Communication channels in business: what are they and why do we need them?
Communication plays a significant role in establishing links between businesses and clients. Interacting with others effectively, you can entice new prospects, build close-knit teams, and maintain an impeccable reputation. To make progress in this direction, we need to use the right communication channels. But first, let’s figure out what they are.
To put it simply, a communication channel is a tool with the help of which people can exchange ideas and share information. The brightest examples are phone calls, email, messages, and social media.
During working hours we engage with many people. Sharing ideas, sending documents, or just some funny emojis requires the usage of different communication channels. Email is convenient for written communications, like document distribution, while messengers are more appropriate for informal communication: a friendly chat between team members or quick information distribution.
Where else do we need appropriate communication channels:
- Online meetings within remote teams
- Receiving feedback from clients
- Sending newsletters to colleagues
- Quick connection in case of urgency
- Keeping in touch with distant people
- Sending invites to business events
- Sharing updates and news
How do I choose the right communication channels for my team?
There is a great variety of communication channels to choose from, but that doesn't mean you should use as many as possible. Most companies use just a couple and feel that’s enough for establishing connections between their teams and with customers. That’s why it’s essential to pick the right range of tools for your business.
First, let’s examine different types of communication channels. They can be divided into two groups:
- Internal, used within the same environment (between business teams, family members, or friends)
- External, between a company and the rest of the world
You should use both because while doing business, communication goes not only between team members but also with prospects and partners all around the globe. To make sure which internal and external communication channels will serve you best, pay attention to the following guidelines:
Take your team’s needs into consideration
Although you’re the one who makes decisions, your team is the people who interact with clients most of the time. So it’s important to understand what they need and which tools will be more convenient for them.
Some workers may prefer phone calls, while others believe text messengers are more effective. Each team member has his own opinion, but how to find a proper solution for everyone?
Conduct a survey or examine marketing research on the most popular digital tools among employees.
Keep in mind that the needs of an office team vary significantly from the needs of a remote team. The second one needs more collaborative communication channels, because of a lack of face-to-face communication.
Think about your audience
All people are different, so are your clients. Bear in mind their needs along with their abilities.
A great number of people use various devices to stay connected, but still, some have no access to modern equipment.
Take care of everyone and offer various tools for contacting your representatives, leaving feedback, and asking for customer support.
By doing so, you will not only expand the variety of channels for communication but also increase customer engagement and win some clients.
Consider the budget allowed to spend
Some collaboration tools don’t require any payments, for example, sending an email or making a free conference call, offered by modern apps, like Whoosh or Zoom. While many others charge excessive monthly fees.
When planning your communication channel strategy and introducing new technologies to the working process, consider their cost. Sometimes it will be better to look through simpler offers than to pay an unreasonable amount of money for a famous brand.
On the other hand, don’t be greedy. Quality service costs money. Just be attentive and choose only those applications that have proven themselves up.
Examine the types of information you share
Information has different goals. It can be confidential or aimed at a particular group of people. It can be a newsletter, contract, or invitation. So before picking a particular tool, ask yourself the following questions:
- Is it urgent or may wait a bit?
- Is it formal or informal?
- What type of information is it - audio, visual, or anything else?
- Does it require feedback?
- Should it be available later?
Doing so is highly important because a communication channel fully depends on the type of shared information.
Try introducing digital communication channels
Written communication channels - formal documents, contracts, memos, reports, and others - represent the most traditional methods of internal communication in a company. But these days, digital communication channels show the highest efficiency.
What is more, they can enclose every sphere of business communication - from the distribution of written documents to arranging video meetings and important negotiations with foreign partners.
Every modern business should introduce them to keep up with the modern technologies, create a productive and effective working environment, and build a close-knit team of professionals.
Digital examples of internal communication channels:
- Online project management tools
- Messaging apps
- Internal social media platforms
- Video conferencing services
- Voice messages
- Internal blog
Digital examples of external communication channels:
- Live chat with a chatbot assistance
- Video call platforms
- Business blog
- Social media business accounts
- Press releases
5 examples of the most effective business communication channels
Business video conferencing apps
While the whole world is living through the global pandemic and suffers from the lack of face-to-face communication, online meetings have become an integral part of the working routine in many companies with remote teams.
The process of arranging virtual conferences is really easy: install an app, create a virtual room and invite everybody you want to have a chat with. Time and place don’t matter, the internet connection is everything required. That’s why such apps are on the rise today.
They’re useful for:
Remote team communication, working from different parts of the world; large events, like conferences, webinars, and masterclasses, which can’t be held in real life due to the COVID restrictions.
Being an example of a helpful business channel, email comes in handy when you need to distribute important documents or send a newsletter with the company’s updates. Also, emails are popular for sending invitations and business correspondence. The most famous email clients are:
- Apple Mail
- Yahoo! Mail
These days, email is becoming less popular, giving way to instant messaging, which is faster, more convenient, and has advanced functionality.
Still, email is useful for:
Formal external and internal communications, distributing official documents, and newsletters.
Messengers represent relatively new methods of communication. Although being popular in a business sphere, they’re mostly used for friendly chats between team members. Instant messaging is a great way to keep in touch when you don’t have much time and need to quickly share information or your own ideas. It takes several seconds to type and send a message. Most messaging apps, like Whoosh, Facebook Messenger, or Telegram, allow users to upload files, make video calls and send voice messages. So it’s a great communication channel for external and internal communication that includes numerous tools for cooperation and engagement.
They’re useful for:
Instant messaging between coworkers, informal talks, progress check-ins.
Traditional calls are great for solving urgent issues. Unlike video conferencing, voice-only calls don’t allow seeing your interlocutor, but it’s not a problem in situations when you want to get some information quickly. You can also host conference calls using a smartphone, but it’s better to install a specialized service for this. With the cellular connection, you risk wasting a considerable sum of money, because usually, mobile operators take charge of setting up such calls, especially international ones. But with the power of the web, It’s easy to dial a person from another part of the world, just by connecting to Wi-Fi or mobile data.
They’re useful for:
Urgent information sharing, voice-only conversations.
SMS remains a popular solution for business communications among other mobile communication channels. Maybe not as often as ten years ago, but we keep sending a couple when being in places with a poor internet connection.
The main disadvantage of SMS is a strict character limit. When you exceed it, you pay more. Some providers allow only 160 characters to be sent in one SMS.
It’s useful for:
Short texts in case you don’t have internet access.
The top three digital communication channels for teams
After identifying the most suitable communication channels for your needs, it’s time to examine some video conferencing solutions that help your message reach its destination.
When working remotely, you need to stay in contact with your colleagues. An ideal app for keeping you in touch should offer high-quality video and audio calls, several tools for effective remote collaboration, and a user-friendly interface.
Whoosh perfectly suits all these criteria.
It’s an app created with excellent care for customers, their needs, and wishes. Being quite new to the market, it has already gained popularity and success.
Let’s figure out what is so special about it examining the key features:
- Upscale web security and host controls
- Full-HD video and outstanding audio quality
- Background replacement
- Beautification and gesture recognition
- Screen sharing and whiteboarding
- Meeting recordings and cloud storage for them
- Fully encrypted chats
What is more, it’s quite simple to start a conversation with Whoosh. Just take your smartphone, tablet, or laptop, open the app, tap the link to the meeting, and enjoy communication with your coworkers, clients, or partners.
Slack is a real-time engagement platform for internal communication within a company.
It’s an advanced service, which has taken team chats beyond just text messaging and picture sharing. It also allows arranging video and audio conferences for all-size teams in a paid version, but only for 15 in a basic free plan.
Its most useful features are:
- Video conferencing and voice-only conversations
- Screen sharing
- Desktop and mobile versions
- Various channels on different topics
- A couple of useful project management tools: tasks, reminders, integration with other business platforms
Slack is suitable for small-sized gatherings because they are free and with a stable video-based connection. Yet, large events, like webinars or all-staff meetings, require investments and patience, because video calls quickly drop with more than a couple of attendees.
Zoom has gained popularity right after the coronavirus outbreak, and for good reasons. It’s a reliable and user-friendly service, which charges an affordable sum of money for a bunch of useful collaboration tools. For companies, it offers Zoom Business and Zoom Enterprise plans. Look at its main benefits that bring mostly positive reviews:
- Suitable for both individuals and businesses
- Video and audio conference calls for teams of different sizes
- A cloud-based system with powerful software
- Affordable price tag
Zoom is a convenient service for keeping in touch via a video chat. It has everything for online communication, starting from perfect video quality and ending with customer support.
These are just some of the great examples of channels and apps to use in your everyday communication at work. What to choose depends wholly on you. Just remember, communication and information are the fundamental elements of every sphere. Paired with effective tools for collaboration they can make great things happen. Listen to your team’s needs and customers’ requirements and you’ll definitely choose the right communication channels, which will suit your business perfectly.