Communication is a critical ingredient for the success of any business. To ensure that clear and concise communication happens in this age of the internet and social media, you need to integrate digital communication platforms into your business.
In most cases, the business communication platform uses several channels to pass the information along, including conference video calls, group task management, and mass text messages. Additionally, some business communication platforms, like the virtual phone system Call Cowboy or similar ones, aid in team communication due to their ease of integration with other software. Also, other communication platforms allow for file sharing functions and customer management functions to guarantee clear information transfer within the business cycle.
With this significant benefit, you can tell that your business may be missing out if you haven’t integrated the use of a business communication platform. If you’re not sure how to go about it, don’t worry.
This article defines a business communication platform and provides the steps involved in choosing a business communication platform. Also, it offers the benefits and challenges you may experience from using different communication platforms, like voip dialer. Keep reading to learn more.
What Are Business Communication Platforms?
Business communication platforms are software that provides all-in-one services whereby businesses can share files, create groups, and communicate both internally and externally. These platforms are divided into five groups, which are:
- Internal Communications Platforms
These platforms allow communication between employees, managers, and partners. In this category, you communicate through group chats and calls.
- Customer Communication Platforms
Platforms in this category help offer better customer service by providing a means by which they can get in touch with you and get the help they want.
- Collaboration Platforms
Collaboration platforms allow you to work on a project with other employers by sharing ideas and progress through screen sharing and virtual whiteboarding.
- Project Management Tools
These tools are used to launch products, manage vendors, market campaigns, and check sales.
- Video Conferencing Tools
Video conferencing tools are used to substitute for physical meetings and events. Additionally, you can use these tools to hold virtual training.
Not all communication platforms serve specific purposes according to the categories to which they belong. Some platforms serve more than one function. If you’re unsure how to choose the right business communication platform, here’s a guide.
How To Choose A Business Communication Platform
Here are steps that can guide you in choosing the right communication platform for your business:
First, Consider Who’ll Be Using The Platform
Business platforms vary in ease of use. Some are complicated, while others are easy to use. When choosing a communication platform for your business, you need to consider the people who’ll be using it in terms of the skills they possess. Some employees may have tech skills and an understanding of using complex platforms, while others don’t. Also, age can cause a difference. Younger people tend to learn the use of complicated tools faster than older employees. Therefore, for everyone’s sake, you should choose a communication tool that’ll be easy for everyone to use.
Proceed To Check The Features Offered By A Communication Tool
There are various ways your business can benefit from communication tools. The deciding factor in choosing one is based on the type and number of features in a platform. Some platforms have many features, while others have few. When looking for a communication platform for your business, you must choose one with the essential features your business needs. You don’t want to spend on a platform with all the tools and features, but you’ll only use a few.
Some of the key features a business communication platform should have include:
- Direct Messaging: As stated above, communication is essential in every business. Therefore, you need to pick a platform where employees can easily communicate with each other. You can connect easily by sending messages to other workers. Additionally, direct messaging can be done in groups. Group communication makes it easy as it can be challenging to bring the team members into one place.
- Video Calls: Besides sending messages directly, you can also consider getting a platform that will allow you to have video chats. Video chats help you when you need to have a presentation to your team members, but you’re in a different location. Moreover, you can opt for a platform that offers screen-sharing during video calls. Screen-sharing is helpful when making a presentation online.
- Audio Calls: At times, messaging can take time. Therefore, you may require a communication tool that saves time by allowing you to make calls. Time-saving is achieved, especially when you want to communicate with many people simultaneously. Also, audio calls help clarify things that weren’t well understood when messaging.
When choosing a business communication platform, always ensure that the tools and features you need are available to avoid paying an extra price for those you won’t need for your business. This way, you can save money on subscription costs while improving communication in your operations.
Check The Devices That Can Support The Platform
In today’s era, many businesses have adopted the hybrid work model whereby some employees work from home while others work in the office. If your business is one of them, you need a communication platform that computers and smartphones can support. That is because some employees working remotely may not have laptops to access the communication tool. Also, in case of an emergency or an urgent issue, you can use your smartphone to access the platform wherever you are.
Confirm If The Platform Will Align With Your Business’s Goals
Before purchasing something, it’s good to consider how it’ll benefit you. One of the ways a communication platform can be beneficial is if it helps you achieve your business goals. When it comes to communication, you may have plans such as:
- Reducing Email Load. Communicating everything via email can lead to missing out on information since you can’t categorize whether the received message is urgent or work-related.
- Reducing Costs. If employees communicate through calls, it can be costly as you’ll have to purchase airtime for every employee. It is more expensive than getting a platform whereby an internet connection will be the only requirement.
- Better Communication. A platform that allows you to text, video call, and share documents enhances communication, unlike other communication.
With a reliable business communication platform, you can rest easy that your goal to optimize communication processes is within reach. The right platform should help your business simplify its day-to-day operations for more efficient business life.
Next, Consider The Security Of A Communication Platform
Cyber threats are one of the issues that have risen with the increased use of technology. For this reason, many businesses and individuals consider the security of an application or platform before using it. The more secure a platform is, the lower the risk of cybersecurity threats.
When it comes to choosing a business communication platform, you should also consider whether it’ll be secure to use or not. It would be best if you went for a communication tool that’ll keep your information private and confidential.
You can check several things to confirm a platform’s security level. They include:
- Admin Roles. On communication platforms, admins have the authority to choose who can log in, which level of the platform you can access, and so on.
- Cloud Storage Availability. Cloud storage is where you can store your information online instead of printing and storing it as hard copies.
- Log In Security. To ensure unauthorized people don’t access your platform, a platform should allow you to set passwords that your employees can use to identify themselves when logging in.
Moreover, your platform should allow you to restrict the content posted on it. It will help ensure only the necessary information is updated.
Consider The Type Of Customer Support Offered By The Service Provider
Technological issues may happen at any time. Since a business communication platform is the primary means of communication among employees and customers, you’ll have to fix the problem as soon as possible to avoid downtime. The type of customer support offered by the company offering you a communication platform determines how fast you can resolve a technical issue. If customer support is excellent, it’ll be easy to get in touch with customer service through email, calls, or social media. Communicating with their customer service will let you know how long the issue will last and how you might need their assistance.
Further, excellent customer support is determined by the hours the customer service functions. As stated above, technological issues can occur at any time. Therefore, good customer support should respond at any time. In other words, it must be available 24/7.
Lastly, Compare The Price With Your Budget
In business, it’s essential to have a budget for the things you spend money on. It helps avoid overspending. Communication platforms are available at different prices depending on the features added. The more features are available on a communication tool, the more costly it’ll be. Therefore, even though many features will be an advantage to your business, you need to remember how much you’re willing to spend.
Additionally, regarding price, you should consider getting a platform that offers upgrading options. That is because your business may grow with time. This growth may require you to upgrade your communication platform. It’s more affordable to upgrade your communication platform instead of getting another one.
Benefits Of Having A Business Communication Platform
Here are some advantages of having a business communication tool:
- It Promotes A Healthy Culture In Your Business
Not all businesses have a good working environment. The better the working environment is, the better the culture. Employee engagement is one factor that determines how a working environment is. Businesses with engaged employees demonstrate a healthy culture because they understand each other better and can work in harmony through engagement.
- It Reduces Email Overload
Before companies started using innovative business communication tools on the market today, the primary means of communication was email, which was used for various purposes, such as:
- Receiving and sending feedback
- Status report
- Assigning tasks
- Sharing files
- Sending updates
- Communicating with other employees, and many more.
Luckily, with a business communication platform, you’ll minimize the use of email and categorize matters according to their urgency levels.
- It Minimizes Employee Turnover
One of the ways you can minimize employee turnover is by ensuring they’re satisfied. How can you do so? Having a communication platform allows employees to engage and air out their concerns. It will help you know the areas to work on and, as a result, make your employees feel valued, reducing turnover.
- Improves Customer Satisfaction Levels
A business communication platform improves customer satisfaction levels in two ways.
- One, it gives customers a channel through which they can communicate their concerns or provide feedback.
- Two, it allows the team members in the customer service department to gain information from clients and know the areas that need improvement.
In a business, allowing your customers to communicate with you regarding purchasing concerns, among others, will help you create a pool of satisfied customers. That is because when their concerns are heard and addressed, they can feel valued beyond business transactions. In the long run, these customers will keep returning because they know you are a trustworthy brand.
- It Boosts Productivity
Communication plays an essential role in a business’s productivity. When employees have a faster and easier way of communicating, they spend less time on communication and use the extra time on other roles. Additionally, a business communication platform allows employees to access updates and relevant information needed in some processes.
- It Promotes Coordination With Remote Workers
Your business may be among the companies that allowed some workers to continue working remotely after the COVID-19 pandemic. For such a work model to function, you need a communication tool that will enable you to communicate well with these workers. A business communication platform will allow remote workers to share and keep up with those working from the office.
Having a business communication platform isn’t all roses. You may face challenges in the process.
The Challenges Of Using A Business Communication Platform
Here are some challenges you may have to deal with when using a business communication platform:
- It Can Be Cumbersome When Training New Employees
New employees in your business are good news as they’ll help in areas that need extra hands. However, before you enjoy their help, you must take them through the business’s procedures and roles. A business communication platform adds to the training responsibilities as you’ll also have to teach them how to use your communication platform.
- Overload Of Irrelevant Information
Similar to email, you may find employees sending irrelevant information, leading to overload. It is brought about by not knowing which ones need to stay on the platform and which ones don’t. Too much irrelevant information may lead to employees missing out on important information as they may skim through the information on the platform.
- Language Barrier
At times, you may have employees that speak different languages. Having a platform that uses one specific language may disadvantage employees that aren’t familiar with that language. It may lead to misinterpretation of information, which may affect their productivity.
- Limited Budget
As mentioned earlier, your platform’s features determine how much money you spend developing your platform. Sometimes, you may have a limited budget but still need more features on your platform. It may be a challenge if you don’t have a source of extra money for platform development.
Summing It Up!
Communication is an essential aspect of business as it determines its success. To ensure that your business performs well, you need a business communication platform that will enhance easy and fast communication among employees. Also, a communication platform helps improve customer service. To achieve these benefits, you need a business communication platform. You can use this article to understand more benefits of a business communication platform and how you can develop one.