Good communication is essential for every successful business operation – especially for small businesses that must build customer relationships to drive sales. Yet breakdowns can occur at every stage of small business communications, from a misspelled newspaper ad to a headset that makes sales people sound like they’re speaking through two tin cans and some twine, whether they’re in the office or on the road.
“Improved communications can equal increased revenue for small businesses,” says Judi Hembrough, director of SMB marketing for Plantronics, a leading maker of audio headsets. “However, small-business managers juggle a lot, and they may not always have the time to emphasize effective communication. Fortunately, focusing on a few key areas can greatly enhance communication with a modest investment of resources.”
While you may be an expert in your business, not all small-business people are expert communicators. Yet better communication aids a small business on multiple levels. It facilitates sales efforts and improves customer service, eases interaction between employees and managers, boosts productivity, and helps mobile and remote workers stay connected.
Small-business leaders can improve both internal and external communication with a few tactics and tools:
* Use technology designed to facilitate business communication.
Despite the rise in digital communication modes, phone interaction remains a critical communication tool. In fact, 70 percent of businesses say phone and conference calls are either important or critically important to achieving their business objectives, according to a recent survey by B2B marketing agency Bredin. Additionally, 67 percent of small-business owners surveyed by Bredin said that a quarter or more of all customer issues initiated by email communication and 55 percent initiated by instant message had to be resolved with a phone call.
The right technology can help improve phone communication for both in-office and remote workers, even when they’re on the go. High-quality headsets like Plantronics Voyager Legend provide superior voice clarity, leading-edge design and mobility. Superior noise cancellation and advanced WindSmart technology ensure clear, precise communication even outdoors. Plus, with dual connectivity you can connect to your desk phone or PC along with your mobile device. Visithttp://www.plantronics.com/us/solutions/small-medium-business to learn more about communication technology for small businesses.
* Provide employees with scripts for common situations.
Twenty percent of in-house workers and 18 percent of remote or field workers spend three-quarters or more of their work time on the phone, according to the Bredin survey. Providing employees working scripts, and training them on how to adjust responses for evolving situations can help improve customer care, facilitate effective communication and ensure employees are communicating according to your business standards and identity. Start by defining the different types of phone interactions employees might have with customers and prospects. Next, craft a good greeting that is concise and appropriate for the employee’s role in your organization. Incorporate into each script key phrases that communicate the information you want the employee to convey during the call.
* Facilitate communication with remote workers.
Remote and mobile workers may be a vital part of your business, but they can feel left out by the nature of their work situation. Provide them with the technology they need for effective communication by phone, email and teleconferencing, and use the technology to ensure remote workers feel included. For example, set up teleconferencing or video-conferencing so that remote workers can participate in company meetings.
* Minimize in-office distractions.
Offices can be busy, noisy places, especially if employees work in cubicles or open spaces. As much as possible, try to eliminate distractions that could hinder easy communication. Urge workers to conduct phone communication in a calm, low voice and be mindful of those working around them. Additionally, give them the opportunity to mask noise with headsets that cover both ears. Finally, encourage employees to establish a schedule for checking email, rather than letting it interrupt them every few minutes.
In conclusion, better communication is the key to effective sales and stellar customer service – both critical aspects to success. From supplying technologically advanced headsets to staff to properly training employees to be as effective as possible, communication improvements will drive business in 2015 and beyond.