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How Unified Communications can Improve the Purchasing Process for Customers

Published on 02 May 13
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Unified communications (UC) platforms can serve a range of purposes in modern businesses, so adoption of this type of solution is often seen as a necessary act when updating telecom services.

While there are obvious benefits for employees who have access to UC, it is also necessary to think about how it can affect the customer when dealing with a company.

First impressions are obviously important, so with UC you are endowed with a variety of ways to make initial contact and then foster relationships going forwards.

The unification of multiple communications solutions means that businesses and their clients can streamline the purchasing process. But how is this made possible and what are the main motivating factors that convince companies to adopt UC technologies?
A Unified Communications Case Study
In 2011 Daisy was able to help online car dealer Lewis's establish itself thanks to the provision of high-speed internet, landline and mobile telephone services.

This digital business differs from other dealerships in that rather than relying on a bricks and mortar showroom to wow customers, it instead hosts everything online. This gives it the ability to sell to a global audience rather than wait for potential buyers to turn up in person and then try to secure a deal.

Anyone who has ever had to buy a vehicle will appreciate how difficult this process can be for both the customer and staff. But UC makes every step of the journey less of a burden for Lewis's, which has helped it to find success since its recent establishment.
Pre-Sales Advantages

Lewis's relies not only on being able to sell cars to customers, but also on acquiring used cars from private owners and other groups. This obviously means that its staff members need to spend much of their time away from the office while they are out in the field looking for new stock.

The purchasing team can use smartphone technology to add information about newly acquired vehicles to the company's website almost instantaneously. In the fast-paced world of web-based transactions this means that the firm is more likely to capture casually browsing customers who are looking for a specific vehicle but are not tied down to the use of a particular dealership.
Customer Purchasing Benefits

Mobile devices also play their part in the other end of the spectrum, allowing Lewis's customers to view its listings while they are out and about and even initiate payments for particular vehicles without the involvement of any other intermediary.

Because the company has to cater to an international market, UC gives it the ability to get in touch with customers even if they are not based domestically. It recently sold a van to an agriculturalist from Australia who was out tending to his crops when he spotted the vehicle he wanted on the company's site and decided there and then to put his money on the table.

Lewis's was able to respond to this request with speed thanks to UC and begin the arrangements to have the van shipped over to its new owner without delay. Since then it has catered to clients based in such far flung places as Malta and the Dominican Republic.
Contemporary Expectations

The peril of appealing to a widespread, technologically aware customer base is that there will naturally be a degree of pressure on the business to live up to the expectations that such a status places upon it.

Modern consumers are used to a degree of continuity in their purchasing, with mainstream services allowing them to carry out research on one device, add items to a digital shopping basket with another and then finalize the transaction on a third.

It is possible to replicate the same levels of convenience and cohesion at almost any level thanks to UC, which means that even small and medium sized enterprises will be in a good position to prove that their worth when under the scrutiny of potential customers.

The fact that Lewis's focuses entirely on a web-based business without the need for a bricks and mortar showroom means that access to fast, consistent and comprehensively powerful communications services are at the core of its continued survival.

These are the circumstances in which plenty of other companies find themselves, whether by design or as a result of shifts in the market, which makes preparing to handle a new breed of customers very important.
Unified Communications Options

While it is easy to espouse the benefits of unified communications and understand how they can improve the purchasing process for customers, it is also necessary to establish the types of platform that businesses can adopt and amalgamate to achieve the desired results.

UC is a broad market that comprises multiple different facets, which means in many cases it is possible to pick and choose the most appropriate services while leaving the unnecessary ones on the shelf.

At the core of any good UC setup is a fast business broadband connection. Even if you are going to be relying on externally hosted communications platforms based in the cloud, you will need plenty of bandwidth to handle the exchange of data between your local and remote devices and the provider's data centres.

You will then be able to combine one or all of a handful of other platforms into one easy-to-manage solution. This can include real time services like instant messaging and VoIP as well as other options such as email, text messaging and even traditional fax.

For companies that, like Lewis's, will need sales teams to be out and about rather than tethered to a desk, it may be sensible to also think about the type of mobile solutions available.

This needs to incorporate a consideration of both the handset hardware and the type of networking that it can access when the user is away from the office.

There is no single correct route when it comes to UC, instead businesses need to pick a path that they find to be both manageable and affordable. If this leads to a slicker purchasing experience for customers, as it should, then the success of the solution can be measured in the sales it helps to generate after its adoption.

This article is supplied by Jamie Garner who works for Daisy, a leading provider of Unified Communications solutions.

Unified communications (UC) platforms can serve a range of purposes in modern businesses, so adoption of this type of solution is often seen as a necessary act when updating telecom services.

While there are obvious benefits for employees who have access to UC, it is also necessary to think about how it can affect the customer when dealing with a company.

First impressions are obviously important, so with UC you are endowed with a variety of ways to make initial contact and then foster relationships going forwards.

The unification of multiple communications solutions means that businesses and their clients can streamline the purchasing process. But how is this made possible and what are the main motivating factors that convince companies to adopt UC technologies?

A Unified Communications Case Study

In 2011 Daisy was able to help online car dealer Lewis's establish itself thanks to the provision of high-speed internet, landline and mobile telephone services.

This digital business differs from other dealerships in that rather than relying on a bricks and mortar showroom to wow customers, it instead hosts everything online. This gives it the ability to sell to a global audience rather than wait for potential buyers to turn up in person and then try to secure a deal.

Anyone who has ever had to buy a vehicle will appreciate how difficult this process can be for both the customer and staff. But UC makes every step of the journey less of a burden for Lewis's, which has helped it to find success since its recent establishment.

Pre-Sales Advantages

Lewis's relies not only on being able to sell cars to customers, but also on acquiring used cars from private owners and other groups. This obviously means that its staff members need to spend much of their time away from the office while they are out in the field looking for new stock.

The purchasing team can use smartphone technology to add information about newly acquired vehicles to the company's website almost instantaneously. In the fast-paced world of web-based transactions this means that the firm is more likely to capture casually browsing customers who are looking for a specific vehicle but are not tied down to the use of a particular dealership.

Customer Purchasing Benefits

Mobile devices also play their part in the other end of the spectrum, allowing Lewis's customers to view its listings while they are out and about and even initiate payments for particular vehicles without the involvement of any other intermediary.

Because the company has to cater to an international market, UC gives it the ability to get in touch with customers even if they are not based domestically. It recently sold a van to an agriculturalist from Australia who was out tending to his crops when he spotted the vehicle he wanted on the company's site and decided there and then to put his money on the table.

Lewis's was able to respond to this request with speed thanks to UC and begin the arrangements to have the van shipped over to its new owner without delay. Since then it has catered to clients based in such far flung places as Malta and the Dominican Republic.

Contemporary Expectations

The peril of appealing to a widespread, technologically aware customer base is that there will naturally be a degree of pressure on the business to live up to the expectations that such a status places upon it.

Modern consumers are used to a degree of continuity in their purchasing, with mainstream services allowing them to carry out research on one device, add items to a digital shopping basket with another and then finalize the transaction on a third.

It is possible to replicate the same levels of convenience and cohesion at almost any level thanks to UC, which means that even small and medium sized enterprises will be in a good position to prove that their worth when under the scrutiny of potential customers.

The fact that Lewis's focuses entirely on a web-based business without the need for a bricks and mortar showroom means that access to fast, consistent and comprehensively powerful communications services are at the core of its continued survival.

These are the circumstances in which plenty of other companies find themselves, whether by design or as a result of shifts in the market, which makes preparing to handle a new breed of customers very important.

Unified Communications Options

While it is easy to espouse the benefits of unified communications and understand how they can improve the purchasing process for customers, it is also necessary to establish the types of platform that businesses can adopt and amalgamate to achieve the desired results.

UC is a broad market that comprises multiple different facets, which means in many cases it is possible to pick and choose the most appropriate services while leaving the unnecessary ones on the shelf.

At the core of any good UC setup is a fast business broadband connection. Even if you are going to be relying on externally hosted communications platforms based in the cloud, you will need plenty of bandwidth to handle the exchange of data between your local and remote devices and the provider's data centres.

You will then be able to combine one or all of a handful of other platforms into one easy-to-manage solution. This can include real time services like instant messaging and VoIP as well as other options such as email, text messaging and even traditional fax.

For companies that, like Lewis's, will need sales teams to be out and about rather than tethered to a desk, it may be sensible to also think about the type of mobile solutions available.

This needs to incorporate a consideration of both the handset hardware and the type of networking that it can access when the user is away from the office.

There is no single correct route when it comes to UC, instead businesses need to pick a path that they find to be both manageable and affordable. If this leads to a slicker purchasing experience for customers, as it should, then the success of the solution can be measured in the sales it helps to generate after its adoption.

This article is supplied by Jamie Garner who works for Daisy, a leading provider of Unified Communications solutions.

This blog is listed under Telecommunications Community

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