Poor customer service, awkward team meetings, unanswered calls — we’ve all been there. When poor communication is involved, any interaction can feel like chatting with a bad ex. If you don’t want your clients or your team members to feel like they’d rather be somewhere else, you need the right digital communication solutions to make everyone fall in love with your small business again.
Going virtual can be the best move you make for your business communications. With digital tools often comes more features — each fit for the modern business landscape — at an affordable price.
No need to spend weeks testing out the right strategies and tools. We’ll introduce you to some of the best right here, so you can get to making your internal and external communications shine.
3 key areas of communication
Stellar company-wide communication is one of the top reasons why employee engagement is at an all-time high in the US When you give your team the foundation to communicate well, this can have a direct effect on employee retention and customer satisfaction. When you’re able to avoid a high turnover rate within your team and client base, your bottom line could be better than ever!
The right communication solutions matter. Setting your team up with the wrong tools — or outdated ones — is a lot like handing someone a wrench to put a nail in the wall. Whether you own a brand-new or an existing small business, it’s time to add modern, digital apps and software to your toolbox to give your efficiency and productivity a boost. 🧰
You’ll want to make sure your tools improve the three key areas of business communication: phone-based, written, and face-to-face.
1. Phone communication
When you think of a business phone, you may imagine the clunky desk phone that’s been around for decades. ☎️ (A few decades too long, some might say.) Or maybe you imagine a call center, where rows of sales representatives are glued to their desks and headsets.
But modern small businesses are more mobile than ever.
Your team may even be fully remote! And while your team members still need a phone to chat with each other and with clients, your telecommunications tool should no longer tie you or your team down.
To meet your 21st century needs — and make your fast-growing business more scalable — you can upgrade to a cloud phone that offers all the functionality of a traditional desk phone (and more) with no hardware necessary.
2. Written communication
Snail mail is pretty much long gone. Of course, that doesn’t mean that written communication is dead. For modern small businesses, written communication has simply shifted to text messaging, email, and dedicated business communications platforms.
Digital communication solutions can help you harness the power of words (and emojis 😉) while keeping your business efficient.
3. Face-to-face communication
As many of us learned when the world experienced the impact of COVID-19, there’s no form of communication that could compare to face-to-face communication. While in-person meetings aren’t always possible — whether due to location or a global pandemic — digital solutions ensure you can still see your team members and clients any day of the week.
Most people are already using Zoom, which is great for video conferencing. But there are other ways your team can harness the power of video as well.
8 communication solutions for a digital world
These tools will help your team take its phone, written, and face-to-face communication to the next level.
OpenPhone is one example of an internet phone that can make your team more reliable. All you need is a computer or mobile device to start managing calls from just about anywhere. The platform also allows you to send individual and group texts (to as many as 10 people) to anyone on your contact list, helping you streamline your written and phone communication.
You can even share a phone number with any current employee — and use the platform to chat with any team member — to ensure your clients are always taken care of.
At the same time, OpenPhone can help your teams reclaim their work-life balance. You can set business hours for each phone number. So even if employees are using their personal smartphone for work, they won’t get calls when the workday’s over.
And for those who share an inbox but don’t work full time, they can simply turn off their notifications to get some peace while still getting the calls they actually want through their personal phone numbers.
Don’t worry — your clients won’t be sent to an abyss of voicemail when it’s after-hours. Your team members can actually read or listen to voicemails via text. Plus send voicemails to email or Slack, so you can get back to them as soon as possible (and remember to do so).
2. Google Workspace
When you need to share files or send information that doesn’t fit into a single text, Google Workspace can be a helpful written communication solution to add to your arsenal. This suite of business tools makes it easier for your team to communicate via email or collaborate on documents.
With a Google Workspace membership, you get complimentary access to premium Gmail features, including custom email addresses and 24/7 support. Gmail helps businesses maintain more organized inboxes and achieve faster responses by offering smart features like automatic email filtering, AI-based writing suggestions, and high-priority email reminders.
Google Workspace also includes Google Docs, a collaboration tool that eliminates your need for separate desktop word processing software. When you create a document, you can instantly save it into a shared team folder. Then, your team members can collaborate on the document in real time and on any device, whether it’s by adding comments or making edits directly in the text.
While you certainly can operate with email and text messaging, many small businesses find it useful to implement a separate business communication solution for internal use. With Slack, you can create chat rooms for specific teams, projects, and more — or message people one-on-one — to keep the right people looped in quickly.
Slack is a digital tool that’s perfect for when you need a semi-formal communications option — something between emails and texts. It allows you to share documents and files, while getting faster feedback than email. Slack even lets you send polls, so you can gather opinions quickly!
Slack can also be a great phone and face-to-face communication solution. It offers voice and video conferencing capabilities right on its platform, so you don’t need to jump on another platform for quick collaborations with your team. Just make a call using the app or website, and you can connect with other employees from any device.
And since Slack can integrate with OpenPhone, your communication solutions will still be speaking to each other. So having a dedicated internal communication tool won’t rough up your smooth processes.
Grammarly isn’t exactly a communication solution in itself, but it can make your written communications a lot more professional. This AI-powered Chrome extension helps you spell check anything you’re writing, whether it’s in email, on Slack, on social media, or elsewhere. With upgraded plans, you can also get suggestions for tone and formality levels. You can even implement your own style guide, so anytime your employees write to clients, they get a consistent experience.
Sometimes, it’s better to show than tell. But you can’t always jump onto a Zoom call — especially when you’re communicating with people in different time zones.
Vidyard is a communication solution that allows you to record yourself and your screen at the same time. Once you finish recording, you can share it directly with whomever needs it via text, email, Slack, etc. It’s great for helping clients and team members visualize a process while allowing you to be more personable by showing your face and using your voice.
Teachable is a digital communication solution that helps you train team members or walk clients through your product or service by creating a library of videos. It allows your audience to get the information they need at any time, straight from you, while ensuring you will only need to communicate it once. You can even add quizzes and surveys to your training, so you can get feedback from your team.
When more context is needed, Teachable also allows you to jump on one-on-one calls for real-time face-to-face conversations.
7. Touchcast Studio
Your client base or team members may not be able to gather in the same room, but that doesn’t mean you can’t communicate with everyone in real time. One solution is to live stream with a tool like Touchcast Studio. 📹
This communication solution allows you to speak directly to a large audience by getting behind the camera — or even multiple cameras, if you really want them to feel like they’re in the room with you. And your viewers can engage with you simultaneously via chat. This app is like having a TV studio on your iPad, so it’s a great option if you need to live stream from home.
The digital world is an ever-growing one. To survive and thrive in it, you will have to:
- Communicate in real-time with your teammates, either in private one-on-one conversations or public group chats.
- Steer clear from excessive emails and enhance your team’s productivity.
- Share files and information easily and quickly.
- Choose where you want to chat with your team — on your laptop or phone.
If you want to check everything from the list above, you can try Pumble, a free business messaging app. The app won’t let you drown in emails but will keep you connected with your team — and even with people outside your company. Whether you’re a fan of quick instant messages or long threaded conversations — Pumble will be great for you.
Sometimes, you’ll have to jump on a quick call — and you can do so directly in Pumble. The app allows you to engage in one-on-one voice and video calls with your team and share your screen, too.
Create better team and client experiences
Communication is at the heart of everything you do as a company, both within your team and with clients. The right communication solutions can make every interaction more effective and efficient.
If you want to give OpenPhone a try as your phone call and texting solution, start your free trial today.
Emily is a freelance business and marketing writer based in the desert, though her writing is anything but dry. Her passion is writing compelling, human-friendly content that helps growing businesses perform better.