on 18 September 18
Many businesses now have both staff and clients based around the country if not around the world. Our increasingly globalised society means we need to keep in touch without costs spiralling out of control.
Fortunately, technology has taken great leaps forward in the past few years, which means internal and external business communication is now easier than ever. Let’s look at five key ways technology helps us connect.
The first three innovations make use of VoIP connectivity and because this is both versatile and low cost it is a technology which has dramatically driven forward our ability to communicate. VoIP relies on sending both voice and video over the internet, thus lowering costs as it isn’t relying on an expensive landline network. It also offers a wide variety of applications.
If you need to meet with clients or train employees who aren’t in the same location then video conferencing can be the next best choice to in-person meetings; and it is an improvement on voice calls only. Being able to meet face-to-face, even with clients in another country, can be a big boon to building trust in your company during the sales process. Video conferencing also allows you to hold virtual staff meetings and connect with freelancers who work from home.
Another huge advantage of VoIP is the ability to allow customers to contact you quickly. Many businesses are now reaping the benefits of embedding ‘click-to-call’ buttons on their websites; in their client emails and newsletters; and even using it within online advertising. Google was quick to recognise the power of this technology and since incorporating it in their Adsense campaigns they have reported that more than 40% of the people using their search functionality take advantage of this option.
Support calls, particularly technical ones, can be radically shortened when you have the ability to screen share with callers. It’s much easier to show someone how to fix something than it is to walk through the process when you have little knowledge of what it happening on the person’s screen.
Screen share can also be used to train employees in different locations and to cut down the time needed for the induction process; meaning staff are up to speed and productive far more quickly.
Maybe we don’t consider email a cutting edge technology as it has now been around for quite a long time now. However, the way we use it is definitely changing. Large support departments within companies, which get hundreds if not thousands of emails per day, are now implementing email management systems. These comprise software able to allocate a ticket to every piece of communication so that senders know what is happening with their query at every stage. It often also weeds out spam and provides FAQs which answer a percentage of queries. This can save a substantial amount of time for people in the department and provides a more efficient service for customers.
Companies now have staff and freelancers working in many different countries and in multiple time zones. All these people need to be able to access the company’s data around the clock; and in addition multiple people often need to be working on the same files. Cloud computing has removed the headache of storing vast amounts of data; protecting it; and backing it up for individual companies. Instead it has placed it in the hands of providers who can ensure data is secure and accessible twenty-four hours a day.
This lessens downtime, improves document control, enhances collaboration and reduces hardware costs. In short, it is has radically improved the ability for companies to communicate internally.
Communication is the lifeblood of every business and being able to connect speedily and at low cost has a big impact on profit margins. Technology has already brought us a long way and it will be interesting to see what developments happen within the next few years which make our ability to communicate even easier.