Business Communication: What it Means, Why it Matters & More

Contents

  • Intro: defining business communication

  • How communications can support (or thwart) your business

    • Productivity

    • Cost control

    • Organisational culture

  • Why business communications matter more than ever

    • The rise of ‘hybrid’ working

    • Increased adoption of remote collaboration technologies

    • The move to cloud-based phone systems

  • The importance of investing in the right systems

  • Business Communication, what it means and why it matters: Takeaway points

 

Intro: defining business communication

Terms like ‘business communication’ get bandied around so often that it can be easy to forget what it actually means.

What makes things more confusing is that it can mean different things to different people.

You could ask a dozen individuals to define business communications, and it is highly likely that you’d get a completely different answer from each.

But what’s also true is: all of those definitions could still be correct.

To put it in its broadest and most simple terms, business communication refers to the sharing of information from within an organisation.

That could be from senior management to the wider team, one department to another, a sales rep to a prospective client, or a customer service agent resolving an inbound query.

In terms of systems and infrastructure, the term business communication covers everything from your phone lines to your internet connection, to all the different platforms, processes and methods you use to collaborate.

 

How communications can support (or thwart) your business


Now we have a more definitive idea of what is meant by the phrase business communication, we can begin to unpack why it is so important.

The ability to effectively and efficiently share information from within your business – whether to your colleagues or your customers – has a significant impact on several areas of business performance.

Here are some of the ways in which your communications capabilities, processes and systems can influence business outcomes.

 

Productivity

If your team can’t communicate well, they get less work done.

Whether that’s due to weak links in your chain of command, or lacklustre technologies and processes, the end result is undesirable all the same.

Flow of information, process efficiency, client and customer relationships – how well these things work will directly impact how much you get done, and they all rely heavily on sound business communications.

In a 2019 report from 4sight, respondents estimated that on average, 13% of their time each day was wasted due to communications inefficiencies, while 29% of employees in this survey cited inadequate or poor communication as a primary cause of project failures.

For remote and international teams, and even start ups or smaller businesses without a fixed office space, strong business communication is integral to achieving even the most basic tasks.

 

According to Pega, 93% of businesses that invest in Unified Communications notice an increase in both productivity and motivation across their team.

Turn your phone system into a full Un18fied Communications solution with NFON integration for MS Teams 

 

Cost control

Streamlining the flow of information across your business can help enhance efficiency, and reduce the resources required to complete everyday tasks.

As such, it’s a pretty obvious route to keeping costs down.

Investing in the latest and best communications technology is another way to help reduce expenditure.

In terms of telephone systems, migrating from a hardware-based solution to Voice over Internet Protocol (or VoIP) carries a number of cost benefits.

These include minimising charges for long distance calls, removing the costs of hardware ownership and maintenance, and exchanging complicated bill payments for one single, monthly subscription fee at a flat rate.

Remote collaboration tools also offer a way for businesses to significantly reduce costs.

Applied to a sum of 5,000 workers over three years, a Forrester report on the economic impact of Microsoft Teams claims the platform could represent an economic value of $6.9 million* (or £5.1 million GBP), by opening up new communications efficiencies and reducing meeting frequency.

*applied to a total of 5,000 workers over three years

Organisational culture

Better communication has been proven to boost morale and improve employee relationships.

And of course, the inverse of this is also true of poor communication.

In a report from The Economist, 52% of respondents said that poor communication had caused them more stress, while 33% of HR managers believe that communication is the root cause of most employee morale problems.

Ultimately, communication sets the tone for your company culture.

By investing time, energy and resources in connecting and engaging your team, you can help them to be...well, more connected, and more engaged.

For remote workers, business communication is extremely important, as it can have a much more direct impact on their job satisfaction overall.

Even the briefest of in-person interactions can contribute hugely to company culture and the capacity for collaboration, as well as individual feelings of motivation and general wellbeing.

Those responsible for managing remote or geographically-dispersed teams should aim to account for these interactions virtually.

There is also a tangible link between poor internal communication and higher employee turnover.

If not addressed, this can then become a vicious cycle; low levels of employee retention prevent a strong company culture from being fostered, and thus employees continue to leave in search of somewhere else with a better culture.

 

Why business communication matters more than ever

As if underpinning the performance of your entire organisation didn’t make business communications important enough, recent changes in the wider world have meant that now, they matter more than ever.

The rise of ‘hybrid’ working

While we are unlikely to see remote working being as widespread as it was in 2020 any time soon, there has undoubtedly been a shift in attitudes around flexible ways of working.

A notable portion of employees still wish to work permanently from home, with their employers happy to accommodate them.

Most sources however suggest that a ‘hybrid’ approach – consisting of some days in the office, and some days remote each week – is the most widely favoured option.

But accommodating this is not as simple as it might first sound.

If teams wish to adapt to these dynamics without any noticeable dip to their levels of output, collaboration or service delivery, they will need to ensure communications remain consistent, clear, and effective, no matter where each employee is logging in from.  

Processes must be configured to eliminate silos or gaps in communication, and systems need to be capable and secure enough to support seamless performance across different devices and locations.

 

Increased adoption of remote collaboration technologies

The likes of Slack, Zoom, and Microsoft Teams have seen astronomical adoption since 2020.

And businesses of all sizes appear determined to continue investment in these platforms.

But 2020’s initial surge of adoption came with a slew of teething problems, and more concerning data security risks.

Organisations looking to make remote collaboration software a cornerstone of their collaboration practices will need a powerful communications infrastructure that can support large numbers of video conferencing sessions happening at once.

They will also need to ensure their business communications are secure and resilient enough to prevent outages, downtime, data breaches and data loss, with failsafes in place to safeguard business critical information.

 

The move to cloud-based phone systems

The UK’s current communications infrastructure, known as the ISDN (or Integrated Digital Services Network) is to be retired by 2025, with the process of the network being systematically ‘switched off’ already well underway.

From then onwards, all businesses will have to use a VoIP solution for their telephony needs.

However, many organisations are yet to have migrated their telephone systems to the internet, or the cloud. 

Even so, the upcoming switch off date will still represent a significant development for the world of business communications.

While other collaboration software will no doubt continue to see frequent use, adapting and evolving in its own right, cloud-based telephony will underpin the communications capabilities of every business across the country.

And businesses will have to be wary of other changes this brings.

As is true of any advance in technology, cloud telephone systems carry new and different risks to those presented by their predecessors.

If not sufficiently secured, the voice data transmitted over cloud-based telephone networks can be vulnerable to illicit activity, such as theft or manipulation.

Businesses will need to ensure their data security practices are airtight to minimise these newfound data security risks.

 

The importance of investing in the right systems

It’s incredible to see how dramatically the landscape of business communications has adapted and evolved in a short matter of months and years.

And it is even more exciting to see the big changes that lay ahead in the not-too-distant future.

But all of these changes – the rise of hybrid working, increased investment in remote collaboration tools, and the nationwide switch to cloud telephony – will require the average business to enhance their communications capabilities.

Thankfully, there is one thing that unites all of the risks and precautions that organisations need to take into consideration – they all rely on communications technology.

Let’s quickly recap the forthcoming business communication concerns that were laid out above:

  • Business communications must support seamless, consistent performance across different devices and locations
  • Business communications must have a powerful infrastructure, capable of supporting high levels of concurrent activity
  • Business communications must protect business critical data from security risks, and also provide resilience and failsafes against outages, downtime, data breaches etc.

All of these areas can be addressed by investing in the right cloud telephony solution, and partnering with the right service provider to manage it.

These particular needs can be separated into three distinct categories:

  1. Mobility/flexibility
  2. Performance
  3. Security/resilience

Investing in the right system and partnering with the right service provider will enable you to effectively level up your business communications, and futureproof your operations, ensuring your processes and capabilities keep you competitive in the long run.

 

The flexibility you need

For those looking to adopt more hybrid working practices, opt for a cloud telephony solution that allows your team to work from any location, time zone or device.

The best cloud telephony providers can offer you integrations that make the same enterprise-level communication capabilities accessible to anyone in your team.

So it doesn’t matter whether they’re on their mobile, or their laptop at home. As long as they have an internet connection, they will have the same capabilities as they would on their desk phone.

 

The performance you need

Even with the advantages that cloud-based telephony has over traditional landline phones, surges in data usage and traffic can negatively impact performance and connection quality.

If you need your communications systems to perform reliably under pressure, then invest in a cloud solution supported by geo-redundant architecture.

This means your service is operated across multiple data centres in different locations, allowing you to leverage additional power supplies, load balance traffic, and maintain optimal performance at all times.

 

The security and resilience you need

Opt for a secure telephony service designed to keep your communications up and running, managed by a provider that truly cares about your data.

As well as performance benefits, geo-redundant architecture also provides a robust failsafe should an unforeseen disaster occur, protecting your data and keeping your communications up and running.

If one data centre managing your service should go down (for example, due to a power cut), the data and service you receive will immediately failover to the secondary data centre.

Also look to invest in a cloud-based system that uses end-to-end encryption of your calls. And if they include round-the-clock technical support as part of their contract, even better.

 

A decision worth thinking about

Choosing the right VoIP solution and service provider is an investment in the future of your business, and its ability to compete in the long run.

And while the clock is ticking for late adopters, this is still not a decision to be made lightly.

Making the right choice of business communication system will help you to tackle the immediate challenges on the horizon – achieving consistent and seamless hybrid working, handling greater network and performance demands, and overcoming newfound data security risks.

This choice will also support your business in a number of key areas, namely productivity, cost efficiency, and organisational culture.

 

Looking at the business communication of tomorrow

Implementing leading systems won’t just enable you to overcome challenges in the present.

It will also future proof your business against changes that are yet to come.

If the last five to ten years have taught us anything, it’s that communications, and more specifically communications technologies, are what shape the best practices, aims and objectives of business.

While the landscape has continued to transform rapidly over that space of time, the driving force of communications technology has remained a constant.

In other areas, this can make the idea of investing in new technology daunting – you never know when a new development can disrupt your industry, and render your systems obsolete.

But in the era of cloud telephony, you don’t have to worry about this.

One of the many advantages of any cloud-powered technology is its ability to continually adapt.

This is what makes cloud systems futureproof. New technologies, extensions and add-ons may emerge, and your systems can take them on instantly.

All it takes is a few clicks from your service provider, and you are ready for the next change – at no extra cost, and with no physical hardware or scaling requirements.

 

Business communication trends in different areas of business

Looking to the future, communications are at the core of several trends across different business functions.

Here are just some of the trends in different departments driven by business communication.

 

Sales enablement

Cloud telephony and contact centre software solutions are automating and streamlining processes, making sales and support teams more efficient, effective and productive than ever.

Predictive dialers are super-powering sales growth, IVR is helping sales prospects and repeat customers get connected quickly to the best available agent, and automated messaging across all major digital channels is enabling teams to nurture leads and secure timely upselling opportunities in just a few clicks.

 

Customer service

Developments in customer service technology are not only reshaping and enhancing the customer experience, but also empowering customer service teams to work from anywhere in the world.

Flexible cloud telephony solutions allow employees to access all the capabilities of their office system from their preferred work location – from automated call distribution, to cross-channel support, to speech analytics and recording.

So teams can deliver the same exceptional service quality, while enjoying greater work-life balance.
 

HR

While hybrid working models bring numerous benefits, they can also increase feelings of stress, anxiety and isolation, due to employees feeling cut off from their team and physical office environment.

HR departments will need to adopt new practices to address the caveats of more flexible working, and ensure their colleagues are happy, healthy and productive, using the latest business communications systems and processes to do so.

 

Staff training

With more teams embracing hybrid and flexible working practices, traditional methods of training are becoming less workable.

Videoconferencing and other remote collaboration software tools are rapidly gaining ground as training solutions.

Screensharing and live document capabilities streamline the process, while recording and playback features mean training can be carried out at significantly less cost, without any time zone related issues.

 

Office management

Multi-channel platforms like Microsoft Teams and Slack have helped office managers to completely redefine their processes. Software providers have noticed this, and as such, are leaning into it.

New add-ons and integrations that focus on specific areas of office management are constantly being created, with new in-app tools focusing on matters such as expenses, meeting room bookings, staff onboarding, and health and safety procedures.

 

Operations strategy

2020 was a loud and overdue wake up call to thousands of businesses.

After rapidly undergoing a process of digital transformation, businesses are planning to increase investment in their communications capabilities and infrastructure, and looking to tech-first ways of redesigning their operations.

But unlike the actions taken during the pandemic, which were driven by a sense of panic and urgency, businesses will need to take a step back, and implement new systems with a cohesive, long-term strategy in mind.

 

Business Communication, what it means and why it matters: takeaway points

  • Business communication simply refers to the sharing of information from within an organisation. This means it lies at the heart of business objectives and processes.
  • In particular, effective business communication has been shown to have a direct impact on productivity, costs, and organisational culture.

  • Several concurrent factors mean that business communications matter more than ever.

  • More businesses are embracing hybrid working practices

  • Videoconferencing and other demanding remote collaboration tools are seeing increased usage

  • Our existing telecommunications infrastructure is being phased out, meaning from 2025 onwards, all businesses will have switched to a VoIP system.

  • In order for businesses to respond to these upcoming challenges, they need to invest in systems that allow them the mobility, performance, security and resilience that they need - this should be a carefully thought out, and well-researched decision.

  • Looking even further ahead, business communications technologies look set to transform practices across numerous different business functions; namely sales enablement, customer service, HR, staff training, office management, and operations.

 

Any questions? You can speak to a member of the NFON team today, for an informal discussion about your business communication

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