Communication is at the heart of all businesses. From how they receive and handle customer calls and enquiries to liaising with staff internally and externally, ensuring voice and internet speeds meet the needs of all stakeholders is vital.
So, what can businesses do to ensure that the highest levels of productivity, collaboration and customer satisfaction are achieved? Here are three top tips for SMEs and large enterprises to consider for better communication:
Establish a better call distribution system
Depending on the nature and size of the business, companies can employ a range of call routing options to best suit their needs. Traditionally, businesses have often worked with systems that are routed through a reception or dedicated operator. However, many organisations now require a more flexible approach to call distribution, directing calls to individual members of staff or even whole teams. Likewise, for those in sales, calls may need to be distributed equally amongst all team members to create a fair and quick response to prospects and customers.
Some organisations that handle larger call volumes, with receptionists often busy directing other callers, may need to implement an automated system whereby a software-based menu is used to ensure that the caller can get through to the appropriate colleague or department. This type of call distribution is more relevant for larger businesses such as customer services or product support lines where there are multiple departments within the company. The addition of call centre software can also be added to ensure a continued service for clients and much shorter hold times.
The key objective is to consider the best communications setup for the nature of a business and one that will remain reliable and will operate seamlessly from an internal and external point of view.
Keep communication open with remote workers
Remote workers make up a considerable proportion of many modern industries, so it is essential that mobile staff, head office and customers are streamlined and employees can continue to work together and share information, effectively. Mobile connectivity has allowed a basic level of connectivity when team members are in the field, but the systems are often not integrated enough to provide an effective all-round solution.
Depending on the requirements of the business, team members may need to obtain customer records remotely and frequently be in contact with other staff members as well as customers. Staff aren’t expected to know everything, but they are expected to find the answers from their colleagues efficiently. They need a solution that can create an effective remote working environment, as if they were working from the office.
It’s in a business’ best interest to guarantee that customers too have an easy process to follow when contacting the company. They don’t need the hassle of calling multiple phone numbers to get through to the appropriate contact, and if there’s an issue at hand they need to be able to get through to the right person to get the information they require as quickly as possible – time is of the essence!
Often, we take the numerous number of telephony features such as ‘hold’, ‘transfer’ and ‘conference’ for granted. However, they enable us to quickly liaise with colleagues to resolve enquiries first time. Such options are not available on mobile phones unless the solution is integrated with the office telephony system. With this approach, it is far easier for staff to work remotely with access to all their telephony features on their mobile or softphone, so they can get the support from colleagues when they need it most.
Make it easier for mobile teams to collaborate
Businesses are more effective when working together, but this can be a challenge for many organisations that have staff working remotely or in the field. A common issue that these businesses experience is that it takes too much effort to get teams together in the office and travel times can make the trips ineffective, especially for brief catch up meetings. This is where audio and video conferencing solutions are worth their weight in gold and are now accessible for all sizes of business.
Gone are the days when this was only limited to larger organisations with budgets large enough to accommodate the ISDN lines that the equipment needed. Videoconferencing is an essential tool that allows employees to lead more face to face meetings, without the need for colleagues or customers to be in the office. Videoconferencing provides a great opportunity to save travelling time and resource, whilst also being an invaluable tool to continually build rapport.
Klaus Allion is managing director of ANT Telecom