Your organization may not have realized the importance of being able to function as a remote-friendly team until early in 2020.
When something like the Coronavirus appears and closings and cancelations are being announced everywhere in the world, the ability to run your day-to-day operations without being physically present in the office becomes critical.
These essentials will help you and your team.
Communication comes in many different formats; verbal, non-verbal, written and visual are topping the list.
Effectively communicating mandates that you have the tools to do so. When you are face-to-face with your team, you can hear verbal and see non-verbal means of relaying a message. When you are not working from the same physical location, you must understand the availability of the tools you have and where you may need to enhance any glaring holes.
Because we are at the beginning of the year, you likely have your calendar chocked full of meetings. When you can’t effectively handle a topic that was previously identified as a discussion that should be held in person, video conferencing tools are extremely handy. Zoom is one great tool that allows you to have up to 100 participants on a call at no cost. They have enterprise plans as well, but if you need something for smaller teams, this is a great option.
Zoom allows for screensharing, but there are other options that are popular too. Platforms like GoToMeeting, Uber Conference and GoToWebinar can help those who really just need to convey messages by sharing their screen with attendees and using the voiceover audio features. With GoToMeeting and Webinar, if any of the attendees are unable to attend for any reason, you can also send them the recording of the meeting.
This is a given. Don’t forget to be mindful of your tone and overall etiquette when composing your messages. Reserve “reply-all” responses for those absolutely necessary situations where everyone actually needs to receive the message. Your inbox is overflowing already – don’t over-email.
Chatbots can be a huge lifesaver when fielding incoming communication requests on your website. Get ahead of the rush and document the top 25 asked questions by leads and customers. Once you determine these, you can create a digital worker that helps alleviate your team from answering these common questions. Platforms like Drift (seen on our website as well) are great for not only creating chatbots to answer these repetitive questions, but also great for engaging with new prospects on your website.
Don’t forget to think about your internal team communication! We enjoy using Slack to communicate with our team. It saves us from having to send multiple emails regarding one topic and the added light-hearted humor that we exchange with animated GIFs are also great for boosting moral.
A VPN, or Virtual Private Network, is essential for teams who handle sensitive data. Healthcare, financial and legal organizations are all prime candidates that should be using a VPN. I’m sure you’ve seen all the scary press about hackers accessing executive emails while using a public, unsecured connection. Consider what could happen if you choose to work from your local coffee shop while your team has implemented a remote-only policy temporarily. Just don’t do it. PC Mag published a best-of list of VPN services that could be helpful for you.
Customer onboarding is a hot topic in our industry, and rightfully so. No one likes to wait and if one vendor’s onboarding process is faster and more responsive than their competitor’s, the customer stands a very strong chance of opting to use the more efficient one.
Most larger institutions have a great handle on onboarding processes, but there is still a lot to learn and improve upon.
For example: Have you ever worked with your local insurance representative to apply for coverage? It can be quite painful. After several phone calls and emails clarifying sensitive information like your full name, date of birth, Social Security Number, address, and driver’s license number you are left feeling not only frustrated with the lack of privacy, but also the inefficiency. It could be days before you receive your quote. If the quote is too high, you feel compelled to shop around and then re-enter the same cycle.
The larger insurance companies have this figured out nicely. They use a web-based workflow automation software like LiquidOffice to collect important customer information. Then, based on rules configured by business process innovation or other department teams, they can verify your personal information with the help of API integrations with larger databases. These databases can provide digital workers with information like your credit score, driving record and other important data necessary to provide you with a quote immediately.
Here is one example of a workflow automation process: We worked with Speedway to update their HR application processes. You can read the case study here.
One thing that you definitely don’t want to happen is for your suppliers to stop supplying. Not getting paid on time can cause your goods to come to a screeching halt. If your team has been instructed to work remotely, gathering invoices from snail mail may become a challenge. If your vendors are still hand-delivering or mailing their invoices for payment, they won’t have the same support to which they have grown accustomed when your team is in the office.
Enter ABBYY FlexiCapture for Invoices. Hopefully by now, the majority of your invoices enter your AP department electronically. (If they do not, the time to address this is now, and we can help). By using this very powerful zonal OCR software that your team can use from anywhere in the world, the vendors who submit electronic invoice files can continue to be paid without delay. Watch this video to learn more about how it works:
For those of you who are still accepting paper invoices, Kodak Alaris is a great partner to get your incoming paper invoices digitized and indexed and ready to begin being processed with ABBYY FlexiCapture for Invoices.
Raise your hand if your office is housing paper files in file cabinets. Now, keep it raised if you are paying for document storage at an off-site location. If you raised your hand for either scenario, we really need to talk. A file that is in a file cabinet is only accessible by the one human who goes to the cabinet to retrieve it. Additionally, that same file is only accessible by one person unless they make a copy. Making a copy means … more paper.
An ECM solution like ApplicationXtender can integrate with your pre-existing systems to be the official, digital version of any documents that may be necessary to retain. Once a document enters your organization on paper or electronically, you have a choice to make; do you keep it or do you trash it? If you are keeping it, it is important to understand how the files will be indexed and stored. Will you simply run the file through a full-text OCR software like ABBYY’s FineReader Server or will you use a more complex zonal OCR software that your team trains so they can become hands-off?
Digital Workers are also known as “robots”.
RPA (Robotic Process Automation) is transforming business as you knew it. Human workers are training Digital Workers to work with humans to streamline mundane tasks. Today especially, you need to look at what is available and give them serious consideration so your business can continue to thrive while your competitors are scrambling to get ahead.
Despite resistance previously met when discussion adding robots to your team, these digital workers can save your company, as well as your human workers, from any illness that could be forcing your team to work remotely.
Reach out to us today. We are available to you to help you get ahead of the curve.
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Optiform offers a broad spectrum of data processing solutions customized to fit any business need. From human resource departments to the information produced through clinical trials, Optiform has a long history of maximizing the efficiency of all its clients. Optiform is here to provide personalized support and recommendations both pre and post project, to ensure your long-term satisfaction and paper-free results. Contact us today to set up a personalized one-on-one consultation for software and business process recommendations. Already a valued Optiform client? Our customer support is ready to help.