Communication is what sets the great businesses apart from the rest. Clear communication ensures essential tasks are completed efficiently and accurately whether it’s interacting with customers or interpersonal communications. Unfortunately, communication tends to be a point of contention for many companies.
Whether you’re a solo entrepreneur or managing a large startup, use these six tips to improve your business communication.
Invest in the Right Communication Tools
Having the right tools is paramount when trying to improve your business communication. This is more important than ever since remote work is increasing and people are required to work from home. Investing in intuitive video conferencing tools can facilitate “face-to-face” meetings in a way that emails will never be able to replicate. Using VOIP telephone services can improve reliability and accessibility on the go.
Take time to brainstorm and identify communication pain points within your business. This will give you a strong starting point for vetting tools to solve the problems.
Enforce Office Hours
Finding a balance between work responsibilities and self-care is a challenge for business owners and employees worldwide. We work in a society that’s become accustomed to instant gratification. This constant connectivity is a catalyst for burnout and miscommunications.
Set office hours within your business and encourage your employees to do the same. It’s reasonable to refuse to check your business emails between 6 pm and 8 am. The key to doing this without causing hard feelings is to manage expectations by making your response time clear. Set up an autoresponder to let customers and team members know that they can expect you to respond within 24 hours, then stick to the expectation.
Create Accessibility for Customers
While creating boundaries is important, so is creating accessibility. Customers are no longer satisfied with waiting on hold for hours because they know there are better ways to communicate. The upcoming generations prefer text and online communication to voice interactions. How can you accommodate them to improve your quality of service?
Add different channels of communication to interact with customers so that they will feel heard and valued. Using chat responders and having text support service lines are a few modern options to consider.
Cut Back on Emails
Emails are time-consuming, tedious, and inefficient in a modern office setting. It’s estimated that the average worker spends 28% of their day dealing with work-related emails. This realization has caused many companies to put email blockers in place, encouraging their employees to pick up the phone and have a discussion.
Replace your general email conversations with instant messaging and cloud sharing to cut back on the back-and-forth.
Create an Open Door Policy
The difference between being a manager and being a leader is how you engage with your team. Creating an open-door policy can encourage open, respectful communication that will boost employee engagement and morale. Let your team know that they can come to you with any feedback or concerns they may have. Facilitate a culture of mentorship and coaching to look at the individual beyond their role at work, asking them how you can help them learn and grow.
If you’re working in a remote environment, reach out regularly to communicate with your team and ask about any challenges they’re experiencing. As a business owner, you should model the behavior you hope to see in your team members.
Clarify Communication Etiquette and Policies
Be clear about communication expectations in your business. Put policies in place that discuss how employees should talk to customers and what the expectation is for response time on internal communications. Having communication etiquette written out and accessible to everyone will reduce communication gaps and give people a framework for their interactions.
With these six tips, you can improve communication within your business for a more streamlined, productive work environment.