What You really Need To Know About Business Communication
A lot of success in business ultimately boils down to communication. Managers and employees need to communicate effectively with each other. They also need to communicate with their suppliers and customers and often with the wider public as well. Making this happen depends partly on interpersonal skills and partly on technology.
Communications skills depend on communications technology
In business, most personal interactions depend on some form of technology. Even in real-world, person-to-person situations, the communicators need light to see each other’s faces. It, therefore, follows that the better you can manage your communications technology, the more effectively you can deploy your human communications skills.
For many businesses, especially SMBs, this is a strong argument in favor of moving to digital communications. Bringing everything “under one umbrella” reduces complexity and hence simplifies management. It can also massively increase functionality and reduce costs. That said, you need to understand what the change means and how to approach it in the right way.
Network quality is vital
If you go fully digital, you’re basically putting all of your communication eggs in one basket. That’s absolutely fine. You just need to make sure it’s a seriously good basket. For SMBs, the very best option is usually a SIP trunk. You can think of this as a link to a provider who can handle all your communication needs.
Depending on your business, you might want to consider signing up for a SIP trunk reseller platform like www.siptrunk.com. If your business has any influence on other companies’ purchasing decisions, working as a SIP reseller could be an easy income stream for you. You’d likely be selling something the other companies were looking to buy anyway.
Once you have your provider, you need to make sure that your own network is up to standard. What this will mean in practice will depend on your communications style. As a rule of thumb, text communications have the lowest bandwidth requirements. Audio-only calls require significantly more bandwidth and video calls require the most bandwidth of all.
You need to define your network priorities
With traditional means of communication, your various service providers are in charge of everything. With digital communications, you are in charge of everything. That may sound like an intimidating change. In practice, however, it usually just takes a bit of common sense and some knowledge of your business operations.
Most network traffic management is basically about common sense. For example, it’s obvious, to a human, that real-time communication should get priority over anything which can wait. So, for example, you’d instruct your network to prioritize video calls and audio calls over email, faxes, and printing.
You can fine-tune this even further. For example, you could prioritize external-facing communications over internal ones. This would mean that customer support teams and sales teams could keep going even if people internally had to wait. Obviously, you’d prefer to avoid this but it could be a failsafe in case of network issues.
The better you know your business, the better you can fine-tune your network priorities. The key to success here is knowing how people in your business actually work. This may be very different from how you assume they are working. That’s why you have to ask, check, and, basically, communicate.
Why unified communication is worth the set-up costs
There are several reasons why unified communication is worth the set-up costs, especially for SMBs. Most of them hinge on the fact that it makes for a more seamless experience for both external and internal parties. Reducing friction between areas can also help to reduce pain points and help increase productivity. This maximizes cost-effectiveness.
It’s also important to remember that customers are increasingly starting their purchase journey online. This is true in both the business and the consumer worlds. What’s more, it applies to all age groups. Even though some older people have difficulties using technology, many have adapted to it. Here are some specific examples of how unifying communications can help SMBs.
You’ve probably at least seen a website with a “click-to-call” button. These are extremely useful for engaging with customers when they’re in peak buying mode. These buttons can only work if you’re using digital audio calling.
Using advanced call-management features
With the established phone network, voicemail is about the only call-management tool the average SMB is likely to be able to afford. Switch to digital, however, and you can use all kinds of advanced call-management features. In particular, you can implement call-recording easily. This can be useful for security and compliance as well as quality monitoring and training.
Managing customer relationships
With unified, digital communications, you can say goodbye to the hassle of capturing customer information the old-fashioned way. Contact details can often be captured automatically. When they are inputted manually, the inputs can be hygiene-checked for accuracy). Then all data can be shared across all relevant platforms.
So, for example, if your sales team lands a new client, the customer support team and billing team will also have access to the client’s details. If you’re too small to have teams, you can have data-sharing across the apps you use.
Promoting flexible working
With digital communications, your team just needs a way to get onto the network. That could be from a cell phone or a tablet as well as from a regular computer. They simply log in with their details and access their applications. Currently, the most obvious benefit of this is that it enables people to work remotely. This is still likely to be a major benefit post-COVID19.
There are, however, many other reasons to value flexible working. For example, employees may need to work in different locations or even just to move desks. With traditional infrastructure, this can be expensive and/or highly inconvenient. With unified, digital communications, it’s easy.
Moving to unified, digital communications is one of those rare instances where convenience is also highly cost-effective. Just moving calls off the regular telephone network and onto digital can be enough to save a lot of money. If you’re still using fax machines then putting them onto digital not only saves money, it saves space and increases security.
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