These days, UC&C (unified communications and collaboration) tools are some of the most important solutions for any business. The right UC&C service simplifies the connections between team members, strengthening internal interactions and paving the way for stronger customer experiences. However, when talking about the value of today’s digital tools, people often focus on features like video conferencing, instant messaging, and reporting.
One of the most valuable features of a UC&C solution today is often overlooked: the power of presence. Presence features in collaboration tools and UC platforms help individuals and business leaders to keep track of who is available in the workforce at any given time.
So, what can presence features really do for your team?
What is Presence Technology?
Presence technology is a simple application in your UC&C environment that recognises when a specific IP address, user profile, or device is active on a network. It’s the same technology that lets you see when someone’s online when you log into Microsoft Teams, or allows you to set your status to ‘busy’ on Slack.
As the world grows increasingly digital, the demand for presence features is accelerating. Now that around 3.9 million US employees and 1.7 million UK staff members are working from home, it’s not so easy for business leaders and supervisors to simply walk into an office and see who’s available.
Presence in the digital world supplements the lack of physical presence in the office today, creating the team unity that leads to better business outcomes, boosting employee productivity, and helping to strengthen bonds between members of staff.
Unified Communications takes the concept of presence and integrates it into a suite of tools for better connectivity. The result is a more collaborative and transparent environment, complete with automatic status monitoring that allows users to see when their colleagues are available. You can even use the presence features on UC systems to create dynamic call routing rules based on status data.
The Immediate Benefits of Presence Features
The most obvious benefit of presence features in UC&C is the ability to get more context and information on which team members are available at any moment. If you know which of your colleagues is available to answer a call, directing customer conversations becomes a lot easier. Of course, there are other advantages too, such as:
1. Quicker Collaboration
82% of consumers expect an almost immediate response from teams today. When staff members need help addressing a complex problem, they don’t have time to reach out to multiple people and see who might answer. Presence features allow for a quicker collaborative experience by showing team members who are online instantly. There’s no risk of a call going to voicemail, you can just pick the person you know is available.
Presence features can also assist in building a more friendly and collaborative environment among team members. It’s not always easy to build watercooler-style bonds with team members in an environment where employees are often working remotely. Without access to presence information, you could send a message to an agent that’s busy and unable to respond – creating distractions and causing frustration. With presence features, you know when someone is available to talk, so reaching out feels more comfortable. Conversations can happen naturally and in real-time, creating a greater sense of team unity.
2. Enhanced Resource Management
With presence features, team leaders have the potential to easily distribute tasks to the employee that is most qualified, and available. Supervisors can sort through the staff members that are online using presence status, then narrow down the options for who to connect with by looking at their skillsets. If an agent is in ‘busy’ or ‘do not disturb’ mode, leaders can also delegate tasks away from them until they’re back at their desk.
Automated solutions can even use presence rules as triggers to determine where they should send specific calls. If an employee who has their presence set to ‘online’ doesn’t pick up a call immediately, they could get a notification asking them about their presence, while the call is directed to the next available agent.
3. Greater Management of Remote Teams
As mentioned above, the demand for remote and flexible working opportunities is higher today than it has ever been. Unfortunately, it can be difficult to manage these distributed employees in the same way as in-office teams. Fortunately, with presence information, business and team leaders can easily see their workforce’s status at a glance. Within seconds, you can see whether an employee is available or away. If you notice that someone’s away and they shouldn’t be, you can send a message to find out where they are.
With access to in-depth analytics solutions, business leaders can also use presence status to evaluate team productivity. You can find out how much time each employee is spending online, compared to the amount of time they spend ‘busy’ or ‘away’. This makes it easier for supervisors to determine when certain employees may need an extra push to deliver their best work.
4. Improved productivity
There are plenty of ways for team members to collaborate and communicate these days. Alongside phone calls, we have video conferences, instant messaging, social media, SMS, and countless other tools. Unfortunately, this also means that there’s a lot of opportunity for distraction in the workplace. There are few things worse than being deep in thought, working on a project, only to have a colleague phone you and scatter your focus.
Presence indication can remove that issue. If you’re working on something which requires deep concentration and you can’t afford to be distracted, you can set a ‘do not disturb’ status to hold off notifications. Some UC solutions will even use the ‘do not disturb’ status as a trigger to prevent incoming calls during the time when an employee is busy.
5. Better customer experience
Presence features don’t just make life easier for employees and the people who manage them. When back end and internal communication is more streamlined, the experience that customers can expect improves too. Companies don’t have to worry about consumers sitting in call queues or being moved from one unavailable agent to the next.
When a team member has their status set to ‘not available’ or ‘do not disturb’, the call routing system can ignore those individuals and move the call to someone else instead. This means that customers get answers to their questions faster, and the entire business operates more effectively. When one of the biggest pain points for most customers is the amount of time they spend on hold, presence could mean the difference between a satisfied or unhappy client.
Using Presence to Improve Internal Processes
Today’s advanced presence features give businesses endless opportunities to improve productivity and team performance. Not only do team members get more information about whether their colleagues are available or not, but business leaders can better understand the productivity levels of their teams too.
Some advanced presence features even allow team members to set specific ‘away’ statuses that can provide people with more information, such as ‘call mobile’, or ‘on vacation’. This reduces the risk of staff simply waiting around for someone to change their ‘busy’ status.
When used correctly, presence features help to streamline the way that employees work, removing the risk of missed opportunities and frustrated customers. What’s more, when presence combines with call monitoring and analytics features, it opens the door to new opportunities for business growth. Business leaders can remotely monitor the presence of users, view historical call lists, and even use dashboard views to determine if employees are spending too much time in ‘busy’ mode.
Presence Features Make a Positive Impact
So, how do we know for certain that presence features will have a positive impact on the workforce, customer experience, and business outcomes? Some experts have shared their concerns in the past that being aware of their presence status places additional pressure on employees. They may feel as though they’re under constant watch whenever they need to set their status to busy.
However, while working with new tools like presence features can be daunting at first, studies show that these tools have a positive impact on efficiency and productivity. In one report, around 47% of employees said they saw a productivity boost when setting their status with Unified Communication and Collaboration tools.
In an age where physical presence and in-person interactions aren’t always possible, presence technology could be the key to creating a greater sense of team unity and contentment in the business environment.
Find Out More About Akixi Presence
If you are interested in finding out more about Akixi’s dynamic extension monitoring solutions and how Akixi Presence can improve employee productivity, contact the team today and we will be happy to answer any questions you have. Alternatively, request a demo from one of our friendly team and see Akixi Presence in action.