Effective communication can make or break a company. It’s often the difference between a positive and negative customer experience. With small business owners juggling ten roles at once and working long hours, it can be easy to lose focus on the importance of keeping communication lines open, which is one of the reasons it is vital to streamline processes as much as possible. Here are five essential strategies for small business:
Communicate via the Cloud
If you don’t have a technological background, you may not be aware of the advantages of moving to an Internet-based phone system. You may have heard terms like “Broadsoft hosted PBX” and “hosted private branch exchange” thrown around, but what does it all mean? In simple terms, an internet-based phone system or hosted PBX means your business phone system is hosted on the cloud, just like moving from Microsoft Office to Office 365. With a cloud-based system, you don’t have to pay for, install, and update hardware – this happens automatically over the internet. It also allows you to access your business phone system anywhere, anytime, with advanced security so that no one will be able to tell whether you are taking a call on the road, from your lounge at home, or the office.
Create an Open Forum for Employees
Keeping internal lines of communication open helps to make employees feel valued and recognized. It also creates a culture of team spirit, accountability, and improved efficiency. Many organizations have moved away from email as a primary communication tool and are using chat programs for a more immediate and less formal option. Responding promptly to questions and queries will help keep the business running smoothly and minimize roadblocks, delays, and frustrations. Try WhatsApp, Slack, or Microsoft Teams.
Actively request and respond to feedback, both internally and externally. The best way to grow, learn, and improve as a company is to identify the pain points and strengths of your business and use this information when making decisions and creating plans going forward. To streamline business feedback, consider surveying your customers every quarter, assigning accountability for reviewing and responding to online reviews, and holding a monthly meeting with staff members to throw ideas around.
Listen and Be Present
We are always overwhelmed with distractions in our everyday lives – email notifications, texts, phone calls, suddenly remembering something we forgot to do, thinking ahead to what is next on our agenda. It can be challenging to switch all of the distractions off and focus entirely on the conversation and issue at hand. However, being present and listening and responding to the discussion at hand is an essential skill for excellent communication and often helps you get to the crux of the issue more quickly and effectively. Practicing mindfulness will help you to quiet your racing mind and focus on each task individually, which in term will help you to be more productive and minimize errors.
Finesse your Filing System
Gone are the days of employing a great receptionist with a stellar filing system, who could magically produce the right document at the drop of a hat from the paper archives. You need to implement a simple and intuitive filing system. Make sure that you have both a consistent file naming strategy and a folder structure that everyone understands and follows.
Setting up robust systems and processes is vital to streamlining communications for your business, so make it a priority.