But how about “spring cleaning” your communications tools? The average employee uses 17 different cloud applications, three content-sharing services, and three collaboration tools. Yikes. Besides being exhausting, that’s a sure recipe for confusion, data loss, and general frustration as staffers try to communicate with each other.

Whether you’re responsible for your organization’s communications software or someone who wants to simplify their life, use this time of year to clean up and clean out. It might be a good time to consider a single communications solution. In this collaborative workspace, team members can share tasks and documents, schedule calls, chat, and conduct audio and video conferences at the push of a button.

Are your current systems providing the productivity and customer experience you need? If not, consider these pointers for reenergizing and remaking your approach to collaboration and communications.

1. Identify the Purpose and Value of Each Communications Tool

First, ask yourself and your team about what’s needed from your communications systems. What’s most valuable to your business goals, and what technology best supports that? Put another way, you want to determine your software’s purpose. Start by identifying what frustrates people, where necessities fall through the cracks, or how customers could be better served. Then, apply your ideas to evaluate your current tools.

A few questions to get you started:

  • Does the technology help or hinder productivity?
  • Do your communications tools keep your team’s conversations seamless regardless of the device –smartphone, desktop, or laptop?
  • Do they create a common space where team members can easily communicate, share documents, and set up meetings?
  • Can employees respond quickly and efficiently to customers?

2. Analyze the Costs Vs. Benefits of Your Communications Software

Ultimately, the goal of any communications system is to aid productivity and bring value to the business. You’re either making money or losing money, right? The problem is that technology can be alluring, especially when it’s the newest thing. You must ask yourself: Is the time spent using that latest app achieving the desired outcomes?

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“In our culture, we tend to focus just on benefits, which gives you what we call the ‘maximalist mindset,’” explains Cal Newport, author and professor of computer science at Georgetown University, in this Forbes article. “It's easy to only look at the benefits of various things, and then you get very worried about missing out on them... The minimalist mindset looks at the costs just as much as the benefits.”

Spend more time assessing the costs of your existing communications tools, from time wasted swapping between business apps to the monthly expenses of separate collaboration tools. If you’re not getting the right bang for your buck, use this to find more cost-effective, all-in-one communications tools. 

3. Reduce Distraction and Optimize Attention Capital

Newport advocates digital minimalism. Step back from the whirl of digital life, identify what’s most important to you, and then add back the technology that will support your priorities. In business, that means finding solutions to increase productivity by automating simple tasks – like setting up meetings – and improving workflows.

What’s at stake is the ability to focus and get things done. Without that, you risk zapping your team’s energy and preventing your employees from tackling the most critical tasks first.

How do you turn down the digital noise and optimize work time? Start by automating and controlling who can reach you and when. Need some time to tackle a major project? Use presence technology to tell your coworkers you’re unavailable or only available via a specific channel, like text. 

4. Focus on the Customer Experience

Remember that the sexiest technology isn’t worth its bytes if it doesn’t serve the customer. The most competitive businesses are making the customer experience their differentiating factor. As you’re evaluating your communications tools, it’s essential to consider how your communications software impacts your customers’ experience with your business.

Does your current solution enable seamless communications both internally and externally? Does it easily integrate with other essential systems, like CRMs? Can your contact center agents quickly access the information and internal resources they need when they need it? The answers to these questions directly impact your responsiveness to the customer. 

5. Make It Convenient to Work Anywhere

Today, more team members work remotely — on the road, from a home office, or in the field. Use this opportunity to reach out to your remote workers and find out what headaches they’re experiencing. 

Do your collaboration tools enable them to efficiently communicate and respond quickly to customers? Can they access information and people efficiently from their smartphones? Look for a communications solution that allows your staff to access everything they need via a web portal.

Are you ready to do your spring cleaning? It’s a perfect time to take a fresh look at your communications software to ensure you get the most bang for your buck. And when you’re ready to roll out that new software, refer to this handy guide to create the perfect rollout of a new communications system.

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