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COVID-19 Has Changed the Business Communication Game – Here’s How to Adapt

Business communication
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They say COVID-19 has changed the world forever and business communication is no exception. Remote work is becoming a new normal making employees set up their home offices and bring all the work communication online. Whether we are communicating with our team at work or with customers and partners, nothing is the same any more. Naturally, businesses face a great set of challenges starting with the lack of human interaction to ineffective online tools that don’t cater to their needs. Let’s dive into specifics of business communication challenges that emerged due to the ongoing pandemic and see the best ways to tackle them. 

Internal business communication during
COVID-19

Thousands of businesses went remote with the spread of coronavirus and it doesn’t look like this is going to change any time soon. In fact, Google has recently announced that they’ll keep employees working remotely until July 2021. For those workers not used to this remote environment, the new setup could become a proper challenge. No more walking over to a co-worker’s desk with a question, no more chats around the water cooler or in the hall, no more face-to-face meetings in the same room. The new limits leave very little space for building human relationships which is one of the biggest needs today – remote employees often feel lonely and isolated.

Is there a way to make remote business communication as effective as it used to be? Well, nothing beats live human communication. But as we adjust to coronavirus consequences, there are a few things to keep in mind to pave the way for effective team communication while working away from office. 

Video meetings are more important than ever

What happens when you communicate with colleagues in the office? You can see their faces and they can see yours – the emotions, expressions, all the body language that is believed to constitute more than 60% of what we communicate. This is the exact reason why audio calls aren’t the best solution in the long run for your team meetings. Since we can’t get into a real in-office meeting, we should do our best to get as close to it as possible. Frequent video calls is a great solution that brings your team together, lets everyone stay on the same page increasing accountability and transparency in the team.

Create a place for “water cooler” chats

Productive workers aren’t those who work straight from 9 to 5 without taking a break. Arianna Huffington was right to say: “An empty tank will take you nowhere. Take some time to refuel.” That’s exactly why smart managers actually encourage water cooler chats as it’s a great time to give your brain a break so you can get back to work with a fresh mindset. That’s great, you’d say, but what about working online? One of the best ways to create a similar space for your employees is to have a specific chat room where everyone is allowed to share those cat pics, cool memes or new food delivery services they ran by. It’s a place where co-workers can let off some work steam, build relationships, improve productivity and collaboration.

Humanize your communication with voice messages 

Verizon has recently reported that they are handling an average of 800 million calls a day. To compare, on Mother’s Day, one of the busiest call days of the year it’s usually half the amount. We crave to hear a human’s voice and team communication is no exception. With so many teams working from homes a big part of our communication has turned into text and people get tired of typing all the time. Voice messages are a great way to enhance the communication within the team. Sometimes not everyone is available for an actual call so instead of spending long minutes typing all that you want to say, why not just send a voice message to that person?

Pick the right team communication tools

It’s obvious that businesses working from home need a reliable tool that covers all the needs of today’s remote team and makes online communication as human as it can possibly be. Among so many business chat tools out there, you can try Chanty – a simple team communication tool that tackles all the challenges we discussed above. Let’s take a closer look at how Chanty can make your remote team more productive:

1. Audio and video calls. You don’t have to worry about your team being on the same page when working from home. Chanty brings your team together with unlimited high-quality group audio and video calls. 1-on-1 calls are even available in the free plan and video calls are super affordable at just $3 per seat per month.

2. A conversation for everything. You can organize your team communication by conversations. E.g. create a conversation for every project or department within your team to make sure all the chats happen in the right place. Feel free to create that water cooler chat for your team to hang out and share non-work related stuff.

3. Voice message anyone whenever you like. Unlike many other team chat tools out there, Chanty features voice messages which is super handy for the times we live in. If you have a habit of sending voice messages to your family and friends you are probably wondering why the majority of team chats don’t give you this option. Well, now sending work-related voice messages is as easy as it’s in WhatsApp. 

4. Connect the dots with integrations. If you are on a tech-savvy side, you’ll love that it’s possible to connect any app you and your team are using at work thanks to integration with Zapier. Moreover, there are many more built-in options e.g. integrations with Trello, Google Drive, Mailchimp and more.

5. Built-in task manager. One of the big challenges for a remote team is having to use a number of different tools. Well, with Chanty, you won’t even need a task manager as it’s already a built-in feature. You can turn every message in your conversation into a task instead of copy-pasting it to a third party task manager or wasting time to set up an integration. It’s that simple.

Give Chanty a try during the uncertain times to make your remote team productive and inspired. 

External business communication during
COVID-19

Now when we’ve tackled the internal team communication challenges, it’s time to take a look at the other side of business communications. I bet your team speaks with the customers on a daily basis and coronavirus has changed it as well just like about everything else around us. You can’t go to a meeting with a client or network on a conference while sipping at your cappuccinos. All you have left is online so we need to adjust this communication method to our needs and learn how to make it work. Let’s see what kind of trends businesses see so far when it comes to external communication as well as the best ways to adapt to them. 

Let your customers stay in the know 

Things change at a rapid pace these days and it’s super important to keep your customers in the know – what are your working hours now, how can they get in touch, any other changes they should be aware of (e.g. product shipping taking longer than expected). Make sure to put it up online to as many places as possible – your company’s website, social media accounts, email newsletter, etc. 

Understand their problems

Sales is mostly about solving problems. Unfortunately, the issues your customers had a few weeks ago are no longer the same. Your task is to understand what kind of challenges you are dealing with now. That’s why the key to revamping your communication with customers is actively listening to them and suggesting the solution that will make that problem go away.  

Let them hear a human’s voice

We are all humans and hearing a real human’s voice during a lock-down is something we miss. Since you can’t go to a meeting, it’s always a better idea to have a call with a client rather than write an email. Same goes for your website. How about ditching your human-less on-site chat bot and replacing it with the Call-us button instead?

Pick the right tool to communicate with the customers

As I mentioned before, it’s more important than ever for people all over the globe to humanize the communication we can’t have in real life. While emails, chatbots, texting and social media are all valid means of communication, think about adding that little human touch to your relationships with customers and introduce phone calls if you haven’t already. One can pay attention to RingBlaze – a simple business phone system for small and medium businesses. Let’s see how it can help your business improve customer communication.

  1. It helps you close more sales. That’s right, RingBlaze features a click-to-call button you can put on your website that will attract eyeballs and drive business your way. If you are running pay per click ads and not having this button, you are missing out big time. It works like a magnet for your site visitors significantly boosting your on-site conversion rates. 
  1. It saves SMBs money. Money isn’t the last question on the table during COVID-19 so if you are looking for the most affordable solution, look no further. Well-known tools like RingCentral and similar usually charge up to 3 times more for the same functionality you can get with RingBlaze.
  1. It lets your team connect with customers with voice. Phone calls are on the rise during the pandemic and letting site visitors get in touch with a business is now easier than ever. It’s a great way for your team at work to show empathy, listen to the problems of your customers and cater exactly to their needs. 

Summary

Businesses are making a shift towards remote work to slow down the pandemic and help the world recover from it. And while we can’t influence certain things going on in the world right now, we can adapt to the changes it brings. The way people communicate inside and outside of their teams at work isn’t the same. Humanizing communication either with friends or colleagues while staying isolated has become something that people all over the world crave for. The best thing we can do is to adjust the way we work and communicate now to not only keep the business afloat, but make it thrive during these difficult times. 

What tools and techniques help you improve business communication these days? Let us know in the comments. 

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Dennis Vu

Dennis Vu is the CEO and Co-founder of Ringblaze, a virtual business phone system company that helps teams to better serve their customers, anywhere.

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