Tag Archives: unified communication

4 Ways to Improve Communication Today

What’s the #1 issue that causes business failure? Miscommunication. That includes lack of communication, not providing enough or accurate information or just not understanding. It’s also costly. In fact, estimates are that miscommunication costs $37 billion every year. Ouch.

improve communicationWhether this is due to select individuals or a businesswide breakdown in communication, companies don’t have to settle for less when it comes to speaking with and engaging their employees.

After all, a Holmes Report study found that companies with excellent communication strategies experience 47 percent higher returns for shareholders, less employee turnover and more satisfied workers overall. So how can you improve communication at your company?

1. Restructure your hierarchy

Far too often, the main problem regarding poor communication at companies is select individuals who are bottlenecks. That means they don’t pass on important information. If you can, restructure or dismantle your current management hierarchy with leaders who value good communication and actively share information.

2. Lead by example

If you want your team to communicate better, change needs to begin from the top down. Lead by example if you want to create lasting change at your organization. Show your employees what is expected of them by consistently giving feedback, asking for it in return and keeping lines of communication open at all times.

3. Empower your people

Are there consequences for sharing bad news? Maybe that’s why there are communication gaps around the office. And really … would you rather not know bad news or know it and be able to do something? The consequences for not understanding bad news could be catastrophic for your business.

4. Have a communication strategy

So your company has poor communication. Do something about it! Funnel resources, effort and time into reinventing your company’s communication strategy. Your internal communications team, for larger companies, or HR department for smaller ones might be a good place to start. While it might be a challenging transformation process at first, the results will be incredibly rewarding.

A strategy includes having tools available to enable — not hinder — communication. The tools you choose should depend on your culture and what your people need as well as thinking through an array of tools.

Need more tips?

We have a plethora of resources available from general ideas about when to use email and meetings to active listening.

Why Unified Communications?

In my lifetime, there have been some outlandish promises about technology. Flying cars, not just self-driving, should be zooming about us as we speak into devices that look like those Star Trek communicators. But you already know, those pieces of technology don’t exist. Sure, they’re creeping closer … but we’re not quite there yet.

Why unified communications That was the promise with unified communication … until recently. (Whether you call it hosted voice, hosted PBX or cloud communications. It’s the same — unified communication.) Telecommunication and software companies are getting better at providing a host of solutions together, hoping to make it easier for customers and potential customers. But most businesses haven’t moved to it; only 19% as of July have.

That’s changing. According to Inc., 70% of businesses are considering moving to a single communication provider for everything from phone systems to instant message (IM). So chances are good your competitors are thinking about it.

Why UC?

It goes beyond doing what other businesses are. Here are the reasons why even small businesses are considering cloud communications.

  • Be more efficient and productive. Reduce inefficient communications – from telephone tag to scouring through several contact lists to find someone. Share information in a moment’s notice, easily without struggling with multiple solutions. Ensure customers get the attention they need.
  • Improve communication and engagement. Unified communication increases the likelihood that information will be shared and received. It even helps identify people are available (referred to as presence). The quality of the communication is better too — with chat, video and collaboration (desktop file sharing and presentations) are all easily available.
  • Grow your business without changing providers. Unified communication, when done right, is scalable as your business grows and expands or as your company changes focus.
  • Go mobile, with access anywhere. Your employees don’t have to be at their desk to be productive. Enable your salespeople and more to work when and where they need to while still being productive.
  • Reduce costs. Cloud communication is cheaper than maintaining outdated, on-premises solutions. It also enables more people to work from home, saving money on office expenses. And it reduces the need for travel.

All of these are possible with the right vendor. The right vendor depends on your company, but if you want good customer service and easy to use products, that might be us. We have some of the best net promoter scores in the industry and our customers tell us our products are intuitive.

Sources:
McKinsey’s SMB cloud communications report
Evolve IP

9 Questions to Ask Before Upgrading Your Phone System

phone-systemsBuying the correct phone system can make a difference to the success of your business in the next 5-10 years. Choosing the right system could mean hiring less staff, winning more contracts, worrying less about disasters and yes, saving you money. Take the time to find answers to the 9 key questions outlined below before upgrading your new phone system.

Key questions

  1. Cost: Check what is included and not included in the minutes bundle. Are there any exit clauses in the service contract? Do you have to rent the phones for longer than the service contract? It can be a gotcha with some providers.
  2. Flexibility: Can you add or remove users during the service contract? Do you have to pay for devices or for users? This is important as you grow your business or as people are hired and leave your company.
  3. Disasters: Can the system divert calls to tablets or mobile phones when the access network is down? Are there restrictions in the features when people are remote? Disaster planning is crucial and one of the biggest advantages of having the right communications systems.
  4. Consistency: Are all the features available to remote workers or do some get removed? Is the quality the same – for example, some mobile systems only use a technology called VoIP when remote, which can hurt voice quality if the network is congested.
  5. Usability: Are the features the same on the phone, PC and mobile devices or are they different? Do you still have to rely on a telephone?
  6. Professionalism: Does the system support features such as auto attendant, music on hold, automatic call distribution, call queuing, so you never miss a call? Missing the wrong call can be disastrous.
  7. Productivity: Does the system have features like conferencing, room-based collaboration and instant messaging and presence? Integration of communication is how the working world gets things done these days and your phone system should be able to accommodate it.
  8. Mobility: Does the system support iOS and Android devices? Can it support all the productivity features above when mobile? The right phone system can handle when you’re on the go.
  9. Maintenance: Does the system have web-based user self-administration and allow you to control powerful features from a single web page? Does the service support diagnostics so the service provider can quickly identify any issues that you may run into? Enabling you to have control ensures your phone system is meeting your business needs.

Be sure to ask about the underlying technologies that the service providers have in place that allows them to innovate rapidly and drive the biggest impact for your business. The fanciest features or the lowest price won’t do you much good if the quality, reliability and security are not core components of the service provider’s platform upon which your service relies on.

Your business depends on the right solution and communication integration.

What Is Unified Communications and How Can It Help My Business

Unified communication (or UC) is a fancy term for really — when you get down to it — improving communication. Unified communication can include Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), audio, web, instant message or chat, whiteboard, etc. It can include meetings and collaboration.

And that’s how it helps your business: improving communication.

How does it improve communication?

Communication should happen whenever, however and wherever you want it. It should be on any device (including mobile devices). It should be easy, enabling you to be more engaged and productive. In other words, improving communication is about reducing cost and increasing revenue.

Why does it matter?

Other than saving your company money and potentially increasing revenue, it also enables more integration — better connection — among systems with one provider. It could mean lower price and better support for all those disparate forms of communication.

Does ReadyTalk do “unified communication”?

Yes. Look for more details on how we’re expanding here at ReadyTalk.com.