The Future of Chat with Business Unified Communications

Jim Machi Photo
Chief Product & Marketing, Sangoma

One of the core elements of Unified Communications is chat. Think about communication in a corporate environment. You probably have a business chat tool, such as Google Hangouts, HipChat, Slack, Skype, or something else, to chat with other employees. Or, you might use WeChat, WhatsApp, Facebook, or some other social media tool to chat with friends and your professional network. Now, what are the implications of this concept of a business chat where one end is a business while the other is a customer/consumer?

Business Chat

It means your contact center needs to handle this non-voice, non-email, non-SMS type of interaction.  This is obviously important because you want to encourage interaction through any medium between customers and your business. But where is this ultimately leading your business?  

Well, a clue can be found with WeChat, which has 90% of its users in China. WeChat enables payments, business card exchange, and news synopses (such as email digests). And WhatsApp is getting ready to expand payment handling to India.

Wow, interesting. From a business perspective, you probably send emails to customers in your database (assuming they have opted in) alerting them to deals and other information they might be interested in.   But most companies don’t do this via business chat.

And payments via business chat? Also interesting and different. This can expand out to include shopping, tracking, returns, and more. Typically, what you’d do with the extra steps of either making a phone call or logging into a website, right?  

To do this via business chat, you might need a custom app that can handle all this, but it could be in a chat format, not the “make a call” or “go to the website” format that we’re all used to now. And, as I’ve talked about in prior blogs, who you are “interacting” with may not be a real person. It could be a chatbot.

Now, when I say “chat,” I’m also including texting. And texting in this context could mean good ‘ole SMS, but it could also mean over-the-top texting, which would take the form of a chat. So I’m purposely using chat in a broad context here.

My point is that there are certainly a number of indications that the utilization of business chat will impact your contact center in the near future. Make sure your business is prepared by finding the right solutions now while you have time to work them into your timeframes and budget.

A good place to start in preparing your contact center for the future of this trend is a fully-featured Unified Communications platform. Click here to find out more about how Switchvox can keep your call center ahead of the curve!

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About the Author

Jim Machi - Senior VP of Product Management and Marketing for Sangoma
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