Market musings

How to Improve Communication Within an Expanding Small Business

by Nina Quasebarth
January 28, 2017

Effective communication is a key component of any size business—or any relationship for that matter. The day runs more smoothly and less time is wasted trying to track someone down when coworkers and customers can easily communicate with the right people in your company.

Studies show that when workers are connected to one another in accessible ways, productivity increases by 20 to 25 percent. The concept seems simple, but as companies grow, the implementation is not always as easy as lining up A and B.

And since we are all still hiring humans, no matter your industry, it is essential to focus on solutions for improving your internal and external communication in order to successfully scale your business.

The term communication can be applied pretty loosely across the board, so here are some priorities to focus on to ensure that communication fluidity in your business grows at the same rate as your bottom line:

Unify your communication

A trait that many expanding small businesses are encountering is a rise in the number of employees who work remotely. Whether they are out of the office full- or part-time, salespeople may be on the road, technical employees attend training events, and marketing people are often traveling to trade shows to grow your brand.

The number of people who telecommute is also continuing to rise, as does the number of businesses that rely on outside contractors and freelancers. The latest studies show that 3.7 million people in the U.S. work from home at least part of the time and eighty to ninety percent of employees wish that they were offered that opportunity.

These conditions have amplified the need to unify communication across your organization. Everyone involved in your business should have the ability to easily connect with team members via email, voice, and any other methods you put into place. This not only helps increase productivity in your organization, but it also:

  • Makes the infrastructure easier for your IT team to manage
  • Helps reduce costs, by keeping your communication system centralized
  • Makes it easier for your employees to work from different locations, whether they are on-site, at home, or on the road

Keep contact information updated

Organizational charts become increasingly difficult to keep up with as businesses grow. With all of the comings and goings, it can be a challenge to keep your business’s contact information up to date and disseminated to everyone.

How often have you issued a new org chart to the team and then had a new team member brought on board the following week? And don’t get us started on the red tape of updating a phone number in an antiquated employee database.

Each person answering the company phone has to be able to easily steer customers, vendors, or even coworkers seeking a specific individual or service in the right direction.

Transferring calls to the wrong person within your business not only annoys the person on the other end, but it makes you look unprofessional and disorganized. Not to mention, transferring calls around the organization wastes valuable employee time.

Technology has reached a point that makes it possible to keep your company as up to date as your payroll. Your employees will be empowered to communicate more easily when they have current employee contact information readily available at their fingertips.

Keep it simple

Large enterprises usually have a team of people in place to support their complex voice communication infrastructure. A growing small business may have an IT person or two, but their responsibilities are stretched across all technology needs. The IT team often doesn’t have the bandwidth to specialize in specific areas of technology. This can lead to a big productivity gap for small businesses each time a little change is needed in the phone system—a problem that is easily remedied with a more simplified platform.

The more difficult it is to install and configure your phone system, the more time that’s taken away from the productivity of your IT team and the rest of your staff. Also, complicated solutions are often neglected, and end users turn to an option they are comfortable with—even if it is not one that your company supports or has approved. Maintaining your communication platform should be as easy as possible to ensure maximum efficiency and adoption.

Next steps

No matter the size of your business, communication is a key cog to its success. For the expanding small business, a communication solution that is feature-rich, yet easy to manage, is one of the most valuable tools you can put in place. A study by HR Magazine found that employees waste an average of 40 minutes per day remediating miscommunications—most likely because their organization has the wrong tools in place. Spread across your organization, that time adds up quickly. The right tool can help your employees, and your company, keep on pace with for upward growth.

An office phone system that helps you communicate?

Does your office phone system help you take and make calls, wherever you go? Some office phone systems are too complicated to set up and too confusing to use -- so 75% of employees end up just forwading calls to  their own mobile phones. This can be a problem for small businesses who need to manage and track call data and traffic. 

Spoke is a next-generation virtual phone system, built to run on top of new technologies like VoLTE, HDVoice and 5G networks. The Spoke app transforms the phones that your employees already love into a global mobile network, with local numbers in 56 countries. You can port your business line over to give it a modern upgrade, or choose a DDI number and use it exclusively on your mobile phone. 

In researching how employees at small companies actually use their phones, we've found out that less is more. The intuitive Spoke interface contains all the business phone line essentials that small businesses want --- but none of the unnecessary features that distract employees from doing their work. It has a simple interface that makes it easy to transfer and rout calls on the go, and an auto attendant and smart call log, so you never lose track of the calls you miss. 

Spoke is as easy to install and easy to use, yet powerful enough to replace your office phone system, eliminating up to 88% of your telecom costs.

Contact us for an interactive demo or a free trial and let's figure out how we can get you talking. 

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