Effective business communication is important to every organisation – big or small. Every business needs to have an effective business communication strategy – to enable them communicate well with all stakeholders: internally (communicating important news to employees) and externally to customers and the community at large.
Improving business communication well will help you retain your existing customers as well as win new loyal customers and fans for your brand. Conversely, lack of proper communication in a business leaves staff confused and disgruntled, makes customers feel un-cared for and puts your brand image at a disadvantage in the market space.
So how do businesses go about creating a communications strategy?
The good news is, as a small business you don’t have to hire a communications specialist or spend hours on communication every day. In short, here are a few tips covering most things you need to know about effective business communication and how you can apply them.
1.Who to Communicate with and About What?
Communicating with Staff
There are several times when you may need to pass important inside information across within your business. For smaller companies, communication between staff may be as simple as speaking face to face or sending a single email. Here at FlexiSAF, We mostly communicate via emails, Slack and Whatsapp groups.
As the company grows, it may become necessary to create an Intranet portal to manage internal communications. Things you may need to keep staff aware of include: new changes to products, pricing, procedures, holiday announcements, birthday or wedding celebrations and management or team decisions that may affect the staff and their role.
Communicating with Customers
Having satisfied customers is the primary focus of any business. As such, improving business communication with customers need to be given the utmost priority. Here are some types of communication you may have with customers:
- Collecting feedback
- Product releases
- Product updates/new features
- Company news
- Marketing messages (promotions)
- Holidays/service hours etc
You can add extra value by also communicating useful tips on using your product and any other relevant content you know they will find useful.
Communicating with Other Business Stakeholders
The general public also has a role to play in the success of your business. Some of them may be your potential customers. A lot of them could make or even cost you a referral. Either way, positive brand awareness is never a bad idea.
You can communicate with non-customers about important events you are hosting, send marketing messages, information about new products/services, research/industry information and major company news e.g partnerships, job openings etc.
2. Identifying Channels of Communication for your Business
Now that we’ve established your communication goals and your audience, it’s left to consider how best to communicate i.e the channels to use for communication.
There are many ways to reach people these days. Internally, like we already discussed, it may be easier for staff to communicate via emails, Whatsapp groups for teams, slack channels, phone calls or a company intranet.
With your customers, you could reach them via email using services like MailChimp, SendGrid, ConstantContact etc. You can also contact them via SMS or phone call or on Social Media such as: Whatsapp groups, Facebook groups, Corporate Twitter page etc. At FlexiSAF, we use a combination of several methods. One of the easiest ways to reach our product users is by sending them in-app notifications with important updates.
While choosing the right communications channel, you must consider your target audience and what would be the best way to reach them. For example, people who aren’t tech savvy aren’t likely to check their emails often so sending emails may be ineffective to pass across urgent information.
You should also consider the nature of your message: e.g an urgent announcement or lengthy discussion may require a text message or phone call. Almost everyone checks their texts and takes calls several times a day.
To communicate with the rest of the public, social media is a great tool. Post appropriate updates on your company Linkedin feed, Facebook, Twitter etc. Other effective methods include media releases or blog posts.
3. Structuring your Efforts
Now that you know all the basics, you need to put it all together to enable you plan ahead. Will you be releasing any new products soon? How would you like to announce that? Any major events your business will be attending or hosting? In many cases, you will need to communicate a message twice or more because some people are bound to miss it the first time. Also consider how your message would best be conveyed; should you include an image, video or perhaps a GIF?
Go ahead and put all of these details in a Communications Calendar or Planner. Mark important dates and events and take it in stride month by month!
These tips should be able to help you step up and improve your business communication skills. Your customers will thank you for it and if done right, you should also win new loyal customers by following these tips.