21/04/2020

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Best Office Communication Systems

Communication is vital in every business, both internally and externally. As a business to gain new clients, you need to be able to communicate clearly to them what problems you solve with your service or product. Then to retain customers, it is essential to communicate distinctly with them so you become a source they can trust.

Why is communication important in business?

Internal communication, however, is the lifeblood of any business. How frustrating is it when, as a customer, you have to repeat your question or problem to numerous people within the same organisation simply because they don’t communicate inter-departmentally?

But it doesn’t have to be this way.

Effective communication means:

· Customers get their needs met quickly and efficiently.

· Team members are kept up-to-date and can, therefore, react appropriately.

· Team members are more productive.

Communicating within the business environment is easy, and there are numerous products and systems available to suit all of your business needs. Communication tools have progressed a lot further than merely relying on a telephone or an email provider.

Types of Communication Tools

VoIP Communication Systems – This includes such services as the EVE phone system, which not only provides your business with a telephone system but also with collaboration tools. EVE ensures clients and staff can communicate effectively using several applications such as collaborative whiteboard sessions, video conferencing and in-system chats designed to streamline communication processes.

Microsoft Tools – Microsoft offers two communication solutions including Lync, which allows collaborative working using video calls, phone calls, instant messaging and collaborative working environments. It has very similar capability to Microsoft Teams, both of which are part of the Office 365 package. The main difference is that Teams doesn’t offer phone capabilities.

Project Management Tools – There are various Project Management Tools such as Basecamp which is a cloud-based portal that can help communication between internal staff (in-house and remote) as well as clients. It is possible to create task lists, opportunities for file sharing and instant messaging. Another similar tool is Monday.com which offers similar capabilities but also integrates with Slack which enables turning team messages into active tasks. It is also possible from within Slack chat rooms to create Google Hangouts.

Monday.com also allows for task management processes, chats with team members, and document sharing with virtual team hubs where all documents and notes can be found in one place.

Collaboration Tools – Team collaboration tools are increasingly being adopted by businesses who have a large workforce with remote workers. Collaboration tools are great for projects which require involvement from different departments or individuals with specific skill sets. Tools such as Slack and Microsoft Teams are purpose-built with this in mind. Microsoft Teams have a wide range of functionality, and the software can be used to conduct video conferences, sharing of documents and much much more. At CIS, we often use Microsoft Teams to ensure that projects can be collaborated on efficiently, to hold video meetings and to share documents.

Task–Tracking Applications – There are a number of these Task-Tracking Applications including Redbooth which also has an integrated chat capability. Chats can be linked to specific tasks and make collaboration and communication more efficient. An alternative to Redbooth is Wrike which enables you to connect team members directly with particular tasks as well as in-app messaging.

Employee Applications -These application types include Blink, which helps bring remote colleagues together with office-based team members. The application includes messaging both private and group chats, a company feed, a directory and cloud storage. This is compatible with Office 365 and G-Suite as well as Android, iOS, Windows and Mac.

Facebook Applications – Workplace from Facebook provides an internal social network for your specific organisation. The app enables live video and audio conferencing, messaging both private and group chat and unlimited cloud storage for files.

How do Office Communication Tools Work?

Web-based communication platforms in business can be an integral introduction to your working processes, as long as everyone is on board. They can ensure that team members are able to contact each other quickly and efficiently and keep track of conversations.

By ensuring only one platform is being used throughout your company provides that all communication is in one place which will save time and ultimately make your team more productive. Imagine the time lost with people looking for a message or a document when they can’t remember if it was in Outlook, WhatsApp, Skype or Facebook. If everything is in one place, everyone will know where to go for the information they need.

Any communication platform is only as good as the users, so it is key to ensure all users are signed on and set up with the permissions they need. With on-going training, it won’t be long before all business communications go through the chosen platform making for a more efficient team, which will end up with a better team and better client relationships.

What are the best communication platforms?

There are numerous platforms out there to choose from, and each has its pros and cons. It can be quite daunting when trying to select an appropriate platform for your business and its specific needs. Here is a look at the top five platforms available;

1)   Zoom – with Skype being discontinued in July 2021 Zoom has taken over as the video conferencing platform of choice. With both free and paid-for versions Zoom allows video conferencing with up to 1,000 participants, screen sharing, break-out room capability and meeting recording.

2)   Slack – Slack is popular with large companies like eBay and Sony and offers a team-based communication platform which is compatible with MailChimp, Google Drive and Dropbox meaning it is easy for businesses to communicate and share documents from wherever they are based. The team chats are searchable, and there is the capability of going to Google Hangouts from the internal chat rooms.

3)   Workplace by Facebook – This is a team communication platform which helps to strengthen relationships between team members, either in-office or remotely. With the ability to run live video and audio conferences, there are also private, and group chat capabilities and opportunities for file sharing, which keeps your team up to date with the tasks in hand. It is compatible with Google Drive and Dropbox and can link with Google Calendar.

4)   Zula – Zula is a relative newcomer to web-based communication in the business arena and was co-founded by the founder of VoIP. It is a web and mobile app which has real-time audio and video chats, messaging and conference call capabilities. It is easy to collaborate with colleagues and clients using Gmail, LinkedIn, and Facebook.

5)   Hipchat – Hipchat is a messaging tool that has the capability of private messages, group chat rooms, video conferencing with screen and file sharing. This can be accessed using the cloud or through your business’s in-house servers depending on your individual requirements.

At CIS we have several services which we provide and manage to help your business communications flourish. 

Telephony Services – here at CIS we offer VoIP phone systems, and we are a distributor of EVE (Exceptional Voice Everywhere) phone systems which includes instant messaging, video conferencing, playback and compatibility with various CRM systems. To find out more click here.

Unified Communications Technology (UCT) – We offer a cloud-based solution with fixed-line telephony, mobile, messaging and apps all within a single solution. This allows your team, remote or in-house, to collaborate and communicate wherever they are. To find out how this can help your business click here.

Want to know more about how CIS can improve your business processes through communication?

We would love to help. At CIS, we continually see the positive impact that optimised communications infrastructure has on our clients business operations.

Speak to one of our advisors today on 01367 248 700 or email us at solutions@cisltd.com.

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