In one way or another, most of us are a little short-sighted when it comes to communications tools. Although we have many options available, we use the same tool for every situation. Familiarity, expediency and a basic cognitive bias influence our decision to communicate with colleagues, partners and customers using the same tool, regardless of the situation and the information we are conveying. 

Like people, business organizations also get trapped by this habit. Despite the fact that technology has delivered a myriad of communication options, many organizations continue to rely on one method for all purposes. But by continuing to use hammers to drive screws, these businesses are missing out on the opportunity to do more with their communications system. And they are not capitalizing on the efficiency and productivity benefits provided by the many communications and collaboration options available today. 

 

BREAKING THE USAGE HABIT 

Business communications is all about moving the yardsticks on a specific objective. Whether it’s nudging a potential customer along the buyer’s journey, closing in on a sale or providing customer service, we communicate to relay important information that will achieve a specific goal, fulfil a requirement or address a need. If the communication is effective, we can move the business conversation to the next level. 

Not too long ago, the effectiveness of the communications process was restricted by the tools available. You either met with colleagues, partners and customers face-to-face, or you connected over the phone. These options limited just how efficient and productive employees could be during a regular work day. 

Today, there are a variety of communications options available. Along with face-to-face meetings, businesses can leverage advanced voice communications tools, as well as instant messaging (IM), short message service (SMS) and multimedia message service (MMS), email and video options. In addition, all these options can be combined and packaged in unified communication and collaboration solutions that make it easier to use the right method for specific situations. 

Despite this choice, organizations are often caught in communications inertia. Although they are aware of the options available, they haven’t taken the next step in their technology journey by upgrading to the solutions that will enable more efficiency and productivity. If they have upgraded, they haven’t harnessed the true power of their communication system to do more with what they have. By leveraging the expansive palette of communications and collaboration tools available, businesses can transform their communications system into a strategic asset and position their business to deal with any requirement. 

 

A TOOL FOR EVERY TASK 

As Tywin Lannister noted in Game of Thrones, “There’s a tool for every task, and a task for every tool.” When it comes to business communications, the available tools can be categorized as either synchronous or asynchronous based on communications objectives.

Synchronous communication tools are ideal when real-time interaction is needed between two or more people. The options for these situations are: 

  • Face-to-face meetings, which are problematic under today’s social distancing, but are nevertheless useful when the communication is important, requires buy-in from participants and non-verbal communication will be the key to understanding the emotions of the other person 
  • Voice calls, which are the go-to-option when face-to-face meetings are not possible, but clarity is needed and some degree of cooperation, collaboration or discussion are key to reaching a decision in a timely manner
  • Video calls, which are useful when face-to-face meetings are not possible, but collaboration, cooperation or discussion are needed and documents need to be viewed and/or shared among a group of two or more people
  • Asynchronous communication options are ideal when real-time interaction is not required between two or more people and information can be shared without the need for everyone receiving the information to respond immediately. The options for these situations include:
  • IM, which enables short messages to be sent with key information that is not urgent, and to recipients whose unified communications presence indicators show that they are unavailable 
  • SMS/MMS, which is similar to IM but designed specifically for delivery to mobile devices where messages tend to interrupt the recipient, even if the unified communication application is closed • Email, which is useful for the one-way distribution of report style communication, documentation or other forms of information that cannot be shared with IM or SMS/MMS
  • Team collaboration, which is the best option for projects that last for an extended period of time among a group of two or more people because it incorporates multiple forms of communication, like IM, voice and video, but also enables file and task sharing

 

USING THE RIGHT TOOL AT THE RIGHT TIME

To understand how the available tools contribute to efficiency and productivity, consider how each method of communication can be used within the context of a hypothetical project involving more than five employees working out of different locations.

At the beginning of the project, the two primes connect over a voice call to discuss the initiative, flesh out what they would like to achieve and determine who they will need on the team. This initial voice meeting is followed up by an email that distributes a project scope document to the remote team members and invites them to participate in a video call during which they can discuss how to tackle the project, set objectives and outline responsibilities.

During the video call, the newly minted project team reviews the project scope document together through screen-sharing, proposes and agrees on adjustments, adds enhancements and sets a project schedule.

As the project gets rolling, the team uses a collaboration platform to work together on key documents and reports, keep track of tasks and stay connected via IM or SMS/MMS for those moments when flashes of inspiration require input or asynchronous discussion with other team members. At different stages, the team may get together over video to discuss progress in real time and make key decisions. And when the project is complete, it may meet with senior management via a combination of video and face-to-face meetings, if possible, to present the final report and recommendations.

Throughout the project, efficiency and productivity are maintained because all the employees involved are connected to each other at all times through different forms of communication. This enables ongoing collaboration and keeps the project moving. 

 

IT’S NOT THE TOOL, IT’S HOW YOU USE IT 

The use case shows that a mix of communications tools is needed in today’s environment. So, if your employees only have access to one method of communication, then they are not working efficiently. It may be time to take a hard look at your system and determine if you can do more. 
If you’re a Mitel MiVoice customer, Mitel can help you address the unique and evolving needs of your organization. Now might be a great time to fortify your communication strategy by replacing disjointed tools with integrated solutions that seamlessly connect to your existing infrastructure. It might also be the right time to leverage the tools that extend communications to mobile and remote workers while ensuring productivity and tighter collaboration across your organization. 

For example, Mitel MiCollab simplifies the way employees talk, meet and share information by bringing together communications and collaboration tools into a single solution. And Mitel MiTeam Meetings is a multi-party video solution designed for those who want to work more efficiently and enhance workplace communication with seamless transitions between voice, video and chat capabilities. 
Whatever your situation, don’t lock yourself into a habit that may cost your business in the long run. Look beyond what you’re already doing to see if you can do more.

 

get great content like this weekly
Ready to talk to sales? Contact us.