Effective communication is essential to just about every human activity. It’s especially difficult to imagine modern business working the way it does without good communicators and effective technologies.
Some of those technologies have completely transformed the business communication experience and even how we work. Let’s look at some of the ways it’s done this, and uncover some of the most important technologies in business communication today.
Technology Makes Communication Mobile
It’s hard to remember a time when we were tethered to our desks or home offices. Today, we can perform a variety of work functions from almost everywhere, or at least rest assured that, wherever life takes us, we won’t miss a critical call or update.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics says around one-quarter of all U.S. employees spend time working at home or otherwise not in an office. Some of the technologies that made this possible include:
- The wide availability of high-speed internet
- Video conferencing and instant chat platforms
Some research suggests remote workers are more productive than other types. Your mileage might vary, but it’s important to remember to choose platforms that are universal and inclusive. Different teams may use technology differently, but everybody should have equal access to, and visibility on, your communication channels if you want to avoid departments becoming siloed.
Technology Makes Communication Organized
Another closely related, but ultimately distinct, advantage of digital technology is that it helps us get and stay organized.
Technology helps business professionals organize their documents, workflows, projects, goals, and contacts through products like:
- Cloud backup, storage, and collaboration tools
- Full-featured project management portals
A freelancer doing contract work at a home office or local library has to know their tools and works-in-progress will be there waiting for them, wherever their day takes them. They may also need to maintain transparency and visibility on changes made to shared projects – and cloud productivity and communication platforms make that possible too.
Technology Makes Communication More Human
Maybe that sounds like a funny way to say it, but it’s true. It’s always the hope that newly introduced technologies will help relieve us of repetition and monotony.
Automation in the workplace, for instance, helps companies elevate their existing employees into higher-value and more creative roles. Routine back-office functions take care of themselves, while the human element in your company gets to focus on improving their sales records or coming up with new ideas.
There’s good chance automation can help your business do this, too. To apply automation to your business communication, look for processes that require a lot of repetition throughout the day, such as sorting emails and correspondence, responding to various categories of messages, and sending targeted email campaigns or following-up after “trigger” events, like a sale or an abandoned online shopping cart.
Automating business communication processes isn’t about becoming less personable. It’s possible to automate the sending of even highly personalized messages, so long as you understand the language and structure that makes messaging successful in the first place.
Technology Makes Communication More Accessible
Social media platforms are still figuring out what they want to be when they grow up. But one thing that’s clear is that offering businesses a platform and a mouthpiece will always be a part of that blueprint.
There’s no denying the importance of using social media as a business communication technology. A study by GlobalWebIndex even suggested that, by a narrow margin, more people use social media to follow brands than to stay in touch with friends (41% vs. 40%). Moreover, around 25% of social media users follow brands from which they may make a future purchase.
There is real and perceived value, then, in using social media and other communication platforms to their fullest capabilities. That value for companies comes from the ability to create more compelling sales funnels and forge relationships with new customers. The value for customers comes from seeing their brands become more human, informative, and even humorous in a public setting – not to mention getting speedier resolutions to questions and problems.
Chatbots combine the concepts of automation and social media by making businesses and their communication channels even more accessible still.
ManyChat is one company that’s busy building chatbots for business-to-community purposes. Their products work on Facebook Messenger and Telegram – and the company claims that, since their founding, their products have achieved ROI for some of their customers that approaches 400%.
And it’s not hard to see why. Chatbots can help salvage potential lost sales by answering questions for interested customers, they provide customer and account functionality around the clock, and they help companies remain accessible and open: two traits that are valued highly by the modern consumer.
Technology Makes Communication Smarter
Over the next two years, say some estimates, around 60% of companies in the business-to-business sector will begin redesigning their communication models around machine learning, AI, and “human augmentation.”
These things already help power much of what we’ve been discussing, from helping a PR specialist find emails quickly using natural language to automatically sending alerts when it’s time to see if a client needs to stock up again. Whatever form communication takes at your company, there’s probably an exciting technology to help you do it better.