The rush to digitise can damage customer experience

With Apple set to launch its newest iOS 16 updates this raises the question; are companies rushing to implement new technologies too quickly, and leaving less tech-savvy employees behind? 

By scrambling to migrate to cloud technologies and constantly digitise, companies risk alienating their less tech-savvy employees who are not comfortable with new and perceived complicated technologies, such as apps, video calling technologies, and online booking systems. This can create a digital divide within companies, between those who can effectively use new technologies and those who cannot, resulting in an uneven employee skillset and competency level. Companies must take care not to digitise and adopt new technologies for the sake of it, especially since those less tech-savvy employees will still be in the workplace for some time to come, and importantly have much experience to offer.

But for more customer-focused tasks some employees prefer to use their desk and mobile phones in order to ensure a seamless experience for the customer, rather than use an app that they may not be comfortable using. Of course, innovation is the future, but this must be managed carefully depending on the situation.

The digital divide

Avoiding an internal digital divide, between the less tech-savvy employees and those who are completely confident with new devices and software, is essential to businesses today. Industries today are currently suffering from the ‘Great resignation’ seeing employees quickly move to other sectors and job roles for a better working experience.

With this in mind, companies must ensure they are not creating a digital divide by rushing to digitise too quickly. Whilst Gen Z and millennial employees might be able to adapt to new devices and software quickly, this does not mean the entire workforce can. As a result, companies risk alienating certain members of their team, simply because they are not comfortable and struggling to cope with new technologies.

The generational differences highlighted within a digital divide risk damaging customer experience. The current ‘newer is better’ philosophy can leave less tech-savvy employees struggling to cope and manage new devices. With half of the workforce unable to cope and adapt to the latest software, this results in a disjointed and inconsistent customer experience, leaving unsatisfied customers with unresolved queries and issues.

Traditional tech still has a role to play: 65% of customers want to contact companies via phones

The digital divide is a by-product of companies rushing to digitise and implement new technologies too fast. Arguably, the rush to digitise is completely unnecessary. Whilst many business leaders and CTOs argue that having the latest technologies makes a company more attractive to new employees, it cannot come at the cost of employee experience.

While traditional technologies still have a vital role to play, they do still need to evolve with the modern-day office. Many office managers have swapped their desk phones for online meeting systems, but many employees prefer to still use their office phone to conduct regular business. Additionally, 65% of customers state they prefer to contact a company via the phone, so it is evident that the desk phone is still vital for business operations. The desk phone is still essential to business operations with newer handsets able to act as personal assistants, control call queues and incoming calls and offer seamless call centre functionality, whilst still retaining their core function as a phone. For some companies, the office phone is central to customer service and business operations. Significantly, the proportion of workers over 50 has increased by 35% in the last 20 years, and it’s a relatively safe assumption that people of this age group are, generally speaking, less tech savvy than their Gen Z and millennial colleagues.

Despite newer technologies being seen to be more attractive to new employees, traditional technologies can work equally as efficiently, For instance, unified communication technologies enable employees to use their preferred endpoint and tool, while remaining efficient. When digitising and innovating new technologies within a company it is increasingly important to note consumer demands and preferences.

So, whilst many companies are rushing to digitise, in order for businesses to reap the benefits of digitisation, the new technologies must fit within their business model and all employees need to be comfortable with using the latest apps and software.

Innovate at your own pace

Companies must be wary of falling into the trap of innovating for innovation’s sake. But as they continue to evolve, businesses must ensure they are delivering a unified and efficient customer and employee experience. The key to achieving this is by implementing a single platform for all unified communications technologies. This will ensure that all communication platforms and tools work seamlessly together, instantly.

Whilst a transition to new cloud technologies and technology innovation is the future, companies must take caution that this doesn’t negatively impact experiences. Ultimately, if some staff members are unable to use new technologies and complicated comms systems feel forced to do so, then it’s likely they can’t do their jobs to the best of their ability. The result; an inconsistent and poor customer experience is delivered.

Companies must prioritise both customer and employee experience equally when modernising business operations, and can still innovate and adapt to new technologies without overhauling their entire tech systems. Implementing the right UC strategy enables companies to deliver seamless customer and employee experience, but also allows them to digitise at their own pace, without having to regularly retrain and upskill less tech savvy staff.

About the Author

Simon Horton is VP of International Sales at Sangoma. Sangoma is a leading global Communications as a Service (CaaS) provider that empowers businesses of all sizes to connect to the people and processes that matter. Since its inception, Sangoma has been recognized as a trusted leader in the communications industry and continues to offer a stable, global presence, future-forward vision, and diverse portfolio of solutions, services, and support.

Featured image: ©Gorodenkoff