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Business consolidation: better processes using technology

For many, consolidation isn't seen as a positive thing. But it doesn't have to be that way. Business consolidation are two words that can strike fear in the heart of any worker. It harkens to job losses, red ink and sometimes, an eventual bankruptcy. But business consolidation doesn't have to be a harbinger of doom. If done in the right way, it can help businesses cut costs, improve productivity, and shift employees to new or different positions more in line with business goals. Employees could even find themselves with time for the work they'd actually prefer to be doing — with more efficient tools — rather than endless amount of rote paperwork. How? It all starts with the way your business uses technology to manage its information. Here are two areas of your business where consolidation may make sense:

Customer service

It seems counter-intuitive to talk about customer service being a prime area for consolidation. After all, in today's always-on world, you need to always be accessible to your customers, no matter the time or place. The harder it is for your customer to reach you, or the harder it is for them to get the information they need when they need it, the less likely they are to remain your customer for long.

A problem bemoaned by many larger enterprises has been the varying quality of customer service across locations. You'll have your superstars, but it was impossible to have them in every location, whenever a customer might need them.

Telepresence kiosks are one way to solve this problem. Rather than staffing locations all over the globe, these kiosks allow you to consolidate your customer service staff into a centralized service center, and connect to customers face-to-face through the kiosk whenever they are needed. The benefits are many: resources can be shifted to respond to changing needs much quicker; you can utilize your best customer service workers to reach the most people; you're no longer limited by the normal 9-to-5 day; and you can expand the reach of your customer service to places previously impossible.

Before, you likely could not afford to staff each location with workers who spoke a variety of languages, for example. But with these kiosks, your customers can always have access to a native speaker, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. After all, it's much simpler to staff a central location with the workers you need than each potential branch location.

The positives of business consolidation

Business consolidation has a negative connotation, as it is often associated with reorganizations and companies in turmoil. But when done right, it can be a way to not only cut costs, but actually improve the quality of service that you are able to provide to your customers and clients.

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