Because we communicate through multiple apps and systems, stress and miscommunication are proliferating. Let’s curb them.
6 min read
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According to a survey by Bluesource, roughly 25 percent of employees polled said they regarded email as a major productivity killer. And that certainly sounds familiar, because we all know the time we waste by hopping among our different email accounts, misplacing messages or being distracted by email notifications.
Yet, without active and ongoing communication, not much gets done in the typical company. So, how do we remain communicative but still focused?
The importance of prompt, regular communication
A study by the Brevet Group showed that 30 to 50 percent of sales go to the vendor that responds most quickly. So, sure, the quality of communication makes a difference for winning the sale, but speed has major benefits, too.
So, why not combine them? Clear and speedy internal communication helps team members from every part of your company get onto the same page. Research by MarketingProfs has shown that organizations with highly aligned sales and marketing functions experience a customer retention rate 36 percent higher than that of their competitors and a 38 percent higher sales-win rate.
What does “efficient communication” mean here? It simply means less wasted time and fewer wasted resources.
Streamlining by channel
The key to reducing stress while remaining plugged in and open to communications is to reduce the number of channels we actively communicate through. This might seem anathema to many marketers, but communicating through a single channel, and communicating well are, together, better than accepting being sub-par, regardless of whether we’re engaged in marketing or internal company communications.
There are two main components to streamlining your communications: technology and process. “Technology” refers to the exact tools and apps we’re currently using or planning to use. “Process” refers to the specifics of how we communicate, such as the level of formality we’re using internally or the questions we’re asking leads and customers as we guide them down the funnel.
Companies must consider both of these components in order to streamline theirbusinesses communication channels.
Utilizing a dedicated communication system
It’s relatively common for companies to use a phone system, chat or messaging app, email, conferencing tools, social media and so on. But pulling these different channels together under one umbrella can help reduce the issues associated with multitasking.
There are multiple dedicated services to choose from, to create a more consolidated experience. You can find options like RingCentral offering unified video conferencing, messaging apps and contact-center functionality, and such services often offer pricing on a sliding scale depending on the number of users. Hubspot is famous for bringing together social media and email functionalities, meaning that users need not log in to multiple Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn accounts just to check on messages.
Creating better relationships with customers
Improving internal communications may lift your productivity, but improving customer communication is where you’re going to see the needle move on your sales. The triggers that yield the best outcomes? Getting the right messages to the right people at the right time. Offering support for the people who are on your website. Improving responsiveness.
By surveying your customers, you can gain insights into how to communicate better. You can pinpoint what is and isn’t working about your current communications. You can even pick up the right terminology and tone of voice to use across all your messaging. Alternately, you can remove any communications which aren’t working for your customers.
If you have yet to implement live chat and chatbots, consider a solution like Intercom. In addition to the improved and unique customer experience it offers tailored to customer needs, Intercom (or similar products) can cut down the amount of time your customer service team spends responding to unnecessary questions. You will also be able to track customer data, monitor customer behaviors and notice trends that can be turned into concrete action-steps.
No one knows your sales cycle better than you do, of course; but, given rising customer expectations, enhancing communication is a sure way to address the inefficiencies and bottlenecks that exist in your process.
Finding the location that’s right for you and your team
A lot of assumptions can be made around where you work and how it’s affecting your communications. For example, you may assume that the best arrangement is one where all your people are in one place. However, you may end up with a less experienced workforce due to your need to recruit in a smaller catchment area. Communications could also suffer from this lower experience level.
In contrast, you could pair the office or coworking space you’re in with a remote team which is desirable either because it’s cheaper or brings together global talent.
If that’s the case, consider the technology your remote workers have, and decide if a mere laptop is enough for effective communication. One of the great benefits of putting remote employees in a dedicated workspace like WeWork, even if they don’t use private office space, is that you can then use meeting rooms equipped with conference-calling equipment and screen-sharing systems that help make your company interactions more concise and on-point.
Using a MacBook can be fine for quick check-ins but if you plan on having detailed discussions with visual aids, your remote teams need to feel that they are on a level playing field. It’s worth exploring how this kind of investment could positively impact your company’s internal collaboration.
Is your communication as streamlined as it could be? Are there any inefficiencies that stand out, and is hopping among systems creating unnecessary stress?
The point is to think about these issues because communication is the foundation for strong relationships, internal and external. If you keep your employees engaged, they’ll be happier and more productive. If you keep your customers engaged, they’ll think of you the next time they’re looking for a solution. And that’s the ultimate goal, right?
In 2019, with all the new systems and technology available, a communication overhaul just might be key to your growth.
Author: Thomas Smale