Author: Mac McCarver – Content Marketing Specialist
Ever tried to open a door with a vertical handle by pulling it, only to find it’s a “push door”? Or a door with an obvious “push” handle that inexplicably requires you to pull? It’s frustrating, and it wastes a few seconds of your day. Multiplied over the thousands who will use the poorly designed door, and, suddenly, what’s a few seconds for one person, is hours or days for a group of people collectively. That’s bad design. And those doors, while being bad examples of doors, are good examples of why user experience is so important.
What is User Experience?
User experience encompasses every facet of interaction between a user and an object, tool, or product. The Nielsen Norman Group, a user experience research organization, defines an extraordinary user experience as one that meets all the needs of a user, simply and with the elegant coordination of multiple disciplines, including marketing, design, and engineering.
In the door example, the door should be designed in a way that it’s readily apparent how to open it. It should be engineered to work smoothly every time, and it should bear appropriate messaging, whether that be a bathroom sign or business hours.
That idea extends to everything your employees interact with. And your business phone system must not be overlooked. A well-designed system should proactively manage user needs and expectations. It should work simply but have the functionality to elegantly handle more involved tasks, like software integrations and browser plug-ins. User experience involves much more than a user interface, but the ideal phone system should have an interface that users understand and enjoy using.
But why is User Experience Important?
User experience is vital because it creates and reinforces an employee’s perception of their job and the company for which they work, leaving them either satisfied, unhappy, or some middle ground of meh.
After all, Gallup found that of twelve factors they surveyed for in the workforce, whether or not “a person [has] the materials and equipment to do their work well is the strongest indicator of job stress.” (This was coupled with their finding that only 12% of employees leave because they were unsatisfied with their pay.)
In this respect, user experience is as vital to your business as training, good management, and compensatory benefits in building a solid company culture. Fostering a better user experience is in the best interest of any business. Improving user experience increases productivity, decreases turnover, and saves money. That’s because tools designed for a better user experience are more efficient and more enjoyable to use. This reduces the time necessary to finish work and ensures the work is performed with less frustration, increasing employee satisfaction.
How UC Improves User Experience
A business phone system designed for a superior user experience eliminates unnecessary work and frustration for employees in handling business communications. Making both internal and external communication more efficient and satisfying helps build a culture of collaboration, enhancing customer service and unlocking innovative new ideas.
As one of the most often used business tools, it’s vital to ensure that your phone system offers users the most intuitive, satisfying user experience technologically possible. There’s only one option currently available that meets that criteria: a Unified Communications (UC) system.
Here are some ways a UC business phone system can optimize the user experience your employees are having.
Many phone systems either don’t have graphical interfaces to perform everyday tasks or the ones that do require special training to use. UC phone systems, like Switchvox, have intuitive web-based interfaces. This allows users to access and control their communications easily from a consistent interface that most users can understand without training. This means employees are comfortable and proficient using the phone, taking advantage of such features as click-to-call, status/presence information, and internal messaging, from a single display. This, in turn, allows them to better satisfy customers over a variety of communication mediums.
Another area where UC systems shine compared to other phone systems in elevating user experience is in third-party integrations. Because UC systems are IP-based, they are uniquely equipped to work with and support other business tools. This means that the day-to-day phone system user experience is much less mundane as routine tasks are automated. Tasks like logging contacts into a customer relationship management database are performed by the system automatically, and vital details of that information can be displayed on caller ID when a contact calls back.
Smart Call Rules
Unlike other types of phone systems, a Unified Communications platform can elevate user experience with data-informed queueing and call distribution. UC systems can gather information on the nature of incoming calls using IVR tools. This information coupled with other available data enables UC to configure call queues and ring groups around a number of factors. Some phone systems have the ability to either evenly distribute calls or ring extensions in a certain order. But call distribution on UC systems can be customized endlessly. For example, the system can analyze which agents are available and distribute based on agent specialty or experience, or send a salesperson’s customers automatically to their extension (then on to voicemail or a secondary extension). UC makes the experience of inbound calls seamless and easy.
Monitoring analytics is one task managers rarely consider a joy, but UC can make even this less tedious. UC platforms gather a wealth of information from system use and make it readily accessible. For example, call times, hold times, abandoned/redirected calls, whether a call was transferred, and so much more can be displayed on custom reports. This allows supervisors to identify any bottlenecks or pain points in their team’s work and monitor employee performance. By monitoring what is and is not working, these processes can be optimized to ensure a superior user experience and improved performance. Then, to assist in training and supervision, UC systems are able to record calls, by default or on-demand. UC platforms even allow managers to listen in on calls and “whisper” advice without being heard by the caller. If all else fails, the manager has the emergency option of “barging” in, forcing a three-way call to help satisfy a customer. This ability to effortlessly monitor and assist helps elevate the experience and foster a better work environment.
Elevate User Experience with UC
Your business phone system is an excellent place to optimize your users’ experience. It’s a system that your employees likely use every day and a major tool for customers to contact your business. A poorly designed phone system can frustrate employees and potentially affect how they feel about their jobs, leading to a less engaged team and higher turnover.
Improved user experience is only one advantage to investing in a UC platform. That’s why we’ve put together a new guide to the many benefits of Unified Communications. If you take the time to count, you’ll find that we’ve identified 128 unique ways UC can improve your business! Click here to download your copy of How Unified Communications Improves Businesses!