Blog: news and views from the Zingers

Covid-19 was a wake-up call for business communications

When lockdown started 12 weeks ago, we knew we’d have to make some dramatic changes to the operations of the business, but I don’t think any of us were prepared for how far these would have to go.

At Zing – like many businesses – we swiftly moved to working from home and I’m pleased to say we were able to adapt without it adversely impacting the team or business continuity. But it’s relatively easy when you’re a start-up with a small, amazing team of developers, business development execs and support crew.

For most companies – especially those with customer-facing operations – it hasn’t been so easy.

There are dozens of aspects to this, but in our world of customer communications we saw that many firms, especially small and medium-sized businesses, needed to implement some sticking plaster solutions very quickly.

“Where do the calls go?”

It has become clear that many companies don’t even have basic telephony systems like call forwarding set up properly. I’ve heard of a few cases of people having to still go into the office during lockdown to listen to voicemail messages.

Many companies work in silos and this is reflected in the telephone systems, so there’s a separate number for finance, one for marketing, one for sales and so on.

Clearly this has created a real headache and point of stress, not just for customers who might not be able to get hold of the people they need, but staff too, who end up feeling even more isolated.

And, as we begin to move back into the workplace with lockdown restrictions being eased, it doesn’t mean to say we can go back to the way things were.

With social distancing rules, the need to be flexible in case we have a second wave and respecting the fact that many employees might not even want to return yet, every company needs to think about joined-up communications.

Ideally, this means a thorough review of customer communications and bringing all touchpoints and conversations together in a unified strategy. There’s absolutely no doubt that this is what every business needs to work towards, not just integrating communications, but back-office systems like CRM, finance and logistics.

At Zing we’re ready to help companies who are at that point. But we all realists too. Which is why today we’ve launched Zing Respond, a simple, fast way of running an interactive voice response (IVR) system to route calls more efficiently.

Introducing Zing Respond

Built on Twilio’s cloud communication platform, Zing Respond allows businesses to implement a tailored IVR flow – ensuring all calls reach the most relevant person.

Respond is also integrated with several CRM systems – starting initially with Prospect CRM – to enable functionality such as call ID and automatic contact pop-ups.

Twilio and Zing’s services are all cloud-based, so people can access them to make and receive call from the office, home, or wherever they are working.

What Covid-19 is teaching everyone about agility

Zing Respond is just one of many things we’ve created in lockdown. And while energy and inquisitiveness are two of our core values, I think it’s fair to say that Covid-19 has been a strong reminder why we all need to think about what we can do quickly, with the resources at our disposal.

For a number of years, the concept of agile development has been in vogue; but it’s not just about coding, but how we respond to things that happen in the moment and come up with new solutions.

This is a way of working we’ll continue to embrace at Zing.

I’m interested in what other people have created, particularly around addressing new challenges or solving old ones in a different way. Let me know in the comments below.

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