Communication, communication, communication: so much of our lives revolve around it. It’s no different in the business world. Organizations need to effectively communicate with their customers and partners to excel at what they do.
But first, business communication within the company needs to be efficient to increase employees’ productivity and engagement. With hybrid work models being implemented across the board, the way we communicate at work has also changed.
✨What are the exact benefits of optimized business communication? What are the most important channels that businesses can use to communicate, and which ones are better than the others?
What is business communication?
In simple terms, business communication is all the communication that happens between people within and outside the company. What sets it apart from casual communication is that it’s goal-oriented.
There are many ways to categorize business communication, but the most common classification refers to the relationship between the communicating parties.
Employees talking to their superiors or managers talking to leadership is an example of upward communication. Although this type of business communication has long not been paid attention to, employers worldwide realized the power of uninhibited communication coming from their front rows.
For example, employees can give feedback to their managers about immediate customer needs. Knowing about them, leadership can make better strategic decisions.
Downward communication - coming from the top of the company to the bottom - is a very traditional way of perceiving business communication. Simply put, it comes from superiors to the lower-ranking employees in the organization.
Some examples of downward business communication include managers explaining the new projects to their teams. Another one is leadership sending out information on new company policies.
Considering that 74% of employees feel like they miss out on company information and news, it’s worth asking how effective are organizations’ downward communication channels.
Lateral internal communication
Lateral internal communication refers to communication among peers of equal status within the organization. It happens when teammates communicate or when people from different departments are involved in cross-functional collaboration.
Why is this type of business communication important? Because research shows that productivity improves by 25% in organizations where employees are connected.
External business communication
External business communication is what we would call all communication that goes from inside the organization to outside parties. This includes partners, customers, media, prospects, investors, and more.
Considering how versatile it can be, this type of business communication happens through a myriad of channels. Moreover, organizations usually pay a lot of attention to this type of business communication since it most directly affects business, i.e. how the organization is perceived.
Business communication channels
In comparison with the past, business communication now relies on many more channels. Some of them are getting less popular, while others are becoming more dominant. This is mainly due to the creation of digital workplaces that mostly rely on digital communication.
Among these business communication channels, which one do you believe is the most popular one?
When you think of business communication, email is one of the first communication channels that come to mind. Although it is still a popular way to communicate, especially to disperse company-wide messages, it might not be as effective as it once was.
With the average employee receiving 122 emails per day, it’s no wonder that most emails are just skimmed through. Moreover, with the rise of digital workplaces, teams want to collaborate more closely in real-time. As you can imagine, email is not very conducive to that.
✨ Check out this list of best team collaboration software that makes it easy for employees to work together when physically apart.
As instant messaging solutions like WhatsApp, Viber, and Telegram rose to fame, employees were looking for a similarly easy way to communicate with each other. Solutions like Slack and Microsoft Teams quickly became a must-have in many organizations.
This is due to the ease of communication they presented. In fact, 77% of employees prioritize ease of use when looking for a messaging app, while 65% want their instant messaging platform to centralize all their communication.
Centralizing all communication means having a single solution to manage communication with external parties - customers and partners - as well as internal ones, no matter the communication channel.
Although the omnichannel solutions are primarily serving customer service representatives, it’s useful to have a possibility to centralize all business communication within a single platform. For example, we see Rocket.Chat is used to communicate externally with vendors and partners and internally with colleagues.
Among communication software, video conferencing solutions saw the biggest rise during the pandemic. This is not a coincidence, as they are the next best thing to live meetings in the world of remote work and digital communication.
However, it is hard to imagine video conferencing existing as a sole business communication channel. For example, when you conclude a meeting, it’s often expected to continue communicating via email or instant messaging solution until the next video conference.
This is not surprising as business communication best practices call for a combination of asynchronous and synchronous communication. In other words - versatility is the key when it comes to business communication!
When it comes to business communication, phone calls are mostly associated with outgoing calls towards prospects and customers. It’s easy to get immediate answers when engaging in a phone call.
The fact remains that nowadays it’s much easier to communicate over digital channels. Although we all increasingly use our phones, we don’t make as many phone calls, especially in a business setting.
Text messaging and phone calls as means of communication are almost exclusively attributed to business communication with external parties. This refers not only to prospects but also partners.
If you want to quickly communicate with partners and vendors, chances are you’re going to send an SMS or WhatsApp. Since we all use multiple business communication channels, many people now keep track of their communication with omnichannel solutions. This allows them to manage all their communication through a single app.
Benefits of optimized business communication
According to Forbes research, 70% of employees say they are challenged by the volume of work communication they have to deal with. This speaks volumes about the need to optimize business communication.
The more of it is not always better - but a lack of it is certainly not the solution. However, it is beneficial to try and figure out the solution to this problem.
Nowadays, organizations are trying to improve team collaboration patterns in their rows. No wonder, since collaboration is conducive to innovation, better goal alignment, and overall business success.
Optimized business communication and team collaboration are intertwined. It’s easy to see that there’s no one without the other.
Increased productivity and performance
A whopping 97% of employees believe communication impacts their everyday task efficacy. When team communication is improved, it helps everybody to stay on track with their to-dos and schedule time to work together on joint issues.
Better employee engagement
Optimized business communication improves employee engagement. By getting rid of overcrowded inboxes and providing the right information when employees need it the most, it’s easier to expect higher engagement levels.
According to research, the two types of business communication that need to be optimized for engagement to rise are downward and upward communication. C-level executives and managers need to communicate with their employees effectively about their work. Moreover, employees need to be given a voice and the opportunity to express their concerns to superiors.
How important is business communication to company culture? Let’s just review some indicative research results.
✨ 33% of employees say a lack of open communication has the most negative impact on employee morale.
✨ When management regularly updates company news, 85% of employees say they’re more motivated.
✨ Ineffective communication is the main culprit for workplace failures according to 86% of employees and executives.
✨Want to know more? Learn why exactly is team communication is important in the workplace.
Higher customer satisfaction and retention
As explained, external communication towards prospects, partners, and customers is also included in the business communication definition. As such, it is enormously important for keeping businesses successful.
It’s easy to see how customer satisfaction and retention could be improved if business communication improves as well. This is important to remember as customer service is an important factor in a choice of loyalty to a brand to 96% of consumers.
Streamline all business communication with Rocket.Chat
In our research on how we communicate at work, we found out that 82% of employees want all of their communication to be streamlined through a single app. This includes communication coming from their superiors, team members, colleagues, and external partners.
With Rocket.Chat, this is all possible. With our omnichannel feature, you can streamline all your communication to an easy-to-use instant messaging platform. Having an overview of emails, WhatsApp, SMS, and more, is a great way to keep track of all business communication - no matter where or whom it comes from.