Many companies are now looking to technology to help them strengthen traditional business functions. For example, paper memos distributed manually may now be shared through cloud-based documentation, and departments might use a channel-based messaging platform instead of email. While speed and efficiency may be the primary goal, the benefits of technology go beyond that. Below are ways that your business can use online tools to improve communication.
Communication between companies and customers and internal departments has increasingly moved away from phone calls and letters and technology-based methods. Customers and employees may also be working from somewhere other than a desk or landline. Our communication has become mobile, and procedures are evolving to keep up.
Communicating through business technology leads to improved access across departments. Whether it's by introducing channel-based platforms, automation through DevOps documentation, video conferencing or posting a spreadsheet via cloud-based software, technology-based communication ensures everyone can access information in real-time. It becomes easier to ask critical questions and response times are shorter.
Technology helps companies cut down on repetitive tasks. Data entry and record-keeping that once took hours can now be automated, freeing employees from long, redundant tasks and enabling them to focus on value-added work. It's often hard to stay focused on repetitive tasks, so automation through technology can increase engagement and productivity.
Productivity software can be specific to a department, used internally throughout the company, or used externally with customers or B2B. Examples include:
Sales tools: Automate the process of managing contacts, customer demographics and history, deals made, scheduling, and more.
Channel-based messaging: Use this tool internally and externally as an improved communication method to create central spaces for files, conversations and tools.
Time tracking: Cloud-based technology is used to clock in and out of various tasks, allowing you to see how and where time is spent.
E-signature software: This software allows you to send contracts and forms to clients so they can provide a legally binding electronic signature.
Application-connecting software: This type of software builds workflows by connecting your applications to automate routine tasks.
Runbooks: Information technology standardized procedures and documents can be stored for future reference and training to avoid figuring out a problem more than once.
Calendar software: These applications can be basic, displaying dates and events. They can be more complex and integrated with project management software to show tasks and their state of completion.
As customers move their attention from traditional media to online sources, companies must follow suit. To gain exposure, companies can invest in technology-based tools like social media and email campaigns.
At first, it may seem that the number of likes and followers measures social media success. Still, it's best to develop metrics on value-added behavior like click-throughs, conversion rates and engagement.
If you already have a social media campaign in place, it's a good idea to check and see how it works periodically. What social media networks are your customers using? Who is engaging with your posts? What is your competition doing, and what is working for them?
Beyond social media, many businesses use email campaigns to reach their audience. Email is still a relevant way to communicate, as more than 80% of internet users also use email. You can start a campaign by building a customer list. One way to create a relevant list is to encourage website visitors to subscribe. From there, you can create campaign subsets based on customer demographics. Consider sending welcoming emails to new subscribers and offering current subscribers a special discount or reward for loyal customers.
An audit of your email campaign is a good idea. You can approach it the same way you check in on social media campaigns, seeing what works well and what you might change.
From small companies to big businesses, technology can help improve communication with prospects, consumers and employees. There are many choices on the market and it may take some trial and error to find the right ones. When you do, though, they will help you build your business and increase productivity.