Note-taking, in-person meetings, and phone calls were the top workplace communication tools available before the digital age. Secretaries learned shorthand or used recorders to remember information, sales team members flew to different areas of the country to speak with clients, and all written communication was performed with a typewriter. Though businesses survived and thrived, it was sometimes difficult and time consuming to finish tasks.
Nowadays, there are optimized software solutions and communication apps available that make it much easier to collaborate in a small business.
Customers can receive alerts on an updated order, workers can share documents without ever speaking in-person, audio-video calls can be placed, and business unit leaders can store and share company documents with their team members. These internal communications tools have streamlined business processes, optimized collaboration efforts, and minimized productivity-killing bottlenecks.
Communication Statistics and Bottlenecks:
- 63% of employees sent an important message to a coworker's inbox that was ignored or unseen
- 22% of employees use an online task management tool as opposed to 34% who still use handwritten to-do-lists
- 74% of employees sometimes lose files that they share with others
11 Crucial Elements of Business Communication Software
Effective business communication is the glue that holds an organization together. A business that values and standardizes powerful communication skills can build a competent and productive workforce, enhance customer relationships and employ effective managers.
In the digital age, communicating is not just composed of in-person meetings and long phone calls. To increase employee efficiency and productivity, organizations have implemented optimized communications software systems.
These solutions optimize internal and external communications, streamline business processes, quicken response times, and increase revenue. Here are the 11 best business communication tools employed by successful organizations-
1. Social Intranet Software
Many organizations have struggled with similar communication bottlenecks, including excess paperwork, missing documents, or difficulty updating employees on new policies/procedures.
A centralized portal that allows employees to access relevant information is an excellent solution to these problems. Social intranet software minimizes flooded email inboxes and optimizes employee communication by uploading all documents in one, easily accessible digital workplace.
2. Messaging Systems
Collaboration tools allow team members to work more efficiently on completing a business process. It allows users to share ideas, message back and forth, and upload important documents that can easily be retrieved.
If employees have difficulty finding specific email chains or they complain about not receiving an important message, organizations should consider implementing an optimized messaging system. This is particularly useful when workers are remote, off-site, or at another office location.
3. Task Management
Task management software optimizes team communication by allowing employees and team leaders to track and manage the progress of tasks. Since the details of a project may be confusing or time-consuming, a task management tool should be used to inform everyone of what they should be doing.
Project management software helps employees achieve their KPIs by setting due dates, employing checklists, and sending alerts if an item is missing. Management can also keep track of employee productivity to make certain that everyone is held accountable.
4. Issue Tracking Software
Organizations that struggle with customer retention rates or missing client queries may benefit by utilizing issue tracking software. This tool tracks and manages customer queries to ensure responses are timely and correct.
Once a query is entered, a ticket is issued to the customer, assigned to a particular employee, and deleted from view upon completion. Users can also open the ticket and view any inputs at a later time if necessary. Management can track the progress of these queries to ensure workers are productive and customer service is optimized.
5. Blogs and Videos
Because the human eye is trained to respond much faster to images than text alone, organizations have benefitted by using internal blogs and videos to convey a message.
Low workforce morale, a high turnover rate, and frequent boredom may require management to use videos/blogs to teach training materials or other valuable information. This can increase worker engagement and morale, which results in a more productive environment.
6. Analytics Feature
An analytics and sentiment feature is used to assess user behavior and optimize internal communication. If management is uncertain of employee productivity or staffers have difficulty tracking data, an analytics tool can help address it.
Data is collected by a variety of sources and uploaded into a centralized location that is easily accessible. Users can generate reports that analyze various data sets and pinpoint communication inefficiencies.
7. Discussion Forums
To build and increase knowledge in the workplace, there must be a way for employees to share information and expertise. A discussion forum can help address unanswered employee questions and management queries.
A forum allows for open conversation on a variety of topics relevant to daily operations or HR procedures. It also archives important information and good ideas; which management can use to standardize best practices.
Organizations can designate individual spaces to monitor and deliver a set of content. Space members can share data, create new discussion centers, and send any notifications to members in the community.
This is a particularly useful communication platform for individual business units who may not want to share outside information with another unit. For example, an HR department may use a space to notify team members of birthdays, work anniversaries, or a change in employee benefits.
One of the biggest communication bottlenecks is employees not receiving updates or alerts about a change in data. This can decrease productivity, confuse, hurt employee morale, and cause problems for management.
If staffers are not reading or responding to critical emails or if the leadership team is uncertain if a message was received by subordinates, a notification system may be the answer. Another benefit is that workers won't have to worry about missing out on important external information, such as a customer email or potential sales lead.
10. Worker Profiles
Employees should build working relationships with their coworkers to optimize business communication in the workplace. If team members are unaware of the various employees in each business unit and their roles, using an employee profile can provide the context needed.
A profile summarizes each worker's role, displays a photo, tells who he/she reports to, and shows if that person is available to talk. This can help employees know who works where, what everyone does, and who to reach out to for a particular concern.
A workflow tool organizes and manages the people and tasks involved in a business process, from start to finish. It provides a systemized way to manage a project and ensure each person assigned to it completes his/her part.
Supervisors are alerted when a project is finished, which helps hold everyone involved accountable. Employees are also notified when it is their time to complete their portion, which keeps everyone organized. This tool is useful when completed projects are frequently missing elements, or if workflows are taking too long to complete.
Other Benefits of Workflow Management Tools:
- Speed up internal tasks reducing manual processes
- Reduces the potential for human error and re-work
- Decreases risk of incorrect contract paperwork, new hire paperwork, or approved requests
- Improves compliance
- Protects the company's reputation by using an audit trail
In conclusion, here are the best communication software tools used to optimize business communication-
- Social intranet software puts all data in one secure location so everyone can access it. A messaging system optimizes collaboration by allowing workers to share information and speak back and forth without using email. Task management tools track and manage a task from start to finish.
- Issue tracking software manages customer queries to ensure responses are timely and correct. Blogs and videos can help convey information to workers in an understandable way. Analytics features use reporting and data management to assess specific sets of information.
- Discussion forums are a type of team communication software that provide a way for everyone to receive answers to questions or share expertise, which optimizes knowledge management. Business communication tools such as Spaces is helpful for individual business units looking to share information within their department. Notifications sends alerts to employees and managers when there is a change, email, or new input in the system.
- Worker profiles display information on each employee in an organization so everyone can build relationships and reach out to others at the correct time. Workflows management software organizes and systemizes an entire workflow from start to finish, which helps to streamline business processes and hold everyone accountable.