The workplace has undergone a major transition over the past three years, placing pressure on companies and organisations to relook at their office structure and workflows, as well as the tools they have in place to manage the challenges these changes present.
Jed Hewson, CEO of 1Stream, Southern Africa’s leading CRM and contact centre technology provider, highlights four key challenges companies face as they head into 2023 – and the software solution that can help create an integrated and efficient work environment.
The office landscape has been permanently altered. Gone are the days when everyone who worked for a company was based in a single office or branch, sitting alongside each other. Hybrid workplaces have now become the norm – and are here to stay. This means some workers are permanently in the office, while others work from home or split their working hours between the office and home.
“The legacy workforce was generally set up within the same building, simplifying communication,” says Hewson. “Everything worked because the company was designed and structured to function in that way.”
But now, face-to-face communication has dropped significantly, fundamentally changing the way information is communicated and shared between staff members and departments. “A lot of people have more meetings on Teams or Zoom than they do face to face. Or there is a mix – with some staff members signing in online and others sitting in the same meeting room. This poses a communication issue – and organisations need to have tools in place to ensure this does not disrupt efficiency,” says Hewson.
1. Workflow structures within companies have become more complex
With a growing number of businesses going online or offering online services, the needs and expectations of their customers have changed. “There is a fundamental change in the way companies must operate and how they manage the workflow processes throughout the company. Previously, teams could operate within silos, but that has all changed,” says Hewson.
He gives the example of an online grocer. “Delivering fruit to a shop is very different to delivering fruit to a door. In the past, you simply grew the stuff and brought it to a point of sale – handing it over to the storekeeper and off you went. But now you have all sorts of people involved in the process – and they all need to be kept in the loop – from your Web designer to your delivery drivers. And all this needs to be underpinned by some sort of customer service offering or contact centre.”
Hewson says business is now switching more to how the customer wants you to operate rather than how you want to operate to deliver to the customer – and that means working and dealing with issues in real time to meet customer expectations. “You can’t sit around and say, ‘I’ll get to this in two weeks.’ Issues must be dealt with immediately, otherwise the customer simply goes elsewhere. Ultimately, this means companies must reorganise and become more complex in the way they communicate both internally and with their customers.”
2. Reporting and tracking need to happen in real time
The pace of business has sped up, with the need for information and data to be easily accessible to team members across various departments at the click of a button. “For example, you can’t really wait until the end of the month to do a stock take and send that info on to your finance department. You need to know exactly what is available, 24/7. Similarly, if customers are having problems because your courier is not operating properly, you need to be able to deal with it there and then,” says Hewson. “In other words, tracking has to become more real time and more consistent across the company.”
3. Compliance is key
The implementation of Popia – the Protection of Personal Information Act – and the surge in cyberattacks mean it is imperative for companies to prioritise compliance and cybersecurity to protect both themselves and their customers.
“Companies really need to know whose information they have kept where,” says Hewson. “Having the same customer’s information kept on six or seven different systems really opens six or seven different opportunities for failure and for security breaches. Having a single system where you can store customer information is essential to protect your organisation from serious consequences for non-compliance.”
The smart solution to overcome challenges
All these challenges can be overcome by implementing an innovative software solution such as 1Stream CRM, which enables the handoff of work from one part of the business to another, tracking it along the way. This means workflow can be managed simply and easily so that everyone within the business knows what is happening throughout the organisation, not just in their own department.
“If you want to appear like an easy company to do business with, you need to get all of your complexities in the background sorted out,” says Hewson. “The 1Stream CRM solution provides a single platform where staff can put all of this information, including customer details, so that they get consistent insights and understandings of how work is flowing through the company, and most importantly where the pinch points and problems are and how this is affecting servicing of their customers.”
1Stream CRM is a ticketing system, CRM, leads management system, workflow system, and project management and task management system all in one. “Having this platform in place enables information to be accessed anytime from anywhere – meaning the left hand always knows what the right hand is doing,” says Hewson. “At 1Stream, we don’t just bring a tech solution to the table for companies across Southern Africa, we also provide a local team to give support in local prices and with local understanding, helping companies stay ahead of the curve and giving them the edge on their competitors.”
Contact 1Stream to find out how they can help your organisation overcome workflow challenges in 2023.