seem scripted or answer the wrong question because you heard what you had prepared for!
  3. Be confident and take risks. At the end of the day, what’s the worst that can happen? They say no. At least you tried. You didn’t lose anything.

 

OR take a step back. You don’t need to rush, try and get some experience, this is not only good for filling that ‘missing experience’ experience but can also help you find your niche! An internship is a great idea!

 

References:

[1]

https://www.cityam.com/uk-graduates-set-to-enter-strongest-job-market-in-years/

[2]

https://www.linkedin.com/business/talent/blog/talent-acquisition/viral-post-asks-why-entry-level-jobs-require-years-of-experience

[3]

https://business.linkedin.com/content/dam/me/business/en-us/talent-solutions-lodestone/body/pdf/Gender-Insights-Report.pdf

[4]

https://upjourney.com/why-do-entry-level-jobs-require-experience

[5]

https://hbr.org/2022/07/apply-to-a-job-even-if-you-dont-meet-all-criteria 

5 Important Digital Tools for Small Businesses

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Starting a small business is daunting to say the least.

Picture this: a great idea for a business pops into your head one day. 

Ready to launch now? Absolutely yes. 

After months of hard work, you finally launch your business in high spirits. Then as your business grows, you are hit with an ever-growing mountain of things to do; from managing your employees to finances and every little detail in between. You are feeling overwhelmed and wondering how you will ever get on top of this mountain. 

No worries, we’ve got you. 

We know you’re extremely busy running your business so here are 5 of the most useful digital tools you can take advantage of: 

 

Communication tools:

Communication is the key to any successful relationship whether that be with your employees or your customers. To help with this you could get… 

 

  • Devyce – 2 numbers, 1 phone

Devyce is a cost-effective and sustainable digital solution to the work phone. 

It allows you to have an additional phone number on your phone to use for work communications. On average phones are replaced every two years [1] and each phone during its lifetime can create up to 110kg of CO2 per year [2]. Eliminate the use of a second phone and get Devyce. 

Another great feature of Devyce is the team management portal for you to monitor and manage your employee call activity and quickly access call logs. 

 

We know what you’re thinking, having your work communications operating on your personal phone might disrupt your personal life (or vice versa) however Devyce also has a handy ‘do not disturb’ feature where you can turn off work notifications to keep a healthy work life balance.

All these features make Devyce a great telecommunications tool for your small business! 

  • FreshDesk – A customer service software for your website 

Maintaining an open line of communication with your customers can be harder than it seems. 

Customers will reach out to customer support through multiple channels. This can become difficult to keep track of so let FreshDesk ‘delight your customers with effortless customer service’. 

 

Financing tools:

One of the top reasons why startups/small businesses fail is a lack of cash or failure to raise new capital. [3] Sounds pretty obvious right? However, many business owners struggle to manage their finances and budgeting. 

Don’t worry, you don’t need to be a financial expert to be able to start your own business (even accountants struggle with the papers sometimes). There are many digital tools to assist you. Spendesk being one of them. 

  • Spendesk – A 7-in-1 spend management tool 

Spendesk encourages smarter spending decisions by providing:

  • A management platform where you can view and manage spending from company cards 
  • Review and pay invoices
  • Track expenses
  • Generate financial reports
  • Automate accounting
  • Create and optimise budget plans for your business

Make smarter money decisions, budget better and stay on top of your finances with Spendesk. 

 

Marketing tools:

Developing a solid marketing plan and creating great content for it is one of the key reasons for success for many businesses. 

  • BuzzSumo – an all in one content marketing tool 

BuzzSumo is a hub platform where you can:

  • Discover and research new content ideas
  • Find relevant influencers to work with 
  • Industry trend updates
  • Develop your content strategy and create compelling content
  • Analytics for content engagement

This all inclusive platform is great for industry trend research, allowing you to create and optimise your content marketing strategy. 

 

  • Buffer – social media management tool 

Buffer is a great tool for starting out with social media management as it offers a clear and easy to navigate platform for:

  • Creating and scheduling social media posts
  • Accessing all your social media messages across all platforms in one inbox
  • Social media analytics 

All of these features are great for effective communication with your audience, learning more about their preferences in regard to your business and utilising new insights to optimise your services and marketing plan. 

So, will you be using any of these digital tools? Feel free to head to our socials to share your business story and what digital tools you’re currently using! 

 

References:

[1]

https://www.bbvaopenmind.com/en/science/environment/the-hidden-environmental-toll-of-smartphones/#:~:text=Smartphones%20generate%20more%20greenhouse%20gases,the%20energy%20sector%20and%20transportation.

[2]

https://www.eea.europa.eu/publications/europe2019s-consumption-in-a-circular/benefits-of-longer-lasting-electronics

[3]

https://www.cbinsights.com/research/startup-failure-reasons-top/

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