Amid uncertainty, there’s one certainty; business is more global than it has ever been, and trading with partners, customers and suppliers across the world is set to characterise business in the future. Connectivity lies at the heart of collaboration and is central to knowledge, idea and information sharing which are essential for businesses to become more productive and efficient as they make their digital transformation journeys. There’s no room for isolation in the digital economy. Even on a local level, we need to think about how we maintain communication with peers and colleagues, given that events – from extreme weather conditions to the unpredictable nature of public transport system – conspire to delay us from doing our best work, putting us at a disadvantage to our connected colleagues.
Thankfully, technology opens up new opportunities for staff, suppliers and customers. The latest developments in video conferencing ensures that businesses feel connected, wherever they are even if they have satellite offices located in different cities or countries. Creating this important sense of ‘community’ can be achieved by technology, irrespective of the political or economic landscape.
This is the age of video conferencing
This connected community is even more imperative with remote and flexible working on the rise. In the modern work environment, it is very likely that the people you need to work with will be at home, working outside ‘normal’ hours, travelling, or just stuck on their commute. It’s highly probable then that your core team will never actually meet physically in their entirety. In those situations, video facilitates not just the important act of communicating, but communicating in a way that helps us to build better relationships at work with key stakeholders, wherever they are.
More than 80 per cent of business professionals believe face-to-face meetings are better for building trust and strong client relationships, according to a survey by Forbes. What’s more, every touch point with another person at work contributes to your professional brand. Therefore, when you can’t physically meet, it makes sense to use video to help you build trust and make a much more memorable impression. Consider too that when you have video on, an immediate advantage is that people will see you as a ‘real’ person and not just a voice from a conference call. At a time when a personal brand is an important professional credential, outside of one on one physical meetings, those that want to convey their personal brand, can do this very effectively using video.
If someone can’t make it in person, then convenience is key to using video conferencing to join in virtually. There’s no need to sign up to video conferencing services, when, instead, one link in a calendar invite or an email makes it easy to virtually join a meeting with just a few clicks from a phone (mobile or landline), a tablet, laptop, or conference room.
Getting closer to customers with technology
Building professional relationships isn’t the only reason to embrace video. At a time when customer experiences - good or bad – power across the internet and social media platforms at a speed in excess of brands’ ability to respond to them, the customer experience and customer churn has taken on even more significance within all organisations.
From our experience though, video conferencing can help companies to not just connect well internally, but to build better, more meaningful relationships with their customers, by having a more motivated and engaged workforce.
Directly connected to customer satisfaction, is how good employees feel at work. It’s imperative therefore to make sure you do everything you can to connect on an emotional level to build productive and lasting professional relationships. The knock on effects internally have the capacity to bolster and – critically – motivate your entire team. As ever, this initiative needs to be driven from the top. When the C-Level or other members of the leadership team use video to communicate and have two-way conversations with as many employees as they can, employees are more likely to believe that they are part of a broader team in a business with clear goals and a clear path as to achievement. The knock-on benefits further motivate staff who, generally, will provide a better and happier service to their customers; at a time when many companies are committed to their digital transformation path, engaging positively with customers is even more imperative.
Dealing with the changing economic environment
There’s no doubt that the UK economy is still in recovery mode from the 2008 downturn, and there is more uncertainty ahead. Many companies are responding to the current dynamic by moving toward agile workplaces to cut operational costs, thus moving their staff to smaller, more cost-effective premises while encouraging hot-desking and remote working. As such, how we define the workspace is changing and today it’s not unusual to see work conducted in environments as wide ranging as huddle spaces to coffee shops; what matters is that the work gets done, rather than where it gets done.
To accommodate these changes, many companies are increasingly deploying video communications, with a view to introducing it to every single meeting room, desk and employee. This isn’t just in response to what’s happening right now, but it’s also in anticipation of future trends, one of which is the rise of millennials in the workplace. Immersed in tech from day one and tech-savvy, their willingness to embrace technology eclipses that of previous generations who took a perhaps more guarded view of change. Video applications and video-calling technology is second nature to millennials and they expect it to be part of any modern office. This demand runs in parallel with Bring Your Own Device finding favour with all generations, so there is also an obvious shift towards mobile devices, which provide a perfect platform to conduct video calls from anywhere and participate in meetings as remote video participants.
All businesses are facing uncertain political and economic times. But success through trying times lies in unity, a scenario that can be embraced and achieved through technology that keeps everyone engaged, connected and collaborating, wherever they are.
Daniel Creigh, Head of UK & Ireland, Zoom Video Communications
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