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Businesses today are faced with a seemingly endless number of options for digital tools designed to achieve business goals, improve the digital workplace and enhance the relationship between businesses and their customers. When deciding which tools to use, it’s important for business owners to understand how the specific tool will ultimately impact daily processes, workflows, and ultimately business outcomes.

Digital Workplace And Customers

Tools should be designed to enable workers to achieve their own goals as well as those of the wider enterprise in an efficient manner. The decision to use a certain tool shouldn’t be made in a silo as the best tools bring various areas of the company together while enhancing interdepartmental work. The objective of many tools introduced into the digital workplace is to alleviate mundane tasks so as workers can focus on business enhancing tasks.

The role of digital technology today, according to Cameron Smith, senior global director of product management for workforce engagement at Daly City, Calif.-based Genesys is about improvement, making something easier, and ideally something that improves efficiency. In talking with organizations at all levels from C-Level to localized team mangers he found they are all interested in freeing up time from ordinary, time-consuming tasks that could be automated.: “Our discussions with clients take the route of the optimization of the mundane to free up the ability to have more face-to-face time across the board,” he said. 

A good example of this is where you have customer experience employees forced to complete repetitive workflow. While you may not be able to remove the full workflow, they can be optimized. Not only is this an efficient use of assistive technology, it also enables the face of your brand to focus on the most important element — that human-to-human conversation. Assistive tools reduce some of the most disliked customer experiences, like being placed on hold, or having help desk agents fumble through a workflow due to lack of knowledge, poor process, or simply bad design — and contribute greatly to improving the overall experience. 

“The power of the human conversation goes a very long way. While some employees may prefer a digital medium for items like performance reviews, a core element of the review is personalized feedback, that raw human conversation which if performed digitally can be watered down or seem incomplete and not reflective of the true thought,” he said. 

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Digital Technology, Sales And CRM

The use of digital capabilities continues to play a role in augmenting the information already known and giving greater insights across all conversations. It will never replace the conversation but that blend of digital assistant technology and the human conversation is where the benefit really pays off for organizations across a variety of use cases. 

Byron Matthews is CEO of the Littleton, Colo.based-Miller Heiman Group . He points out that one of the most commonly used pieces of technology in customer facing enterprises is a customer relationship management system (CRM). Almost every sales operation has access to a CRM and most are integrated to some degree with the digital workplace. However, the universal implementation of CRM systems into sales organizations and the wider digital enterprise does not directly translate into the universal adoption that has been shown to be the driver of real growth.  Less than half — 45 percent — of sales organizations have a CRM adoption rate over 90 percent, and almost a third — 32 percent — have an adoption rate lower than 75 percent, according to Matthews

“We’ve seen an explosion of sales and marketing technologies surrounding CRM systems. And although these additional solutions can be used to make salespeople more productive, they fail to address the central problem of CRM technology,” he added. “Sales technology on its own does not help sellers close more deals. In fact, most sales reps view tools like CRMs as a distraction and an administrative burden.”

According to the company’s 2018 Sales Operations Optimization Study, only 25.3 percent of survey participants fully agree that a CRM enhances the productivity of salespeople. For sales technology to be embraced, it must be backed by proven sales methodology that guides the actions of sellers on the ground and helps improve win rates. 

Selling To Digital Natives

The use of this technology works like a loop. Buyers are getting better at buying faster than sellers are getting better at selling. This behavior is driven by technology and the increasing availability of information. As a result, we’re seeing buyers that are hardwired to turn to technology before humans to solve problems. The future of sales relies on the sellers’ ability to adapt to these digitally-native buyers, Matthews added. In order to successfully sell to the new generation of buyers, current and future sellers will need real-time insights into deals and methodology to get ahead of opportunities and change outcomes before it’s too late to make a difference.

Historically, organizations have focused on getting data into the CRM. The digital workplace is about making data accessible. By providing insights and intelligence through predictive analytics in the digital workplace, CRM becomes more sophisticated and useful. When used properly, sales managers can take this data to, coach reps on selling strategy; identify deals that need their attention; and drive methodology adoption on their teams. 

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Digital Workplace And Customer Contact

Anand Janefalkar, founder and CEO of San Francisco-based UJET cites the example of modern cloud contact centers. He said that one of the biggest issues potential clients face (i.e. call centers/customer support centers) is that support is not considered a part of the core product or service.

Successful companies, however, that treat customer service as an integral part of the brand experience and support it with a digital workplace are the companies that succeed. “That's why it's  surprising that most customer service organizations are still not equipped with the most advanced means of communication, causing frustration on both sides,” he said.

When customer service representatives are equipped with advanced technology that enables a more personalized experience that also delivers faster issue resolution, both customer service agents and end customers win. Moreover, a technology that enables the strategic use of live agents for support issues that are more complex and faster resolution times delivers the best economics per conversation for the business as well.”

Companies today have so much data on customers and prospects, but often that data can't be used easily to personalize communications, Patrick Kehoe of Toronto-based Messagepoint said. Evidence from the workplace shows that it can take a couple weeks or longer sometimes to make a simple change to a document, that IT must get involved. That is not a satisfying digital experience even though the technologies exist to make those experiences better. “Leaders must understand these dynamics, realize the different systems that are in place, many of which are still legacy systems. Legal has its needs. Marketing has its needs. Compliance has its needs. Customer Service has its needs. But leaders must understand how to integrate all these systems,” he said. Without this integration the interface between digital workplace, workforce and customer experience technologies will never happen.