Effective communications are vital to the operations of any business. The ability to share information rapidly, efficiently, and in an open manner is crucial to the success of any organization, whether it’s a small business or an 80,000 person multinational corporation.
The truth is that enterprises that have better internal communications outperform their competition. The ability to communicate effectively and efficiently helps build better teams, prevents misunderstandings, improves efficiencies, enhances customer service, and ultimately leads to higher productivity and profitability.
What is Effective Communication?
Essentially, effective communication is a dialogue between two or more parties where the message is received promptly and clearly understood.
One of the vital components of successful internal communications and collaborations is access to a stable and easy to use messaging, voice, or video service.
In addition to the platform, organizations must also ensure they use communication methods that everyone understands and recognizes, foster a culture that encourages a two-way, mutual dialogue, and that all communication is consistent, clear and transparent.
Twenty-First Century Communication
Since its commercialization in the mid-1990s, the internet has transformed the world, changing every aspect of business and society.
The ability to send an email in a matter of seconds altered the way organizations communicate forever. Instead of writing a letter to your customer and sending it via regular mail, you could type up your thoughts in a clear message and ship it in an instant.
Not only did email improve the way we communicate internally and externally, but it also transformed business processes. Billing, ordering, project management, and every other function in the organization could leverage this tool to improve their efficiencies and increase their productivity.
Today, email is the grandfather of modern text-based communication. In a contemporary workplace, there are a variety of text-based messaging platforms that offer enterprises a wide range of value-added features that enhance inter-team communication and collaboration.
Text or written communication was not the only medium the internet transformed. The digital revolution has also completely reformed voice communications. The ability to take analog voice calls and transmit them via a data network has revolutionized the telecommunications industry.
Not only has it reduced the cost of voice calls significantly, but it has also enabled the rapid acceleration of communication technologies in remote areas via cell towers and satellites.
In addition to voice and text, the internet has also transformed video communications. As technology continues to evolve, all forms of communications have started to converge. We now live in a world where a user can leverage either text, voice, or video using a single app on a dedicated platform.Almost every communication app that runs on your computer, smartphone, or tablet can support text, voice, and live video messaging. This convergence is revolutionizing the way we work and share information.
Straightforward messaging apps like WhatsApp and iMessage have fundamentally changed the way we communicate with each other. Online collaboration platforms like Facebook Workplace and Microsoft Teams are revolutionizing the way we work and share information. In today’s digitally-driven world, multiple solutions can improve the internal communication mechanisms of any enterprise.
How Businesses Can Leverage Technology to Improve Communications
When it comes to communications platforms, businesses operating in today’s digital age have a wide variety of solutions they can deploy to meet their needs. However, it is vital that organizations plan accordingly and use the appropriate platform for its intended purpose.
It is also crucial that they keep their overall communications strategy in mind and choose tools that can co-exist and integrate seamlessly. In this way, they can leverage the full integration of their preferred platforms and gain the added benefits of being able to search, archive, and review all their communications with a single party or group of individuals.
Email may be the grandfather of modern text-based communications, but it remains an essential business tool.
Typically, organizations use email to send formal correspondence to their customers. They also utilize this communication platform to send out official documentation such as invoices, purchase orders, and other business-related documents.
Email is also an essential component in many authentication solutions. When registering for online services, you typically need to enter your email address, which then becomes part of your system identity. It also serves as a mechanism for you to retrieve or reset your password should you forget it.
In the business world, instant messaging may be transforming the way teams communicate, but email remains a vital tool. For example, electronic mass marketing campaigns leverage email to send personalized messages to customers and prospects. Unlike other forms of communication, email messages can also be customized to include company branding, interactive images, and other design components that enhance the organization’s professional image.
As a rule, organizations typically use email to send formal communications. Whether the message is intended for an internal or an external audience, email remains the formal way to send messages and share official documents.
Instant messaging has also been around since the dawn of the commercial internet. However, it is only recently that it has become a legitimate business tool. Unlike email, where an organization could keep a record of all its messages, instant messaging apps typically ran on public services where every individual’s message history was tied to their personal account. However, with the rise of commercial cloud offerings, organizations can now leverage instant messaging as a service. There are also on-premises products that provide the same functionality. As a result, this informal means of communication has now become a mainstream business service.
Enterprises can now leverage these instant messaging business platforms as they offer the security and message archiving necessary for compliance and control.
Typically, instant messaging is used for shorter messages. They also have a less-formal tone when compared to an email. Users typically leverage this service to ask a quick question and receive a rapid response.
Implementing this type of communication platform in an enterprise also has other advantages. It allows for real-time communication, as most instant messaging apps indicate if the user is busy or available. It also helps to foster a team ethos, especially if members are located in various remote locations.
Another instant messaging benefit is that it reduces the amount of superfluous email being sent around the organization, improving user productivity. As user inboxes are not filled with short messages and single questions, it makes both formal and informal communications more efficient.
As mentioned, the internet has transformed the voice telecommunications industry. In today’s modern workplace, organizations have the option to choose from a wide variety of voice solutions. From traditional telephony systems to Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), and even embedded unified communication platforms, these many alternatives offer businesses a range of benefits.
In addition to these platform choices, organizations also have the option to host their voice solution in the cloud. Instead of procuring and maintaining expensive hardware on-premise, they can subscribe to a hosted solution that offers voice as a service.
Over and above the capital cost savings, these cloud-based platforms provide many other advantages that can benefit organizations operating in today’s digitally driven economy.A modern voice platform comes with a wide range of benefits that can improve internal communications and collaboration. It allows for easy call management for mobile employees, ensuring they are always in touch with the team back at the office. With unified communications features, these new platforms can integrate into email and instant messaging systems so that functionality like voicemail can be delivered to the user in the most convenient format.
Modern voice platforms also have the ability to record conversations and store them digitally for secure archiving, indexing, and retrieval. By leveraging these features, organizations can keep a full record of all communications, helping them improve efficiencies, increase service delivery, and ensure they adhere to any regulatory compliance requirements.
As stated, the key to effective communication is that all parties receive and understand the information, and the newer data-driven voice platforms have a wide range of features that deliver this vital requirement.
Thirty years ago, the idea of being able to talk to someone face-to-face in real time via a video service was science fiction. However, as the internet created the inter-personal, high-speed connection needed to make this a reality, online video services have integrated themselves into our daily lives. These days there are a wide variety of apps that let us chat with people anywhere in the world via a live video feed.
In business, there are many different forms of video communications platforms. As the millennial generation forces modern organizations to embrace the concept of working remotely, these platforms have become an invaluable aid in ensuring inter-team communications.
In addition to enabling remote workers, video conferencing solutions are also great sales tools. They allow sales teams to meet with prospective customers online and demonstrate their products and services in real time.
For organizations that strive to be thought leaders in their field, video is also a great marketing and learning tool. By hosting live webinars, they can reach a mass audience of people anywhere in the world, and either showcase their products and services or educate their customers with demonstrations and interactive learning sessions.
In a work environment, giving people the ability to collaborate electronically in real time is vital for operating in today’s digital age. As technology underpins every function in the business, from finance and marketing to production and customer services, people need tools that help them share documents and information.
In recent years, solution providers have released a wide range of features that have enhanced these collaboration platforms. Integrating multiple communication mediums such as text messaging, voice, and video they have transformed these traditional file-sharing platforms into innovative virtual work environments.Enabling your business with an online collaborative platform comes with a wide range of business benefits. It improves productivity due to its enhanced communication capabilities, and helps people focus on their work as all inter-team information sharing is located on a single platform. As all messaging is managed within the collaborative portal, there is no need for staff members to check their inbox for internal messages continuously.
It also increases transparency as all communication is visible to every team member. This feature makes these platforms an invaluable aid for new starters, helping them get up to speed. Over and above these team-building features, some collaboration portals also give you the ability to communicate with team members via voice and video. These features increase internal communication and collaboration, especially for teams that contain multiple remote members that do not work in the same location.
Modern collaboration portals also give you the ability to integrate third-party apps and services, enhancing the functionality of the platform and improving the productivity of your team. For example, you could incorporate external cloud storage platforms that help you work and share files with partner organizations and customers.
In essence, modern collaboration solutions have all the features a business needs to make the seamless transition to a digital workspace. It allows team members to communicate using any medium, share information, work on the same document simultaneously, and hold virtual meetings. As technology moves on, these platforms will enable the digital workplace of the future as all documents, messaging, and productivity solutions will be available in one place.
The Importance of a Technology Communications Strategy
With so many different communication options available, organizations often find themselves overwhelmed with the various choices at their disposal. As a result, organizations end up having a misaligned and incoherent communications strategy if their platforms do not integrate.
For example, they may use different email, instant messaging, voice calls, video conferencing, and some online collaboration tools. In such an environment, communication can become ineffective when team members use these various disparate platforms.
For example, if one staff member sends an email and the recipient responds via text message, the full communication chain is not present on either service. It is therefore vital that organizations plan their technology communications strategy carefully. They need to ensure the platform they choose provides them with a cohesive, consolidated tool that can help them communicate effectively.
JMARK has been helping companies in Springfield, Tulsa, and Fayetteville increase their success with the help of innovative I.T. solutions for thirty years. The driving force behind everything we do is to help our clients leverage technology to save money and achieve their goals. To learn more about how to improve your internal communications and collaboration with great I.T., contact us today.