Businesses need to communicate in order to survive and thrive. They have to engage their customers, vendors, investors, partners, and the wider public. And internally, their employees have to interact with each other so that they remain on the same page as they work to achieve their company’s aims.
In the distant past, most communication was done face-to-face. But this is changing. From writing on tablets and papers to live meetings via internet-enabled conference calls, the media that allow us to stay in touch with our contacts have multiplied. We now have more channels for talking with one another than ever before.
If you’re a businessperson, here are the top eight communication channels you can deploy to stay connected with your team and the world around you.
Communication technologies have certainly cut down the number of face-to-face sessions that happen in business. Yet, physical meetings have not been superseded. They remain the best way to establish professional relationships. This is partly because of the non-verbal cues and small talk that help to drive bonding much faster than voice, video or text can. The downside to this option is that it tends to be more expensive than digital channels, as you may have to pay to eliminate the distance between you and your conversation partner.
The telephone has been around for more than a century, so it’s no surprise that it appears on this list. However, recent innovation around this rather old technology has democratized it and made it more efficient. VoIP phones, which allow users to make voice calls over the internet, have become the preferred option for businesses. The reasons for this are simple: they typically guarantee better voice quality, and are less expensive than legacy phone systems.
In its early days, video calling was sketchy and unreliable. But it got better as internet connections and other supporting technologies improved. While it’s steadily grown in popularity over the past few years, the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated its use.
The global lockdowns caused team members to work remotely, and they often had to communicate using video conferencing platforms. Today, applications like Zoom, Google Meet and Skype have become favourite communication tools for distributed teams.
Employees will often have to work on projects with each other in real time. And this would mean that they have to chat, share and jointly edit files, and get input and approval from managers, among other things. Collaboration tools such as Slack, Asana, and Trello are designed for these purposes. They enable team members to continuously align each other’s work, maintain a high level of productivity, and meet their operational targets.
More businesses are communicating with their customers via live chat. They do so because it’s easy to use, and can be less demanding than spending several minutes on a phone call. What’s more, companies don’t even need to have a human agent on their end of the chat stream. They can utilize chatbots, which can take on the most basic customer inquiries. And as Artificial Intelligence (AI) gets more sophisticated, these bots will be able to attend to even more complex customer demands. On the whole, they save businesses money that would otherwise have been spent on maintaining human client service agents.
It’s true that SMS isn’t nearly as widely used as it once was; and that’s thanks to the emergence of instant messaging apps like WhatsApp and Telegram. But SMS isn’t dead. In fact, it has a 98% open rate—much higher than you’ll get with emails, for instance. This means that most people who receive your SMS will read them. It’s no wonder that many businesses still use SMS marketing to reach their target audiences.
As we’ve just stated, instant messaging applications have become quite popular in recent times. They offer quick, convenient, and low cost messaging functionalities.
These characteristics have made them popular with the public. Businesses looking to connect and engage with potential and existing customers can maintain a WhatsApp or Telegram account, with which they can send and receive messages.
For decades, email has been used for both internal and external business communication. There’s little sign of it losing its allure. More than 319 billion emails were sent and received daily in 2021—up 4.3% from the total in 2020. Current projections suggest that 333 billion will be sent and received per day in 2022. Email is perhaps the most formal of all digital channels; it’s used for Business-to-Business (B2B) and Business-to-Customer (B2C) interactions. But it’s also one of the least expensive digital channels to use.
Businesses cannot survive without communication. It’s needed to keep them functioning internally. It’s also required for marketing, selling, and building steady business-customer relationships. If you run a business, you can utilize a mix of the options we’ve discussed here to help your enterprise engage effectively with the world.Featured Image Source: The Profit Recipe
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