Get real with assistive technology
Sales organizations across the United States have worked hard to improve the diversity of their workforce, though one area that lags all others is in the employment of disabled people. Perhaps this is because of a misconception about the positive impact that hiring disabled people has. Many studies have shown that inclusive teams perform more productively and help to provide fresh perspectives that drive customer satisfaction and higher sales.
In this article, we look at a few examples of assistive technology that can help you maximize the benefits of collaboration in an inclusive sales team.
The business benefit of employing people with disability
Deloitte found that inclusive teams outperform non-inclusive teams by 80%. Disabled employees work hard, and employers with inclusive teams portray a positive image to the outside world. You’ll find staff retention improves, consequently saving money on hiring and training costs, and there are further financial benefits available from the IRS when hiring disabled workers.
The performance of your disabled employees in sales teams relies on many things. One of these is providing assistive technology that enables their ability to translate into productivity. However, assistive technology does not only help disabled people to perform more effectively – it can boost the whole team’s performance.
How assistive technology helps sales teams
When we consider assistive technology, we naturally consider it as specific to disabled employees. However, utilizing its full potential can lead to better collaboration and more interaction with customers. A simple example is providing subtitles on sales videos for the hard of hearing. Other tools may include:
In call centers, microphone headsets help to reduce muscle strain in the neck and reduce background noise.
Simpler technology such as screen clips to hold documents in place while working from them aid productivity.
Ergonomic keyboards can be adapted to suit individuals, and help to reduce strain in the neck, shoulders, arms, and wrists.
Next generation technology to assist sales
The above types of assistive technology are commonplace. While they are mainly designed to aid disabled people in the workplace, they help all employees to be more productive. But assistive technologies can also be used to boost collaboration and improve sales directly.
For example, the voice-generated text technology that can be used in the office is being increasingly used by customers to conduct online searches for products and services. In the sales team, this can be used to search for experience or expertise that is present within the team when someone has a problem that needs to be solved. Optimizing your internal sales team’s technology for this puts you ahead of your competition when rolling out to customers.
Integrating your assistive technologies with your cloud-based databases ratchets up your opportunities to collaborate across functions within your organization even further. The Cloud enables greater opportunity for remote work and connection to remote customers, sharing information in real time and improving the potential to scale up.
Artificial intelligence technology has the potential to drive collaboration and opportunity in sales even further. Machine learning and natural language processing can help to automate some functions, providing a streamlined route for customers to customer service personnel and making decisions backed by masses of data.
Think about your technology creatively
Many of today’s and tomorrow’s assistive technology can be equally effective for all employees. By considering the needs of your employees and how technology can be implemented, you will develop a workplace that is suitable for employees of all physical abilities. You’ll have no need to consider the expense of providing assistive technology to take advantage of the talent of less able-bodied candidates.
Predictive dialing is another example of how technology can ensure you benefit from all the talent available to you and that they are able to work collaboratively. Incoming leads are dealt with first. Outgoing calls are dialed automatically. Now, combine this with voice-to-text technology that records the calls. You now have a written audit of the call, that can be transferred to any expert needed within your customer services department – without a hand being put on a single piece of equipment.
Assistive technology adapts to all in the workplace. It enables improved customer service, and empowers greater collaboration.
To learn more about developing your sales managers and teams, and how to create the culture needed to benefit from diversified teams using evolving assistive technologies, contact Forward Focus.