Best Office Communication Systems
Communication is vital in every business, both internally and externally. As a business to gain new clients, you need to be able to communicate clearly to them what problems you solve with your service or product. Then to retain customers, it is essential to communicate distinctly with them so you become a source they can trust.
Why is communication important in business?
Internal communication, however, is the lifeblood of any business. How frustrating is it when, as a customer, you have to repeat your question or problem to numerous people within the same organisation simply because they don’t communicate inter-departmentally?
But it doesn’t have to be this way.
Effective communication means:
- Customers get their needs met quickly and efficiently.
- Team members are kept up-to-date and can, therefore, react appropriately.
- Team members are more productive.
Communicating within the business environment is easy, and there are numerous products and systems available to suit all of your business needs. Communication tools have progressed a lot further than merely relying on a telephone or an email provider.
Types of Communication Systems
With remote working the norm since the Covid-19 pandemic took hold in March 2020 digital communication systems have become more and more important as the need to communicate remotely is essential. There are a number of types of communication systems in business that enable remote teams to communicate effectively which include:
This has always been a staple communication tool providing a ‘paper’ trail of communication as well as convenient for non-urgent requirements.
There are various instant messaging services including social media applications (Facebook, WhatsApp, Microsoft Teams) but also in-house services bespoke to your business. (Teams, Slack.)
Used frequently on websites for enquiries and customer services Live Chat can provide communication with a human or a bot 24/7 and can ensure your clients always have the help they need.
Like email phone calls are still a legitimate form of communication either through VOIP, landlines or mobile devices.
In the past year video calls (e.g. Zoom) have become mainstream for both business and leisure activities.
Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems
Although not a form of communication in themselves they make communicating with clients more efficient by providing a full record of prior communication as well as linking with email and other documents.
Whichever system is used – and most businesses use a combination of all of these systems – communication is vital for your business, whether that is between staff in-house or communicating with clients and customers.
Communication Tools for Businesses
VoIP Communication Systems
This includes such services as the EVE phone system, which not only provides your business with a telephone system but also with collaboration tools. EVE ensures clients and staff can communicate effectively using several applications such as collaborative whiteboard sessions, video conferencing and in-system chats designed to streamline communication processes.
Microsoft offers two communication solutions including Lync, which allows collaborative working using video calls, phone calls, instant messaging and collaborative working environments. It has very similar capability to Microsoft Teams, both of which are part of the Office 365 package. The main difference is that Teams does not offer phone capabilities.
Project Management Tools
There are various Project Management Tools such as Basecamp which is a cloud-based portal that can help communication between internal staff (in-house and remote) as well as clients. It is possible to create task lists, opportunities for file sharing and instant messaging. Another similar tool is Monday.com which offers similar capabilities but also integrates with Slack which enables turning team messages into active tasks. It is also possible from within Slack chat rooms to create Google Hangouts.
Monday.com also allows for task management processes, chats with team members, and document sharing with virtual team hubs where all documents and notes can be found in one place.
Team collaboration tools are increasingly being adopted by businesses who have a large workforce with remote workers. Collaboration tools are great for projects which require involvement from different departments or individuals with specific skill sets. Tools such as Slack and Microsoft Teams are purpose-built with this in mind. Microsoft Teams have a wide range of functionality, and the software can be used to conduct video conferences, sharing of documents and much much more. At CIS, we often use Microsoft Teams to ensure that projects can be collaborated on efficiently, to hold video meetings and to share documents.
There are a number of these Task-Tracking Applications including Redbooth which also has an integrated chat capability. Chats can be linked to specific tasks and make collaboration and communication more efficient. An alternative to Redbooth is Wrike which enables you to connect team members directly with particular tasks as well as in-app messaging.
These application types include Blink, which helps bring remote colleagues together with office-based team members. The application includes messaging both private and group chats, a company feed, a directory and cloud storage. This is compatible with Office 365 and G-Suite as well as Android, iOS, Windows and Mac.
Workplace from Facebook provides an internal social network for your specific organisation. The app enables live video and audio conferencing, messaging both private and group chat and unlimited cloud storage for files.
How business communications work
Web-based communication platforms in business can be an integral introduction to your working processes, as long as everyone is on board. They can ensure that team members are able to contact each other quickly and efficiently and keep track of conversations through a centralised system.
The majority of business and communication systems include a number of add-ons and compatibilities which mean it really is essential for all staff to be using the same platforms. Such benefits include:
This becomes easier for both internal and remote staff as well as clients, and freelancers. Documents can be set up so anyone can edit (or not) and the latest version is saved ensuring all interested parties are working from the same document.
Such communication software can also ensure there is a centralised task-list where tasks can be assigned to specific individuals and any changes are saved in real time.
A robust CRM will include all client data, as well as communication threads, shared documents and email communication. This means anyone speaking with a client can be up to date with their connection with the business. With a VOIP phone system it is also possible to record phone-calls against the client data providing a fuller record.
By ensuring only one platform is being used throughout your company ensures that all communication is in one place which will save time and ultimately make your team more productive. Imagine the time lost with people looking for a message or a document when they can’t remember if it was in Outlook, WhatsApp, Skype or Facebook. If everything is in one place, everyone will know where to go for the information they need.
Any communication platform is only as good as the users, so it is key to ensure all users are signed on and set up with the permissions they need. With on-going training, it won’t be long before all business communications go through the chosen platform making for a more efficient team, which will end up with better team and better client relationships.
What are the best communication platforms?
There are numerous platforms out there to choose from, and each has its pros and cons. It can be quite daunting when trying to select an appropriate platform for your business and its specific needs. Here is a look at the top five platforms available:
With Skype being discontinued in July 2021, Zoom has taken over as the video conferencing platform of choice. With both free and paid-for versions Zoom allows video conferencing with up to 1,000 participants, screen sharing, break-out room capability and meeting recording.
Slack is popular with large companies like eBay and Sony and offers a team-based communication platform which is compatible with MailChimp, Google Drive and Dropbox meaning it is easy for businesses to communicate and share documents from wherever they are based. The team chats are searchable, and there is the capability of going to Google Hangouts from the internal chat rooms.
3) Workplace by Facebook
This is a team communication platform which helps to strengthen relationships between team members, either in-office or remotely. With the ability to run live video and audio conferences, there are also private, and group chat capabilities and opportunities for file sharing, which keeps your team up to date with the tasks in hand. It is compatible with Google Drive and Dropbox and can link with Google Calendar.
Zula is a relative newcomer to web-based communication in the business arena and was co-founded by the founder of VoIP. It is a web and mobile app which has real-time audio and video chats, messaging and conference call capabilities. It is easy to collaborate with colleagues and clients using Gmail, LinkedIn, and Facebook.
Hipchat is a messaging tool that has the capability of private messages, group chat rooms, video conferencing with screen and file sharing. This can be accessed using the cloud or through your business’s in-house servers depending on your individual requirements.
At CIS we have several services which we provide and manage to help your business communications flourish. Explore our business communications systems and services below:
Here at CIS we offer VoIP phone systems, and we are a distributor of EVE (Exceptional Voice Everywhere) phone systems which includes instant messaging, video conferencing, playback and compatibility with various CRM systems. To find out more click here.
Unified Communications Technology (UCT)
We offer a cloud-based solution with fixed-line telephony, mobile, messaging and apps all within a single solution. This allows your team, remote or in-house, to collaborate and communicate wherever they are. To find out how this can help your business click here.
What style of businesses need VOIP?
With BT planning to drop analogue landlines in 2025, it is time for many businesses to start looking for an alternative phone system. This change will primarily affect small businesses who use telephone communication as their main contact with clients.
VOIP isn’t suited to one type of business more than another, as it has benefits for small businesses, large businesses and even home use. As long as there is a stable internet connection a VOIP system would work for your business.
However, the larger the organisation, and the more employees there are your business will be able to take better advantage of some of the features of a VOIP system such as call forwarding, call recording, collaborative whiteboard sessions, video conferencing and in-system chats.
But small businesses that are hoping to grow will also benefit from using a VOIP system as the systems are easy to scale and therefore can grow with your business. Additionally, VOIP systems are part of the wider digital revolution and are therefore future proof as it will be easy to upgrade to ensure your business remains ahead of the curve.
Benefits of business communication systems
There is a lot to think about when deciding whether to invest in a business communication system and then to decide which system will be most appropriate for your business needs. But there are a lot of benefits of having one in place which include:
With a centralised system and clear processes in place there will be increased productivity amongst staff members as they will all be working from the latest files. There will no longer be long searches for relevant information, and everything can be carried out from within the platform.
More company loyalty
If the business processes within an organisation run smoothly, staff are happier and there will be a lower turnover rate. On average there is a 15% turnover rate in UK businesses so reducing this by even a small amount will save money on the recruitment process.
Increased customer satisfaction
If the staff are able to communicate clearly amongst themselves it becomes easier to speak with customers and to provide great customer service. This will increase customer satisfaction and could ultimately end up increasing revenue.
Do you want to know more about how CIS can improve your business processes through communication?
We would love to help. At CIS, we continually see the positive impact that optimised communications infrastructure has on our client’s business operations. Discover more about our business communications systems and services today, or speak to one of our advisors today on 01367 248 700 or email us at email@example.com.
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