No one can deny the role of communication in their life. It is a building block for everyone, including businesses, to continually evolve in this ever-changing world.
The term communication can appear to be quite simple, but it is not. The process is not limited to just the exchange of information. It also involves other factors to process the taken information better and get the right meaning out of it.
For businesses, communication is a method to work towards a common goal by communicating ideas, data, etc. Inefficient communication process within your business means you are leaving money on the table.
In a report by Gallup, a highly engaged team shows 21% greater profitability. The stat infers the importance of an effective communication strategy in the workplace to improve productivity and achieve organizational goals.
Also Read: 10 Top Benefits Of Salesforce CRM.
In this article, we will discuss various challenges in different types of business communications in detail and how you can implement a good communication strategy within your workplace to avoid conflicts, better team collaboration, and, most importantly, achieve your business goals.
- Signs of communication issues at your workplace.
- Why your business needs an effective communication strategy.
- What is business communication?
- Types of business communication systems.
- Business communication challenges.
- Internal business communication challenges.
- Internal business communication challenges solutions.
- Boost your internal communication with cloud telephony.
- External business communication challenges.
- External business communication challenges solutions.
Some signs when you should start introspecting your business communication processes
1. Unachieved business goals
Without an effective communication strategy in place, you will often find your team not being able to meet the business goals.
2. Avoidable big mistakes
It is a red alert for your business when you start noticing common preventable errors in any of your business processes.
3. Low productivity and morale of the team
A sudden change in the productivity of your team might indicate that there are some issues in your current communication system.
4. Team members are casting blame on each other
In cases of unmet goals, your team members start blaming each other. It indicates the lack of self-responsibility and discipline at your workplace.
5. Loss of clients and unsatisfied customers
Without an effective internal and external business communication strategy, you will start losing your clients and have more dissatisfied customers.
Why your business needs an effective communication strategy
- To improve the overall productivity of the workforce.
- To conduct the managerial operations in your company smoothly.
- In cases of businesses with high levels of hierarchy, to ensure the information is flowing correctly.
- An effective communication strategy can define the success and failure of your organization. Coherent communication flow is the building block of a reputed and successful organization.
- If you own a small business, then an effective communication strategy allows you to ensure that employees do not misinterpret and assume the information in the wrong manner.
- To facilitate knowledge sharing within employees.
What is business communication?
The definition of business communication is subjective. The overall idea in business communication is to promote or market a product or brand effectively. Now, this also includes internal information flow within a business, handle legal issues, understanding customer behavior, and other relevant topics and events.
Let’s now see different types of communication systems in business. We will discuss the challenges faced by business owners and managers in each of these communication systems. After that, we will discuss solutions to tackle these common communication problems in the workplace.
Types of business communication system
There are two types of business communication.
1. Internal business communication
Any exchange of information that takes place inside your company comes under internal business communication. For example, your employees reporting to your business manager and business manager reporting to you.
Internal business communication affects workplace culture and productivity. According to Forbes, employees perform 4.6 times better when top-level management hears their suggestions and ideas.
Thus, you need to identify critical communication problems and resolve them on a priority basis to achieve organizational goals swiftly.
There are three types of internal business communication. Let’s understand each of these types.
In upward communication, the information is transferred from subordinate to manager via verbal methods, suggestion boxes, performance reports, etc. The free flow of upward communication ensures that employees are encouraged to share their ideas and suggestions to contribute to the growth of the organization.
In downward communication, the information flows from the upper management to executives and employees via handbooks, meetings, notices, speeches, etc.
Effective downward communication ensures that the employees are well-informed about the company’s news and standard protocols.
Lateral communication involves information flow between various departments in your organization. For example, your sales team communicating the effectiveness of a promotional campaign to the marketing team.
Standard mediums used for lateral communication – emails, chats, meetings, telephones, etc.
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2. External Business Communication
External business communication involves the exchange of information between your business and foreign entities, including customers, vendors, service providers, government, etc.
Business communication challenges
Now that you know about different types of business communication systems. Let’s now see types of communication problems your business might face in each of these categories.
Internal business communication challenges
1. Lack of feedback
Communication is a two-way highway, and if it is one way most of the time, then it will hinder the internal processes of your company. Thus, feedback is essential at every level of communication, whether it is upward, downward, or lateral.
2. Too many emails
Sending too many emails for information flow in the organization is not ideal. Some processes require instant decision-making and subsequent influx of ideas which are not offered by email communication. Additionally, employees also feel the burden of checking many emails, and sometimes they might even miss some critical emails.
3. New employees onboarding process
This communication issue comes when the Human Resources department has not formulated a well-defined onboarding process of the new employees. Discrepancies, in this process, lead employees unaware of top management policies and communication protocols.
4. Communication barriers
If your employees belong to a wide array of cultural backgrounds, then communication issues may arise due to personal and language differences. Also, this deteriorates the face to face interactions as both the parties are not being able to communicate correctly. This communication problem gets amplified if a significant part of your workforce works remotely.
5. Sharing internal and external news
Ensure you properly communicate all company to your employees directly. If the news source is external or an unauthorized domestic entity, it can facilitate the spread of rumor in the organization. Therefore, you should be the one sharing any positive or negative news about your organization to avoid any employee gossip, which can ultimately create an unhealthy work environment.
6. Assumptions and misinterpretation
Communication is not only just about spoken words. Most of the time, the tone of words and body gestures, such as facial expressions, hand movements, etc. can alter the context of the information.
7. Too reliant on technology for communication
Technology is indeed making our lives easier to communicate with others, but over-reliance on technology can also affect your business communication strategy.
Face to face meetings facilitates the instant flow of facts and data, which tends to be more productive. Emails, chats, etc. are essential too, but they are not as productive as face to face meetings. Therefore, include technology where it is relevant in your business communication strategy and overuse it.
Internal business communication challenges solutions
1. Team collaboration tools
Slack, Skype, Microsoft Teams, etc. are some of the best team collaboration tools out there which you can use in your organization.
With the help of these tools, you can facilitate real-time communication. Additionally, you get other useful features like file sharing, remote screen sharing, call conferencing, etc.
2. Social business platform
For big sized companies, using a social business platform can solve issues related to cultural background differences that can affect the communication process. Also, it allows your employees to form social bonding with each other.
3. Employee newsletters
To keep employees up to date with company news and policies, send them regular newsletters. However, keep in mind that if you overdo this activity, there is a possibility that they might miss essential newsletters due to many emails they receive daily.
If your workforce belongs to a diverse cultural and language backgrounds, then you should always include the translated copies in the newsletters or other employee support documents like handbooks, product guides, etc.
5. Employee Engagement Activities:
The people who play together, work together, grow together. Your HR department must proactively work on strategies to engage your employees in playful activities so that they get to know each other in a better manner. As humans, we naturally tend to communicate better with people whom we know each other in a better way.
Boost your internal communication with Cloud Telephony
Cloud adaptation by organizations is on the rise as it allows them to care less about the IT infrastructure and focus more on the business part.
A virtual phone number service allows you to unite your workforce with the power of VoIP technology. Getting a local or toll free number for your business can streamline your internal and external communication processes.
Let’s understand this with an example. Suppose you take a local phone number for your business. With a local phone number, you get several extensions that you can configure on softphones and VoIP adapters to dial and receive calls. After setting extensions, you can provide these extensions to various teams (product support, billing, sales, etc.) in your organization.
The best part of any virtual phone number service is that you get an unlimited free extension to extension calling. You also get call conferencing features that enable your employees to make instant decisions by conducting meetings. The same applies to toll free numbers, vanity numbers, and other virtual phone numbers.
Also Read: 5 Encryption Algorithms For Cloud Data Security.
External business communication challenges
The foremost objective of external business communication is to shape public perception regarding your brand or product. External communication is expensive compared to internal business communication, as it requires a hefty budget for PR and marketing purposes. Still, in the long run for your business, it is crucial to have a nifty external business communication strategy as it can define its success and failure.
As the task of shaping the perception of your audience is not easy, it involves various challenges, and it is quite apparent for your business to face some problems down the line.
Here are some external business communication problems you might face.
1. Shaping public perception:
As said earlier, shaping public opinion is not easy and involves a specific and goal-oriented strategy. It includes various activities including media stories, press releases, newsletters, company brochures, etc. to showcase the ethics, work culture, and professionalism of your organization.
Toll free numbers serve as an excellent useful tool that can shape public perception of your company. Most people associate toll free numbers with credible, authentic, and customer-first organizations. Local virtual numbers can help your business to establish a strong local presence.
2. Reach new customers
With the advent of technology, businesses these days have a plethora of options to reach and attract new customers. The most effective way is to get a website where your potential customers can find all the information related to your products and services.
Social media and blogs allow cost-effective targeting to your desired demographics.
With all these benefits of internet marketing, there are many downsides, including negative social reviews and blog commenting. Online reputation management, thus comes into play. However, in the long run, it brings more positives to business as compared to the unexpected outcomes.
Now, if you want to attract new customers to your business, virtual phone numbers can best serve the purpose. Toll free numbers allow your users and customers to call your business for free, whereas local numbers establish a strong sense of trust within them.
You can also opt for vanity numbers, which are effortless to remember. With vanity numbers, your users can dial your number reflexively without looking for it elsewhere. With a virtual business phone number service, you will attract more customers, which can result in higher revenue.
The Real PBX offers a single click integration to Zoho CRM with your cloud telephony solution. After Zoho CRM integration, you can use Zoho CRM to easily manage prospects data, quickly call customers with a single click, and other essential features to streamline customer servicing and offer a delightful experience to your customers.
3. Promotional & marketing resources
The public image of a business can be a reason for its success or failure. One misquoted statement, newsletter, etc. will not only ruin your expensive business communication plan but can also affect your organization’s revenue.
4. Live events, webinars, and conferences
To develop the business of your organization, you have to interact with other companies. While there are many B2B networking sites on the internet like LinkedIn, but you still need to go out to live events, webinars, and conferences to form profitable relationships with other organizations.
External business communication challenges solutions
1. Market Research
The first rule of external business communication is to know who your audience is. Knowing your ideal audience demographics allows you to make strategic marketing plans. For example, you can push out more content addressing the pain points of your customers.
2. Be on the right platforms
The second benefit of detailed market research is that you know where your ideal customers are spending their time online. When you know which platforms to target, you can better direct your marketing efforts.
3. Focus on delivering value
Talking less and doing more is another crucial element of external business communication. The entire goal of your business should be to provide value to your customers and the targeted audience. Hence, push out more information that reflects your core brand values.
4. Relate with your audience
While releasing any marketing collateral like Ebooks, company brochures, product guides, etc. make sure that the materials relate with your audience. Your marketing material can work wonder if you personalize it with the user’s current problems and how your brand or product can help them in resolving those issues.
5. Use videos
As it is said, a picture is worth more than a thousand words. Similarly, a video is worth more than pictures. Most people these days prefer watching videos over reading. Therefore, your business can strategically utilize videos for promotions and send its brand message to the public.
6. Better resource planning
As there are many options available for your company to connect with the potential stakeholders, you need to utilize resources efficiently. The first step is to define a budget and goals. Finally, implementing the strategy in the scope of your tight budget.
This ultimate guide to business communication will help you to identify various types of business communication challenges and how you can resolve them to design and implement an effective communication strategy at your organization.