The way a business communicates — internally or externally — is key to its success. Through communication, you can determine the strengths and weaknesses in your business and its products. You can also work with the necessary parties to improve quality and serve your valued customers better. In this post, we will discuss what business communication entails and how to better enhance it to align with your business’s goals.
Business Communication: Definition
What is business communication? Business communication refers to sharing information internally (within the office and its teams) and externally (between the business and its customers).
Effective communication in a business should be goal-oriented. That is, everyone in the company interacts and works towards a common goal. And this goal should revolve around creating better experiences for customers, thereby improving customer satisfaction and sales.
And so, communication within teams and departments or between management and its employees will generally include:
- Making plans and setting goals
- Presenting new business, marketing, and sales ideas
- Making decisions
- Compromising, as needed
- Meetings with agendas and goals in place, and so on
Good and reliable communication systems can help increase a business’s productivity and organization. Unclear or miscommunication can lead to the core systems failing. Therefore, it is extremely crucial to pay attention to both internal and external business communication.
Different Types of Business Communication
A business communicates in two general ways: internal and external communication.
This type of communication is focused internally within business teams or departments. Internal business communication consists of different types of communication:
- Upward communication — going up the organizational hierarchy such as from a subordinate to a manager.
- Downward communication — going down the organizational hierarchy such as from a manager or supervisor to a subordinate.
- Lateral communication — also known as technical communication refers to cross-departmental interaction between team members or coworkers.
This type of communication relates to any interaction or communication leaving the office or coming from outside the office. External business communication deals with interacting with customers, business contacts, vendors, etc. Examples:
- Sales and telesales
- Conducting market research
- Obtaining customer feedback
- Managing leads and prospects
- Account management, and so on
Communication Methods: Ways to Communicate for Business
Like any other type of communication, businesses interact internally and externally either verbally or in writing. And so business communication takes place in person or face-to-face, through phone conversations, video conferencing, chat, email and SMS exchanges, etc. In broader terms, businesses generally communicate in-person or remotely.
Choosing what method of communication is best for your company depends on a few factors. For instance, written communication is good for documentation of ideas and actions while verbal allows for instantaneous and collaborative idea formation. Additionally, your communication methods would depend on where your business is located, its hours, how many people are involved, whether you have offices in different time zones (remote offices), and so on.
So what are some different methods that can be used for effective communication?
- Written communication — This consists of emails and mail primarily and can also include chat and instant messaging portals. Examples: Gmail, Outlook, Slack, Teamwork, Google Hangouts, etc.)
- Phone conversations — This consists of communicating via telephones, smartphones, or a cloud phone system where two or more people are actively involved and participating in the conversation.
- Video conferencing — This takes phone conversations to a visual level where remote teams can work more in sync through video, mimicking in-person meetings.
- In-person meetings — In-person meetings are every business’s most preferred communication method as they promote clear interaction and decisions more quickly.
- Web-based communication — This includes communication over web applications or a cloud phone system: email, live chat, virtual phone numbers, messaging apps, video-chat apps, and so on.
- Official documents — This refers to any essential documentation such as agreements, terms and conditions, medical records, and so on. Such documents reduce confusion, protect against liability and fraud, and provide clarity.
- Presentations — Presentations through PowerPoint slides or using other tools can come in very handy when presenting ideas, strategies, and even training to a large group.
- FAQs and content — This type of communication is externally-focused. Having a well-designed website includes providing informational and educational content and FAQs so web-visitors can find what they are looking for and witness your company’s expertise.
- Surveys and feedback — This refers to internal surveys studying how teams are working and customer surveys to determine how customers can be served better. The ultimate goal is to identify areas of weaknesses and convert them into strengths as well as opening up a communication channel between all levels of the office hierarchy.
- Customer-related — Covers customer interaction, support, CRM systems, reviews, etc.
Setting Up Business Communications
It is important to find the right business communication system for your company. Ideally, you want systems that you need and will use effectively. When setting up your communication system, keep these steps in mind:
1) Review your current business communication set-up and identify new goals.
Before reinventing your communication system, review the current one to understand its strengths and weaknesses. This will help you determine what to look for in the new system. Consider some common reasons why communication systems need replacement:
- Low employee satisfaction
- Low customer satisfaction or weak caller experience
- Information being lost due to remote work or improper documentation
Then consider what your company’s goals are:
- Low employee turnover rate
- High customer satisfaction rate
- Proper tracking of projects, documents, interactions, tasks, etc.
2) Consider how you want your core groups to communicate with each other.
Next, develop a structure for how your teams will communicate:
- Horizontally (departments)
- Vertically (between teams and managers)
- Externally (between the company and customers, suppliers, partners).
In order to create this structure, consider:
- Which teams need to talk daily.
- Which teams need specific methods of communication. For example, do all teams need access to phones or direct lines? Or, do all teams need a project management system that documents tasks and projects?
- How can managers maintain and report progress in a department? What tools might they need?
- Can a forum or knowledge base be created to reduce meetings/interactions regarding basic elements?
3) Choose methods of communication suitable for your needs.
Based on the above analysis, pick from the communication methods discussed above that would fit well with your core groups. Then consider which methods are absolutely needed and which can be optional.
4) Invest in the right communication tools.
Some businesses start off using the most commonly-used tools such as Gmail, Outlook, Google Drive, Microsoft Office, Slack, Google Hangouts, etc. However, what tools are best suited for your company depends on what you want to achieve through them. Here are some tips to keep in mind:
- If you run a small business, use a single tool for email, internal chat, and calendars that can be shared, etc. Using multiple platforms can lead to confusion and slow down important processes.
- For external business communication, create guidelines regarding your brand. For example, editorial notes, tone of voice, etc., and make sure that everyone communicating externally is made aware of your brand’s voice.
- Consider an easy-to-use and reliable VoIP phone system to keep remote teams well-connected.
- You may even consider investing in virtual phone numbers that help you communicate easily with international customers.
- Use cloud storage to secure and keep track of important documents.
- You may even consider using a project management system such as Teamwork or Monday to keep track of projects and tasks as they move within different teams and departments.
How Global Call Forwarding Can Help
We can provide you with essential communication tools to boost internal and external communications. From VoIP to a variety of virtual phone numbers and communication features, we can help you build and set up a high-functioning office phone system that keeps you connected no matter where you or your teams are located. For more information, speak to an expert at 1 (888) 908 6171.