Talk about being pulled in several directions at once! Yet a wholesale company needs to keep the lines taut between resellers, end-customers, and manufacturers, all at the same time. Business partner queries, requests, and orders need to be handled quickly and efficiently.
When call hold time and phone tag start to rise, so does frustration and churn. Fortunately, there’s an answer – unified communications. Better still, this solution can also help boost collaboration and productivity inside the wholesaler, as well as outside to buyers and suppliers.
So Many Devices, So Little Time
A long time ago now, the telephone broke down national and international barriers to communication. Then came mobile phones, smartphones, and tablet PCs with assorted text, voice, video, and data capabilities. The barriers came back too!
The goal of unifying communications technology and services is to remove these new barriers and enable communications, interactions, and transactions between people in real time or asynchronously, at the option of the users.
What Goes into Unified Communications?
Different vendors offer their own subsets of functionality. By combining the right products and modules, a full solution can cover:
- Conventional telephony and VoIP (IP telephony)
- Mobile/Wi-Fi telephony
- Audio, video, and web conferencing
- PC desktop/screen sharing and electronic whiteboard sharing
- Speech recognition and IVR (interactive voice control)
- Unified messaging for email, fax, and voicemail
- Digital directory services
- Calendaring, scheduling, and workflow applications
Example of Supercharged Customer Responses
Here is one way that this unified approach to communications can help boost business results. If a reseller calls the sales department with a question, the person taking the call can simultaneously search an enterprise directory to contact a product specialist or expert. The specialist can be conferenced in or can prompt the salesperson with text or shared desktop information.
The salesperson can also instantly organize a meeting between the reseller and specialist if required, thanks to the real-time information available in the system about the specialist’s agenda.
Presence – The New Secret Sauce
Presence in unified communications refers to the possibility for a user to know both where his or her desired correspondents are and whether they are available to converse and collaborate. The choice of communication channels means employees can then collaborate asynchronously via email, in near real-time via text messages or in full real-time voice or video communications.
As an additional bonus, these capabilities can also facilitate handling of emergency situations should these arise – employees can be localized, contacted, and managed to ensure they are safe and also productive where possible.
Getting It Right
A toolbox of communications technology is only useful when correctly applied. Clear thinking about the goals for the distributorship and any desirable changes in user behavior are also key parts of a successful implementation.
The right solution can be built using appropriate products and services from different suppliers if need be. This allows specific requirements or environments (warehouses or loading bays, for instance) to be handled that might surpass the capabilities of just one vendor.
Where would unified communications be most relevant for your activity as a wholesale company? Share your appraisal of its potential with us in the Comments box below.
And to follow-through on the tips introduced in this short article, be sure to download your free guide, How COOs at Los Angeles Distributors and Manufacturers Get More Done: A Guide to Productivity, Data, Staffing, Delegation, and Making It Home for Dinner Most Nights.