Video conferencing has dramatically changed the way we connect across so many facets of our everyday life. From how we grocery shop to how to make a remote sales pitch.
It’s impossible for anyone to have been able to predict just how much we would be relying on group communication technology. If it wasn’t already a staple, as we approach 2021, there’s no doubt about it, it’s only going to deepen how we do business, get an education and maintain ties with other people.
So what have we learned from this year that will prepare us for next year? What’s the take away from 2020 in terms of business and technology and how we’re able to live and work in a more digital-centric way? Let’s break down a few key points.
Digital Is Essential
The need for digital tools and capabilities (video conferencing included among project management tools, work-from-home apps, presentation technology and other integrations) was blown wide open at the start of the pandemic. Many organizations were at a crossroads having to make the decision to either evolve by pivoting or getting left behind. A workforce that has made the shift to enter a “new normal” by way of adapting to a more video-first, digital-centric approach is proving to be an essential move.
With the implementation of digital, and collaboration software, plus a strong build-up of IT infrastructure, technology-forward accessibility, and upskilling programs for employees, making the shift online has been doable for many industries. Albeit a few road bumps, which is normal for any transition, “going digital” has been a way to expedite work, encourage collaboration, push towards inclusivity and diversity, and generate a more keen interest in learning what’s needed to make the remote work leap.
Video conferencing continues to be the thread of normalcy that visually connects us to our colleagues, team members, and ultimately, other humans. It keeps us in the present, reduces the feeling of “working in a silo,” and provides remote workers a solid lifeline.
Furthermore, given these extraordinary circumstances, an online meeting from home/remotely provides other participants with an intimate glimpse into your life. Whether that’s the cat’s tail poking in the screen or the sound of the dog in the background, there’s a heightened sense of camaraderie, a resounding reflection of “we’re all in this together, but separately.” Remote workers suddenly aren’t so remote as video meetings lead to more empathy, a stronger sense of belonging and bonding, and enhanced communication.
Even for companies not doing remote work, there are aspects that have migrated via video conferencing like Human Resources departments. Hiring new talent, onboarding and training can now be done online without anyone having to step foot in an office. Not only does this open up to the onboarding of exceptional talent, but also talent from anywhere. Proximity becomes less of a factor when new hires can be plucked from anywhere to work remotely.
Customer Experience Is #1
While we can’t be together, the idea that we’re “together apart” remains true. Video conferencing is the glue that allows us to conduct ourselves in such a way where businesses can keep employees and customers safe while still providing top-notch customer service and support.
Craving human connection has become more and more apparent. As a result, it’s hugely valuable as it is a “commodity” that is greatly missed. With parts of business operations becoming automated and replaced with apps that remove the normal human transaction, the need for human connection in business is priceless. While the term is open for discussion, right now at this point in time, human connection means connecting in a digital world.
The consumer journey for brands is critical now more than ever and it relies on creating messaging that resonates and makes them feel taken care of in a world that currently presents a lot of unknowns. Just like employees whose needs have become greater in light of a changing pandemic. For them to create their best work and to be able to support clients and customers, they need to have their basic needs like families, health and wellness, finances are taken care of too.
Inclusivity Reigns Over Exclusivity
The way employees show up to work depends on their family life and at-home environments. No two households are alike. Some employees might be single and feeling loneliness while others are juggling kids and spouses all at home at once, learning and working from the same kitchen table. How people show up to work is affected by how anxious, uncertain, fatigued they feel.
Opening up the discussion to provide for employees and focusing on inclusion efforts will make people feel more secure in their roles and their ability to be better workers. Working out of the office helps to support employees who need to be around for family; cuts travel costs and commuting time, and also affords them the opportunity to not have to be in one place day after day if they need to watch over a sick child, partner or parent.
Empower The Workforce
People need to work. Using video conferencing and other digital tools to empower at-home and remote working will slowly but surely realign and build up the economy. Transition employees where possible, and have a look at how expenditures are stacking up. Take a look at working hours, pay structures, costs, benefits, and how big purchases are made. By finding other solutions and dealing with the set of challenges head-on to acknowledge that times are tough, but still managing to find a placeholder solution that puts people first will attempt to keep businesses steady and as we all work towards economic recovery.
In 2020, we know what works:
Increasingly being connected via technology meant that a lot of the workforce was sent to work from home this past year. Video conferencing and improvements in infrastructure made this change possible by readjusting the business model with enhanced digital tools, a stricter schedule, and better solutions.
If there was any resistance from managers hesitant to let their employees work from home and not be in a controlled setting, this was the year that changed it all. Work-from-home solutions kept employees on track and connected, and shone a light on what does and doesn’t work, where the bottlenecks are and how processes and systems can be streamlined and improved.
Using A Technology Stack That Matches Your Needs
Having to adapt quickly and proficiently was the lesson learned this year. Seeing how different sectors all had to hit the ground running seemingly overnight, as they had to reinvent how communication, business, and connection is done virtually, showed that it, in fact, can be done in the first place!
Developing solutions to put in place whether that’s for education, healthcare, finance, business, etc., is an ongoing journey. Although there is no one-size-fits-all solution, there are options that provide a good jump start for an industry’s specific needs. Communication is critical which is why highly accessible, safe, and secure, easy-to-use solutions that come loaded with consumer-friendly features should be at every organization’s top of mind awareness.
Video conferencing maintains open communication. From virtual social gatherings to important business meetings, there’s no sign of online meetings losing traction. It’s becoming obvious that face to face time with clients and colleagues is crucial to how we feel connected as video conferencing is the second best thing to meeting in person.
And since we’re all online now, video conferencing works best when it’s highly accessible for everyone to use. Affordability, easy set-up, crystal clear audio, and video ensure your lines of communication are open to everyone from your internal team to reaching out to prospects for new business.
The success of your business, as well as people’s mental health, depends on us being connected to each other. Without a direct line of virtual communication, there’s no telling just how much more difficult keeping any business afloat would be. Staying connected online has positioned all workers as remote workers, meaning those who were deemed to be remote previously are now in the same boat as those who were in the office. Everyone has had to rely on digital tools over the face to face connections that will one day be a happy option to have again.
Until then, video conferencing for business and community is the way we’re headed and because it captures body language, nuance, and other subtleties, it’s our best bet at providing the human connection we need and long for.
For 2021, it’s about taking what was learned across business and community to lead us into a world that’s grappling with the new normal. With a focus on “going digital,” plus customer experience as the goal, increased inclusivity, and more empowerment, we can apply what we know for better results going into a new year:
Finding New Channels
Using video conferencing doesn’t have to be limited to real-time communication. Use pre-recorded videos and clips to create content to share on channels you may not have previously thought about. Try to create a business blog with a short video at the end from a representative from your company or a highlight reel that supports the post. Think about how this can live on Facebook but can also be applicable to LinkedIn, etc.
Launching a New Product
Create buzz and hype on Instagram with a teaser campaign or behind the scenes footage of your exciting new product. Share a countdown on Twitter, conduct video conferencing interviews with influencers, or live stream on YouTube via your account to drum up interest and pique curiosity.
Scaling Your Appeal
Create listings on major directories for consumers who are looking for exactly what your business provides. Online listings on significant directories help to solidify your online presence so you can direct more high-intent customers while promoting your business. Think Google, Yelp, Facebook, Glassdoor, etc.
Go a step further by creating content that generates leads and gets you email addresses for email marketing campaigns. From there, you can create newsletters that include video, and funnels for webinars, and virtual events.
Making Your Brand Seen More
It’s critical for organizations to get seen and heard in a digital landscape. By implementing search engine optimization strategies across content, businesses can up the ante on getting more exposure and getting closer to that top hit on a Google search. Try promoting your business on Google with an SEO optimized Google Business Profile.
Furthermore, consider when was the last time you updated your website. Do you have a website? Comb through it to make sure it’s updated, refreshed, and can compete amongst others in terms of its look, hosting capabilities, e-commerce (if need be) SEO, and any other components.
Let Callbridge provide your business with the technology stack and peace of mind required to run successfully into the new year. Even though there are surprises and question marks, knowing that your communication strategy between employees, current clients, and prospects is locked down and stable can be the difference between remaining stagnant or scaling out.
Reach new markets and segments with sophisticated video conferencing technology. Reap the benefits of collaborative features like Screen Sharing and the Online Whiteboard. Stay connected globally with the Time Zone Scheduler and Invitations and Reminders.