Traditional communications are still a good call
JUST a few weeks ago US scientist Larry Roberts, who helped design and build the world's first ever computer-to-computer link, Arpanet, sadly passed away at the age of 81.
Built in 1969, the Advanced Research Projects Agency Network (Arpanet) and established as a new and innovative-for-its-time network for the US Department of Defense has often been described as the first forerunner to the internet, the global platform which makes all our online communications possible.
Roberts was also a keen advocate of email, recognising early its potential to dramatically improve both communication and collaboration. He was definitely on to something, with more than 125 billion business emails now sent every day.
Dr Roberts' legacy encouraged me to think about how far we have come in communications terms and just how much smarter, efficient and successful businesses because of his foresight and vision.
These days though, any company can now successfully combine traditional, verbal-led communications with newer, non-verbal communications across social media platforms, chat bots, email and more.
Automated social media chat bots, particularly, have also been positively disrupting the communications sector, allowing businesses to respond to more queries using less resources, but while also allowing their customers to access automated replies to their query quickly.
Businesses now recognise the benefits which non-verbal communication options can provide for customers affordably and effectively – and for many customers, this is how they want to communicate.
With modern telecommunications, customers can easily and efficiently remedy any issues without interacting directly with staff, and, where necessary, staff can also have the opportunity to engage with them directly when non-verbal communications cannot meet their needs.
Modern communications systems can also direct a customer's call to the most-appropriate specialist team using the information already provided during their non-verbal communications.
These two very different approaches to customer communications now combine naturally to create a seamless user experience.
However, while non-verbal options can be intuitive to a customer, there remains a very real place for traditional technology when it comes to business needs. It's important to provide the customer with the reassurance of being just a phone call away and giving them the option to speak to someone directly.
Customers are often, and most usually, right. They also force change and how we react.
Consumers, for example, are shunning CDs in favour of streaming services such as Apple Music, Spotify and Tidal, signalling the ever-growing success of cloud technology. Affordability and accessibility make music streaming platforms much more attractive. Curry's now no longer stock DVD players either for the same reason.
Cloud computing across the board is also seeing continued growth and is quickly becoming the new foundation for digital activity in business. To put this growth into perspective, the global IT services category is growing at a healthy rate of two and three per cent a year, while cloud growth is expected to grow six times that rate, at roughly 18 per cent.
An increasing number of organisations across Northern Ireland are moving to the cloud to help deliver voice and software solutions, to increase productivity, reduce costs and provide new levels of security.
With this in mind, are your business communication channels balanced in the right way, and do they truly reflect the company you are, you want to be and what your customers expect?
:: Eric Carson is director of Rainbow Communications and can be contacted via www.rainbowcomms. com. Rainbow Communications can also be followed on Twitter: @Rainbow_Comms