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23 Mar 2017

How to slash travel costs by 80% and serve customers better

Lauren Timmer-Somer Head of Communication Technology Services and Head of Marketing and Brand Communications
Communication Services

You simultaneously improve employee work-life balance

Communications, between employees, partners, and customers, are so vital to successfully running organisations that they should be as efficient as possible. So why do some companies persist with slowing down communications, interrupting the delivery of service either between employees, businesses, or to customers, by making employees spend hours and thousands of rands travelling from one site to another?

The truth is that sometimes you need people to be onsite, in person, communicating directly for a variety of reasons. It can send the message that a particular customer is important, a chief consideration for key accounts and high value customers. Or it may empower people to communicate using a lot of body language, which may be important to high-level discussions to win a customer in the first instance.

But for many other communications needs people don’t need to be there in person. Marketing managers setting up events in foreign countries, for example, may need to travel only once to verify venues but only after they’ve narrowed down the options through other means of communication and collaboration. Those other means include voice, video, document sharing and document editing and manipulation in collaboration between sites. Engineers helping customers rectify issues can often do so using video and sharing and working simultaneously on or editing certain documents, such as schematics and plans. Salespeople can collaborate remotely on proposals and presentations or hold update meetings and training.

The important consideration in this is that people are not limited to video and not constrained to specially outfitted rooms. That archaic method of video conferencing, which modern interconnectivity leaves in its dust, no longer cuts the mustard.

The truth is that most organisations realise they need to change and some are even investing in the possibilities. However, there are still many that question why they need to change their IT when what they have is working. Why fix what isn’t broken? Others fear change. They fear making the wrong choices to become mired in a direction of continuous spend that proves to be wasteful and show little return on investment (ROI). And some just don’t have budgets.

Reality is that any company spending money on travel for employees can save up to 80% of those travel costs by interconnecting their employees using any or all of a variety of methods. It allows their people to be more flexible in the way they work and in the way they bring your organisation’s service to customers – helping them to more closely meet the needs of those customers.

At their fingertips are a range of video apps to cloud-based videoconferencing services on any type of device from a smartphone to a laptop, desktop, tablet, projector (even interactive projectors), electronic interactive whiteboards, TVs and more. And any combination of these devices can be used simultaneously by a group of people from anywhere in the world. Specialised compression technologies help the video and sound come through clearly and usefully even on lower bandwidth connections.

The same devices are also used to not only share, but also collaborate on business documents. That means people sitting in different parts of the world can pull documents up on their screens and edit them, together.

It’s easy to see how the flexibility, speed, and ease of use of this type of solution, which combines several capabilities, can have such a dramatic effect on the majority of business communications that may have traditionally required people to travel. And the best part of all is that, even as it improves business efficiency and effectiveness, it simultaneously saves money.

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