UC Unplugged

The More Things Change...The More They Stay the Same

By TMCnet Special Guest
Mike Sheridan
  |  September 01, 2011

This article originally appeared in the Sept. 2011 issue of INTERNET TELEPHONY

It’s hard to believe that more than three years have passed since I started sharing my thoughts and experiences with you. During this time, unified communications has changed from a poorly understood term to a well understood cost saver for the CIO. And unified communications combined with collaboration provide even greater savings but, perhaps more importantly, productivity improvements for workers across the Internet. 

The next opportunity is to bring these benefits to your customers. Through adoption of unified communications and collaboration and the application of your own personal experiences we can step beyond customer transactions to engaging with customers on their terms.

I recently read an interesting article in the July issue of McKinsey Quarterly that further expands on some of these thoughts. In the article, Virgin Atlantic Airways CEO Steve Ridgway talks about the customer experience and what it means to him and his organization. He discusses that while the right tools to create this experience are very important, that isn’t going to be enough.

He states: “The real key is people and developing the chemistry and the attitudes, in our staff, that create the right experience for customers. We’re constantly pushing this in our professional training because without the human element, all the rest counts for nothing. There’s massive complexity in doing this well because it extends from a customer’s first phone call to saying, ‘Goodbye. Come back soon.’ When we get both things right – connecting the tools and the people – then our staff can really engage customers with attitude and spirit.”

So it’s only natural that over time we see great lessons learned. Sometimes I think we get so caught up in the technologies that we miss the big picture – we miss what’s really important. And this is something that must be recognized to be successful. We must realize that there is no single right path to take. It comes down to how observant you are, how willing you are, and how tenacious you are. That is going to get you where you’re going and more importantly, where your customers want to go. 

Mike Sheridan is  executive vice president of worldwide sales with Aspect (News - Alert) (www.aspect.com).

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Edited by Stefania Viscusi