We all understand how important communication really is. It’s the core for exchanging information in-house and between your customers and your business. If you have no communication channels, you can’t expect to run a successful business because you can’t know what’s going on. This is why we feel it’s necessary to shine a light on the best communication channels. In this article, we’ll look over software solutions and digital apps which can be labelled as the top communication channels for your business. Let’s get to it.
Firstly, how should your business organize communication?
It’s easy to think that you only need to set up a social media profile, an email support staff, and have a few people reachable by phone. Efficient communication is much more than that. First of all, you need to think about the needs of your customers and the needs of your organization. If you’re able to find the silver lining between wide reach and personalization of comms, you can create and begin communicating more efficiently. Here’s a chart showing how much reach different methods of communication get.
As you can see, social media gets the widest reach. But at the same time, it’s the least personalized communication channel. This means that businesses dependent on user experience and exclusivity, shouldn’t necessarily be focused too much on communicating with their clients via Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc.
At the very bottom, you see face-to-face communication and phone conversations. They have the smallest reach but offer the most personalized experience. Think about it, would you buy a car just by seeing a post on social media? Or would you be more likely to buy a car after a professional salesperson showed you around it, highlighted its best features, and offered to ride along on a test drive? Seems pretty self-explanatory. Your goal would be to make a priority list (hierarchical chart) of communication channels. Outline what’s most important and focus most of your attention on those areas.
#1 - Live chat tools for customers
If you want to maximize customer satisfaction and get more insights from your clients, you shouldn’t hesitate to implement a live chat feature. Not convinced yet? Well, research shows that live chat is the most preferred communication channel for customers all over the world. It’s a lot better rated than comms on social media, FAQ, or even phone conversations. Here’s the full chart.
According to customers, there are a few reasons why they prefer this sort of communication over others. To begin with, people appreciate the fact that they can avoid calling and get their questions answered immediately (approx. 80% of users like that). Furthermore, people aren’t limited on what else they can do, meaning multitasking is still available (appreciated by around 50% of users). From their experience, it’s the most efficient method of communicating with businesses, users say (close to 50% mentioned it). Other perks of live chat include the fact that 1 in 4 people don’t like doing business on the phone, 1 in 3 say they get the best information, and 1 in 5 claims that this is a much more discreet way of solving issues while they’re at work, in town, etc.
Atlasmic can be your go-to tool for maximum efficiency in live chatting with customers. By having all of the necessary data at your disposal, engaging with customers, and utilizing user-friendly features like status tracking and CRM-like user management modules, you can boost customer satisfaction and help your business.
#2 - Choosing the right social media platform for reach
It’s unavoidable nowadays. Unless you’re a 300-year-old boutique brand that hasn’t spent a single dollar on advertising and still see high revenues, there’s no reason for you not to be active on social media.
Don’t forget that social media is all about your brand and reaching your clients. It’s not meant to be optimized for inter-department comms or something of that nature. Here’s a graphic that shows the benefits of different social media platforms and what they’re best for.
So, what does this chart tell us? To begin with - every single social media outlet is vastly different. If you compare Twitter and YouTube or Instagram and LinkedIn, they have vastly different demographics and concepts. Such information can tell you whether your business should be striving to be active and communicate via these channels or not.
Let’s just give an example. Think about an online store that sells high-quality, premium brand stylish sneakers. Most customers are between 16 and 30 years old. According to our chart - Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube seem to be the best platforms to reach them. LinkedIn is eliminated from the equation immediately. But what about Pinterest and Facebook? Well, it depends on your resources and brand identity. Pinterest is not usually optimized for business-related communication while Facebook can be effective for shops, but does require a lot of investment into visual aspects and copy.
#3 - Collaborating on project management
Instead of having to open 100’s of different chat groups and conversations on WhatsApp, Viber, Slack, or anywhere else, you should dedicate your attention to project management apps. It’s especially useful if you have remote employees in one or more teams if you employ freelancers or rotate between office hours and remote work. Here’s a chart showing how proper project management can help optimize productivity.
If you use platforms like Trello, Asana, and others to collaborate on project management, you instantly make it easier for everyone to see what they have to do and when. Stats show that decent project management can improve the performance of employees by a whopping 13%. Besides, there is less confusion as to who’s responsible for what and so on.
Project management software can remove the unnecessary back-and-forths between employees and various departments as managers can assign tasks for their employees and decentralize pretty much every day-to-day task. On the other hand, every employee can be hands-on with the work that they do without having to go over and ask tons of questions of anybody else.
Most of these applications have built-in chat and comment boxes. This means that you can completely handle in-house communication just on project management apps, if need may be. Of course, more minuscule things like asking colleagues what they want for lunch, will probably still be done via Slack or the likes of WhatsApp, but you definitely should see the benefit of implementing project management software.
#4 - In-house communication
Finally, you have to have a centralized network and outlet for communication in-house. It’s not uncommon for larger businesses with intranets to still be using outdated software but newer businesses should definitely embrace cutting-edge software to keep track of every piece of data and get the most from experience whilst boosting employee satisfaction. With that being said, there are so many ways to go about handling in-house communication. Let’s look at them one by one, and let’s see how your business can find the communication channel which is best for them in 2021:
Email - it’s definitely a formal means of communication, but it’s very versatile. You can schedule meetings, write updates, newsletters, share links, and much more. It’s easy to structure and categorize data, and email platforms are usually quite easily linked with project management, CRM, or other business tools. Gmail and MS Outlook are the leading solutions in this area.
Face-to-face - probably the method which allows to get the most done and creates the most value long-term. There’s no room for misinterpretation of messages, etc. However, it’s not always optimal in terms of scheduling and getting everyone in the same place at the right time. Face-to-face communication should be looked at as a solution to communicate the most important issues.
Messaging apps - purely for informal communication. Helps arrange and change things in real-time, gives the staff more flexibility and access to the most important information at moment’s notice.
Video calls - video calls are considered to be the best alternative for face-to-face communication. You can get a lot of value and fresh ideas from video meetings. However, there’s the same downside of having to schedule and get everyone in the same chat room at the same time. Besides, whereas real-life face-to-face isn’t hampered by connection or technical issues, video calls can be.
So, the top communication channels to use in 2021 are live chat, proper social media channels, project management apps, and tools for in-house communication. Live chat is the best way to improve customer satisfaction and have usable data for your CRM. Social media is the best thing to reach more and more people but it will never have the personalization effect which face-to-face communication offers. Thus, you have to find a balance between reach and personalization. Finally, when it comes to in-house communication and project management, there are also a wide variety of tools to choose from. Make sure you get feedback from your staff or check it out for yourself before deciding to license and purchase certain software.