In 2023, the majority of business communication has shifted online. No matter if you’re on a video call with your remote team, reaching out to your audience via social media, or send a promotional email to customers’ inboxes.
However, while virtual business communication has opened up a massive amount of possibilities to boost efficiency, it also comes with pitfalls. The most common among these is the danger of friction losses.
Switching between tools. Using the wrong platforms. Messages getting lost in the ether. Hours spent trying to sync schedules between team members.
But what can you do to avoid these mistakes and streamline your virtual business communications?
Here are seven tools and strategies to harness.
1 – Go Asynchronous
To start with, consider adopting asynchronous video calls, especially if your team or your clients are located in different time zones.
Unlike traditional video conferencing software, which requires you to find a timeslot that works for everyone, asynchronous video conferencing allows you to record your contribution and then send it along to others to watch at their convenience. The recipients can speed up or slow down your recording, check the automatic transcript for the most important pieces of information, and react with comments or a video of their own.
All you need to do to share your part of the video conference is send them a link.
Using asynchronous video conferencing, you can explain complex topics, share your screen, and ask for feedback, without having to reconcile schedules or type everything up in an endless email.
2 – Harness Professional Business Phone Services
Next up, invest in a solid business phone service.
Long gone are the days of the dusty business landline, but calling a company is still among many customers’ preferred ways to reach out.
Modern business phone services are typically cloud-based. That means you can access them from anywhere.
Plus, they come with a variety of channels, including voice and video calls, text messaging, live chat, and email. This allows you to centralize a huge part of your virtual business communications and eliminates the need to switch between apps.
Furthermore, many modern business phone services also include handy tools to make your life easier, many of them AI-based. Examples include automated call transcripts, voicemail-to-text, and call routing based on natural language processing.
3 – Reduce Emails, Leverage Collaboration Tools
Are you getting sick of interminable email chains? And getting thrown out of the loop when a team member accidentally hits “reply” instead of “reply all”?
Then message-based collaboration solutions such as Slack and Discord are the perfect alternative.
These tools allow you to add every member of your team, create channels for groups or around particular topics or projects, and exchange direct messages.
Say you’ve designated a task force to work on your business’ annual report. You can create a channel and add the team members in question. They can then exchange messages and files via this channel, making sure that no message ever gets missed again.
4 – Rely on Project Management Platforms
If you have more, bigger, or more complex projects to handle, one way to streamline your business communications is via project management platforms.
These are more sophisticated collaboration tools that let you assign roles, set deadlines, specify dependencies, and track progress.
Let’s circle back to the example of the annual report from the previous section. Say it’s a bigger project because your business has grown significantly over the past year, and you have a team of six people, including writers, analysts, and graphic designers, working on it.
Project management platforms allow you to designate roles. That means you can set a project leader and designate who will be writing which chapters of the report, who will be proofreading them, and who will be responsible for typesetting. Plus, you can explicitly set dependencies between tasks – for example assigning the copywriters a deadline, after which the graphic designers can get started.
Overall, this will ensure that throughout the entire project, each team member knows what they ought to be working on and which deadlines they have coming up. Plus, if you want to check in on progress, you can easily visualize the project’s status, for instance as a Gantt chart.
5 – Turn Your Website Into A Communications Hub
Next up, there’s your website. In the world of virtual business communication, your website is the central point of access for (potential) customers wanting to reach out.
That means you need to make it as easy for them as possible to navigate it. Make sure your website loading speeds are up to scratch, that it’s responsive on mobile, and that you have a clearly defined “Contact Us” page.
Plus, you should integrate all your major communication channels. From an email contact form and a click-to-call button to a scheduling tool for video calls and links to your socials profiles.
6 – Use Social Media Management Software
Talking about social media, you should also consider using a central point of access in the form of a social media management platform.
Rather than having to hop from Twitter to Facebook and from there to YouTube and LinkedIn, social media management tools allow you to access all your profiles from one portal. You can publish posts, schedule content, check out analytics, and reply to comments all in one place.
This makes it much easier to pick up on audience trends, analyse content performance, and fine-tune your communication via social media.
7 – Rely on Email Marketing Suites
Finally, there is email. While email may come with your business phone service, or you might be happy using a Gmail account, you should consider switching to dedicated email marketing software for large-scale customer communication.
Not only does it allow you to add some visual zest to your messages via drag-and-drop builders and numerous templates. It also gives you advanced analytics insights such as opening and click rates. Plus, you can optimize your email performance using features such as A/B testing.
Streamlining your virtual business communication is essential in 2023. Avoiding friction losses will help you increase your overall team productivity and give a serious boost to your customer satisfaction scores.
You’ll be able to do just that by following the strategies above and harnessing tools such as professional business phone services, asynchronous video conferencing, as well as project management and team collaboration platforms, and social media management and email marketing software.
It will take some time and effort, that much is clear. But it’s well worth it in the end and will help you level up your communications.