How to Deliver an Exceptional UCC Experience

No doubt about it, the workplace -- as well as our workplace devices and communications tools -- has changed dramatically over the last few years.

A decade or so ago, business users were forced to work with whatever their employers gave them. An office PC was usually a given, but sometimes -- if you were one of the lucky ones -- you were also granted a work mobile phone so you could make calls, send texts, and do business on the go.

Today, however, we live in an age in which people want to choose their own devices and applications and personalize their work-related communications experiences. Workers have come to rely on the plethora of communications tools available to them in their personal lives, from Facebook Messenger to WhatsApp, and they want to bring their preferred consumer tools and the high-level user experiences to which they're accustomed into the workplace.

As your organization looks to deploy a unified communications and collaboration (UCC) solution, you must keep in mind that -- alongside taking steps to ensure security and compliance -- delivering an exceptional experience is key for achieving user satisfaction. Giving your workers the same high-level user experience that they get when they use a consumer application or platform can help to keep them engaged while they're on the job. This in turn can help to drive business goals and revenue.

In short, your organization must choose UCC solutions with the needs and demands of the end user in mind -- how they do their jobs, where they do their jobs, what tools they use for what tasks, and what they're trying to achieve.

So, what UX features should organizations look for in a UCC solution? When it comes to UCC, every business is different, and one size certainly does not fit all. However, there are a few things that all organizations should keep in mind:

  • Simplicity is key -- Everyone is after a seamless experience. One way in which UCC can help organizations achieve this is via a single user interface. In the past, several "collaboration" solutions involved disparate products that didn't unite screen sharing, messaging, voice, and other communications services. However, true collaboration can only be realized when all of these technologies are brought together in a single, accessible, user-friendly place. To illustrate, rather than having multiple communications infrastructure vendors with various clients, everything should be integrated into one common application that works seamlessly across all of your mobile and fixed devices.
  • Take it one step further --And why stop there? You can make life even easier for your workforce by adopting solutions that support threaded communication. This approach gives the history of all communications quickly and easily in one single, easy-to-read thread, tying everything together neatly for users so that they can collaborate across different interfaces and platforms without any hassle.
  • The power of choice -- Having a single interface doesn't mean that your workforce will have limited choice. When it comes to user experience, the more options that a solution grants your workers, the more empowered they feel. A UCC solution should be able to cope with end-user preferences for different device types, platforms, and operating systems. Your employees shouldn't be forced to give up their favorite communication tools. Instead, find a solution that supports and enhances them.
  • Going beyond -- Leveraging user metrics will help drive better decisions to further support the user experience. Workers will want to jump between multiple devices -- whether phone, desktop or tablet -- over the course of the workday, and your UCC solution should be able to support this behavior effortlessly. In addition, workers will inevitably move to and from cellular networks to multiple Wi-Fi spots while out on the move. It's critical that the solution doesn't drop calls or negatively impact other aspects of its performance when switching between different forms of coverage.

So, once you find the right solution for your organization, what's next? How do you ensure the solution delivers on expectations?

  • Don't get off on the wrong foot -- A coordinated, process-driven approach to the new UCC implementation is the key to delivering a positive and fulfilling experience. You could develop workforce profiles based on user roles and perform a needs analysis to ensure everyone gets what they need from the solution. Then, conduct an assessment of your existing network infrastructure and legacy systems to get an idea of what's required to get everything up and running correctly. This information will help you develop an efficient, effective strategy for design, testing, and rollout.
  • Be committed -- Once upon a time, a UC deployment would involve all matter of pre-configuration, equipment inventories, physical connectivity, phone installation, and verifications. Today, if you've opted for a solution with a good level of interoperability, things are a lot more straightforward. However, careful planning is still required to ensure seamless migration. After the implementation is complete, don't stop there; ongoing monitoring and management to ensure reliability and quality is critical to the ongoing user experience for workers.
  • Get users excited -- Training plays a crucial role in accelerating adoption and ROI. If you're going to tempt employees out of ungoverned shadow apps, you need to educate users about the value of the solution, how it can help them do their jobs, and what organizational goals can be achieved. Different user groups will likely require different types of training to get them up to speed on system functionality and how it's related to specific tasks and different communications about the value proposition of the solution for their particular organizational roles.

Improved productivity is required to prove ROI. User adoption is required to improve productivity. An exceptional user experience is required to ensure high user adoption. This is how the bottom line benefits of UCC are ultimately achieved.

Who knows what the workplace will look like in 10, even 20, years? It's an ever-evolving machine. But one thing's for sure -- communication and collaboration will always be an essential part of doing business. And nowadays, a new generation of digitally-savvy employees expect more from their employers than ever before and -- even better -- they're not afraid to ask for it. Business leaders urgently need to listen to and try to accommodate their demands if they're going to leverage user experience to drive productivity and keep employees engaged.