How to Build an Effective Communications System for Your Business
To improve efficiency and productivity, simplify IT management, find user-friendly solutions, and drive employee motivation, organizations have turned to internal communications software.
The 2020 market research report estimated the collaboration software market at more than $8 billion in 2017, with a projected CAGR of more than 9% from 2018 to 2025.
Photo by bruce mars
Therefore, how do you find the most suitable communication software for yourself and your teams in such a huge industry?
Business communication tools solve the most critical question, the main internal communication problems faced by organizations, and solve them.
The Basics Of Communication Tools
Business communication is a widely used term that can include interactive communication such as messaging, email, calls, and meetings and aspects of interagency communication, customer communication, and even customer management, marketing, and PR.
Communication is essential in business because healthy relationships are the lifeblood of business, and relationships are built and maintained through communication. The importance of excellent communication in a business should not be underestimated!
Businesses use a variety of tools and methods to enhance their ability to communicate more effectively. Communication software tools include any tool (offline or online) that helps you comprehend others and be understood.
The team or interoffice communication tools include familiar tools such as mail, email, and phones and applications and software for web conferencing, screen sharing, file sharing, group messaging, and collaborative work management.
Standard business communication tools include document collaboration tools, chat and messaging tools, file sharing tools, knowledge base tools, project management software, and voice and video conferencing tools.
Building a communication system from scratch seems like a tedious and challenging task.
Here are a few steps you could take:
Step 1. Get Social Intranet Software
Most organizations go through a phase or transition period when it becomes clear that their internal communications are failing.
The approach is often to promote the technology without asking why it is being done in the IT departments. By observing some of your organization’s symptoms, you can evaluate which type of software or tools will improve the way members communicate.
Some of these symptoms include:
- It is hard to keep up with the company’s news and announcements
- Disabled employees and departments
- Documents are lost or buried in email
- There is no transparent and standardized orientation policy for new employees and interns
- Too much paperwork.
A central portal where everyone can access all the necessary information, communications, documents, and contracts in one place
The social intranet software makes this possible, saving your business money by reducing its maintenance costs.
In the era of BYOD and remote work, the intranet solution cultivates a more flexible workforce. It increases productivity by focusing all employees on the same goals.
Step 2. Introduce Private, Group Messaging, And Chat Tools
Project teams and employees need collaboration tools to help them work together more effectively. Without a collaborative platform, it becomes difficult for members to share ideas and keep track of the group’s progress.
Emails are often lost, unreadable, or the topics become frustratingly long. Providing an easy way to communicate for your teams brings participants together and helps them be more productive.
Pay attention to these symptoms:
- Unable to find specific conversations due to too long email streams
- Mailboxes are full of unnecessary emails
- Responsibilities and progress between team members are not clear.
Private and group messaging apps eliminate the email need and are ideal business communication tools for keeping teams working together. These features are essential when team members need to discuss work.
It is imperative when employees are spread across geographical locations in different time zones.
While public spaces like Facebook Groups can work, dedicated intranet chat services ensure that most people are a tap away. They can also be used to share files (using the drag-and-drop feature) and search for contacts or past conversations.
Step 3. Find The Most Convenient Task Management Tool
Your overall business performance would not be as successful as possible if you didn’t have an effective task management tool.
If you combine strong communication features with appointment tracking capabilities, the task management tool will change how employees perform the most important aspect of your company: their work.
Without a robust project management system, projects can be a confusing and timely process for team members who are unsure of what they should be doing.
These problems are further exacerbated when management does not directly monitor progress, thereby detaching them from the situation.
Watch out for these symptoms:
- Management does not know about the status of current projects
- The staff gets confused when completing tasks
- Participants do not know how essential tasks are when they should be completed and prioritize current projects
- Management does not have an organized system for monitoring all projects
- The expectations and the person to report to are not clear to the team members.
The task management function is one of the most effective business communication tools, as it usually solves all of the above problems. Task management software helps employees and directors achieve their goals as efficiently and successfully as possible from execution to completion.
Managers can assign tasks to team members and track their progress directly. They can also set deadlines and priority parameters that are displayed in an organized list for all participants.
Task management with built-in communication tools helps employees know who is delegating a task when it should be completed and planning projects accordingly. If you have no idea where to start, try Trello or Wrike.
Step 4. Consider Cases, Issue Tracking, And Ticketing Software
Today’s customer wants to be able to communicate with you through a variety of channels. The issue is that there are no tools that offer a 360-degree approach to customer support and service.
Customer requests tend to get lost, call volumes grow, and the inability to assign the right employees to handle customer requests leaves many customers frustrated.
- Customer retention is shrinking
- Customers have been waiting for help for a long time, and in general, customer reviews are negative
- Employees skip customer requests
- The user is not able to track the progress of cases
- There is no organized system for placing solved and current cases.
Problem tracking software is one of the best internal communication tools for managing customer requests. Your employees or customers can submit a case or ticket, assign it to the right employee, and resolve it on time.
Case tracking, issue tracking, and ticketing software help you centralize customer support requests. It also tracks open issues, monitors team performance, prioritizes the most critical issues, and collects constructive customer feedback to improve your products and services.
Step 5. Don’t Forget About Analytics
Determining where you need improvements is challenging when you don’t have an accurate way to analyze it.
Often, concerning internal communications, employees manually track and log information in an Excel worksheet when wasting time on other work. Sometimes, the company doesn’t have an analytical tool at all.
Your intranet is an investment in your business communication efforts. Therefore, it is essential to monitor employee engagement and track what benefits your company the most.
- Management does not know how many employees are involved in the work of the company.
- It is unclear whether employees often get confused about specific aspects of the business.
- It is difficult for management to sort and track internal data.
The analytics and sentiment feature is one of the most influential business communication tools for evaluating user behavior. You will never have to wonder how many members read an article, comment on a forum post, or their overall reviews of the content.
This data is automatically saved in a comprehensive report. You can determine which content works and which doesn’t. You can also dive deeper into the question-and-answer posts to see how many people are asking the same questions. Collecting this information should help you make the necessary adjustments to improve your internal communication tools.
Step 6. Enable Dialogue Through Discussion Forums
Sharing information in the workplace is imperative for the internal growth and development of the community. Labor veterans can guide new employees to what’s going on inside the organization, helping them get there faster and with fewer errors along the way.
However, a digital workspace where employees can ask questions, discuss projects, and discuss workplace issues helps connect everyone within the organization.
Here are symptoms to look out for:
- Employees’ questions remain unanswered
- The management is divided into those to whom to contact for requests
- There is no exchange of knowledge in the workplace.
A discussion forum that encourages managers and employees to discuss any topic openly.
Discussion forums spread internal knowledge and bring everyone together. They are also great for archiving organizational knowledge.
Sometimes conversations lead to the most valuable ideas. Now all these thoughts are stored and available to your entire organization.
Step 7. Create Spaces For Knowledge Sharing
When departments or branches do not have their own space to share relevant information, internal communications can be confusing.
Department managers do not have an organized way to share information with their department employees. The department employees do not have a dedicated place to search for information. It also isolates the departments from each other, which leads to a complete separation of the company.
- Employees of the department are not aware of the news in their area of business
- Employees throughout the company are unaware of updates and projects in various departments
- Members often do not know where to find information related to a particular group within the company
- Management personnel has a complex experience of sharing industry-wide news directly with the staff.
- The best communication tool for sharing important content.
- People in one easy-to-live place.
You can create space for anything – a human resources department or an office in Austin, Texas.
You should set permissions for designated individuals who can distribute information and control the space. Also, members in the space can share photos, create forums, and receive notifications about each update without overloading their mailboxes.
Step 8. Foster Communication With Video Chats
In large companies or companies located in different geographical locations, employees may feel distant from each other and cannot effectively coordinate their tasks.
Thus, a simple problem would not even occur if colleagues working in the same office become a huge obstacle to business development.
The symptoms are as follows:
- Some tasks and questions remain open for a long time generating discussion pages and tons of emails
- Business relationships become personal while employees lack the nonverbal component of communication and misunderstand the tone of their partner’s voice
- The terms and responsibilities remain unclear for a long time of written communication; questions remain or multiply.
Quick video calls. It is one of the best ways that allows employees in different offices to communicate face-to-face, even if they may be miles away from each other or even on the other side of the world from each other.
While traditionally, they could do this via an analog phone system or travel to a single location for a meeting, video chat software allows everyone to get together without leaving their usual place of work.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, video chat software allowed colleagues to continue communicating face-to-face, one-on-one while working remotely. To meet in a group face-to-face when social distancing and other restrictions make face-to-face meetings impossible.
On the one hand, video chat seems like a silver bullet for the business world of 2021, as it saves on travel expenses, and travel time means people can be more productive. It creates a more collaborative team environment and is more flexible than traditional meetings.
However, video chat has its drawbacks. For example, technological problems sometimes make it difficult to use it, such as a slow Internet connection or poor conditions and equipment.
To Sum Up
With these business communication tips at your disposal, you can increase efficiency, engagement, and knowledge sharing in the workplace.
Effective communication between employees working in different locations and at other times can be challenging, but it can be done.
You need to start exploring the different technologies available and decide which one is right for your organization. However, you don’t have to settle for one tool.
Start by choosing a tool that can be the basis for your communication needs. For example, many organizations are implementing an intranet platform for their internal communication needs.
It allows organizations to create team workspaces, easily find staff information including areas of expertise, deliver personalized news and information to various employees.
Also, it helps configure security permissions to ensure that employees with the right access levels read the right information and much more.
They then integrate other communication tools into their core platform, such as Skype for Business, Facebook, YouTube, etc. It allows organizations to offer a centralized communication and information ecosystem for their employees!