What a year! It’s wasn’t just me, right? In 30 years in the communications industry, I thought I had seen it all by the time we got to Hogmanay 2020, but this year was, in its own way, even more remarkable.
Last week I met some lovely clients for the first time. What is different about this? These are people I had not met in person, nor visited their place of work, prior to agreeing a contract. They were people I had regularly spoken to on Teams, emailed, messaged and called, but this was our first human contact!
All the rules of sales and service were torn up, The “natural order” of doing business was gone..and yet still it felt like I was meeting old friends when I was finally able to go on-site.
I couldn’t stop thinking about this strange journey. In our business, since the pandemic began, we’ve worked tirelessly to transfer our clients to a hybrid and home-working environment (no mean feat with Contact Centres). But it struck me that I also had fully integrated into a hybrid way of working that was now second nature to me.
The use of Microsoft Teams has made us all more productive. Lots of quick face-to-screen chats have replaced long drives and flights, leaving room to do much more in the day. It’s easier to fit a quick 10 mins into a busy diary, than ask someone to take an hour out of their day to see a visitor.
Our omni-channel life, where a more sociable style of chat (teams/whatsapp/text) are now totally acceptable in a client/consultant relationship also speeds decision-making, and allows people to get a sense of another person in a way 3 or 4 formal business meetings will not.
I’d become a living, breathing model for our products and hadn’t realised this. In our own interactions, I was actually giving a demonstration of how these superb products work.
2021 saw a journey for me as an Amazon Web Services partner and I’ve loved being a part of this development. Working with our friends Omningage, we have seen huge demand for the AWS CCaaS platform, which I am so proud to say we are launching with both Ascensos and Dialect (my lovely clients I met last week).
Our software partners, NICE, Calabrio, AWS and now Microsoft Teams, have really excelled this year in developing new and exciting products that are radically changing our market and it’s great to be part of such a thriving industry.
But what really strikes me is the relationships I’ve struck up with people I am, only now, getting to meet in person and the fact we already know/like/trust each other without having shook hands….that’s a testimony to technology.
May I wish you and yours a wonderful holiday season and have a great New Year when it comes. We may even meet (virtually) in 2022.