Communication is one of the foundational principles of success and productivity in business management, whether it takes place in an office setting or remotely. Businesses prosper when employees work together inside, handle duties effectively, and exchange skills and knowledge.
It’s crucial to communicate within a company, but the channel you choose to use to do so matters just as much as the content of the message. Knowing when to use each strategy depends on whether you choose the right communication channel, which can make or break good communication.
How Do Communication Channels Work?
Broadly speaking, communication channels are the ways in which you engage or talk to one or more individuals. This means that linking the right channel to the message you’re attempting to convey will have an impact on how that message is received in the context of your business. There are various ways to communicate through media and in person.
Knowing which mode of communication is most effective will have a significant impact on the outcome, whether you are sharing new information with your entire organization or talking through a task with a single coworker.
When selecting the appropriate channel, it is important to take into account the various levels of formality employed in communication. Communication can be categorized into three formality levels: formal, casual, and unofficial.
Sensitive information like regulations and business strategy is frequently included in formal communication.
Examples of typical documents that fall under this category include corporate plans, annual reports, written strategies, contracts, company-wide correspondence, safety rules, presentations, and more.
Although they are frequently presented in a more casual way, informal communication channels are also employed for business conversations.
Conversations with coworkers, requests for help with straightforward tasks or favors from coworkers, and ongoing team collaboration are examples of informal communication.
Unofficial communication is the outlier among the three since it occurs almost exclusively outside of the workplace, is completely casual, and has nothing to do with work-related subjects.
Unofficial communication examples include discussing your preferred sports teams while on break or going out for coffee to talk about your most recent vacation.
Channels of Communication
You will need to grasp each form of communication channel and use that knowledge to your correspondence with your coworkers, employees, and clients because each has its own set of advantages and disadvantages.
Written communication is one of the least urgent but also most formal forms of communication. Contracts, notices, and other company-wide papers that need for a more official presentation or a signature are frequently communicated by written means. Among the ways to communicate via writing are:
- Including leaflets
- Written communication
Face-to-face communication, such that found in board meetings and performance evaluations, is deserving of honorable mention because it adheres to the same level of formality but is not strictly “written.”
Depending on the situation and manner, digital communication channels can be used for both formal and casual communication and can range from extremely urgent to not at all. Digital channels are frequently used for internal requests, task management, public message, advertising, and back-and-forth communication. Digital communication techniques include verbal and nonverbal channels like:
- Apps for email messaging
- Project management applications
- Software for video conferencing
- the internet
- live chat
- Press reports
- Dispatch marketing
Using a mobile device
Another type of digital communication is mobile communication, which is tailored exclusively for mobile devices. Examples comprise:
- Calls on a mobile device
- Text messaging via SMS
- Messaging programs
- On-the-go video calls using apps
Top 5 Team Communication Channels
For internal team communication channels, selecting the most effective communication strategy—whether it be the medium, the formality, or both—is crucial to making sure your message gets received and understood.
When you just use one form of communication for everything, like email, your staff and coworkers may feel overwhelmed by the volume of messages and treat them all equally important and of equal priority. It will be easier for others to understand your message if you diversify your communication methods to suit your demands.
In the modern office, email is not only one of the most popular modes of communication, but it’s also one of the simplest. Additionally, email systems frequently interact seamlessly with other programs and tools, including as platforms for video conferencing and task management, enabling you to schedule events and tasks directly in your email.
- Advantages: affordable, dependable, enables integrations and attachments, and provides a standard channel for essential messages like business messaging.
- Cons: Expected slower response times, direct communication permitting email contact with external parties
- Most formal digital conversations, messages that don’t require a quick response, and messages with attachments are best.
The oldest way of communication in the book, face-to-face conversation, is still the most dependable. Face-to-face communication can take on a variety of formalities, from a casual chat to a formal meeting or conference to a presentation. However, if you intend to hold an in-person meeting, it is crucial to make sure that your objectives and purpose are clear and that you keep on task. This is because, according to 71% of managers, meetings that do not meet these requirements are counterproductive.
- Benefits include less potential for misunderstanding, the ability to communicate nonverbally through facial expressions and body language, and a boost in the energy and effectiveness of teamwork.
- Cons: Able to get distracted; not everyone is an effective public speaker; needs practice.
- Best for: communication, presentations, and group gatherings.
Video conferencing is a great technique to simulate face-to-face communication if your team is entirely remote or includes remote workers as a part of a hybrid team. This will boost meeting participation and encourage collaboration. Beyond only distant meetings, there are occasions when you might prefer a video conference over a simple phone conversation with a client to put a face to the voice.
- Pros: Digital face-to-face communication can be more clear than on a phone call, it encourages involvement without taking up too much time, and it allows for supplementary communication like tone of voice and facial expressions.
- Best for: remote and remote hybrid teams, client meetings, team meetings.
- Cons: can be challenging to communicate and prevent speaking over one another, communication effectiveness can vary depending on camera quality.
Apps for Instant Messaging
Instant messaging programs are a fantastic method to maintain open, direct communication with your staff and/or clients at all times. Slack and Discord are two examples of apps that can be used to encourage back-and-forth collaboration or to just send a fast message or reminder for urgent needs.
- Benefits include being quick and informal, facilitating cooperation without requiring video calls or in-person meetings, real-time communication, and notifications.
- Cons: Attachment sizes may be restricted, and tone and context may not be understood.
- Best for: rapid communication and reciprocal cooperation.
Software for Project Management
By offering a platform for task management and all of the information that goes along with it, apps like Asana and Monday.com have made it simpler than ever to cooperate in a digital setting. By providing due dates, notes, and allocated subtasks, a project management tool can keep your team on task while also enhancing task management and productivity.
- Pros: Encourage collaborative decision-making, improve project completion organization, increase team member accountability, task notifications, and information sharing that is simple.
- Cons: Replies sometimes take longer than in-person or online chat contact.
- Worker organizational plan, specialized job and project management.
5 Typical Channels For Customer Service Communication
Beyond internal communication, picking the appropriate channel for customer and client communication is crucial to delivering an excellent customer experience. Choosing the most effective channel can have a significant impact on your audience reach and their experience with your company. Different communication channels have different tones and goals that are directed at your clients.
Your Web Page
The final destination you want your clients to reach is your website, but after they get there, it’s critical to keep in touch. Communicating with your clients on your website will enhance their experience and raise the likelihood that they’ll stick around, whether it be through banner adverts, promotions, or support through live chat and chatbots.
- Advantages: Usually already present in your company, simple to manage what your customers see from you at any given time, increases brand awareness and confidence.
- Cons: Only one way to communicate; clients must use other channels to contact you.
- Promotions, advertising, and extensive messaging to your clients and customers are best.
On social media
Social media is a sizable component of the digital business puzzle that may significantly increase brand visibility and client engagement. Similar to your website, you can market and advertise your goods or services. However, social media takes this a step further by enabling your clients to comment on your posts and get in touch with you directly via messaging apps and direct messages.
- Possibilities for client interaction with your material, an easy-to-use promotional channel, and a platform for stuff you might not otherwise publish on your website.
- Cons: Because only one user may administer the account at a time, managing several messages might be challenging.
- Best for: public relations, promotions, and semi-formal public communication.
Customer service might be an easy procedure that only requires a few back and forths, or it can take a lengthy time. Sometimes a customer’s problem is straightforward and can be resolved with one or two messages, like tracking an order, but other times it calls for a little more dialogue without the need for a phone call that can overburden your call center. The use of live chat software and customer care representatives is a great method to interact with your consumers and meet their demands in a more relaxed and effective way, or even just to reach out to them and provide support or relevant goods/services.
- Benefits include being highly configurable, increasing customer satisfaction without time-consuming phone conversations, engaging customers, and enabling one employee to handle several requests simultaneously.
- Cons: Attachments are rarely supported and text-based communication is susceptible to misunderstanding.
- Ideal for: straightforward customer service concerns and requests, proactive customer interaction, and small customer service teams.
Like live chat, chatbots can satisfy the requirement for customer engagement and satisfaction by facilitating frequent requests and issues through conversational AI. Because they don’t need an agent to supervise them and can be programmed to guide customers down a certain purchasing route or customer support inquiry line, chatbots are efficient.
- Benefits include automated service and marketing that engages customers without requiring a lot of the customer service team’s time.
- Cons: For clients who are aware of what they want, it may come across as phony or bothersome. not as thorough as live agents or other methods for client service.
- Best for: Simple customer service requirements for small enterprises.
Choosing Your Organization’s Best Communication Channel
As we’ve already mentioned, adopting the appropriate channels for your company’s communication can significantly enhance both internal and external communication. So how can you pick the channel that will suit your needs the best? When creating your communication plan, keep the following in mind to make the best decision:
Make Your Channels Audience-Relevant
To determine where your gaps are, consider whether you need to strengthen internal, external, or both lines of communication. Is there room for improvement in the way your team collaborates? Are your consumers having trouble getting the help they need?
In deciding how to convey your message, take into account whether you’re using new communication channels for teamwork, marketing, or customer service. Email marketing alone will still produce results, but leveraging more visible, static channels like your website or social media may be more effective in the long run.
Finally, take into account the type of your company. Video conferencing could be infrequently used if all of your meetings are in person. If your team is remote or hybrid, you should probably employ a mix of text- and video-based channels for collaboration and communication.
Think About the Drawbacks
When deciding how to interact with your audience, it’s necessary to take the drawbacks of most communication routes into account. The quickest way to send a message or complete a task might be through a chat or messaging app, but it won’t be tracked and might get lost in the conversation. It will stop problems from happening now or in the future to know when to use each channel based on the drawbacks.
Set objectives and KPIs.
Once you’ve decided on new communication channels for your company, establish goals and KPIs to monitor their effectiveness and the changes brought about. If you discover that you frequently receive unfavorable feedback, monitor how the reviews change as you alter or enhance your customer service contact. Keep track of leads, teamwork progress, and other performance indicators that are influenced by your team’s communication.
How to Add Communication Channels to Your Company
Preparing your team and company for new communication channels is the first stage in the implementation process. The first step to success is preparing your team for the shift, whether that means teaching them how to use new task management software or directing them to the new social media accounts to follow and keep an eye on.
Next, assess the hardware and software needs for any new integrations or features, such as modifying your chatbots or altering a live chat box’s user interface to match your website’s design.
Finally, let your staff know how the channels are functioning and take their feedback in return. Before going down a path that can obstruct engagement and success, check to see if your team and clients are open to using messaging applications or video conferencing more frequently.
All things considered, using the right channels for communication can significantly enhance how your message is received and responded to. To find out what will work best for you, use the information and instructions in our guide. Then, keep experimenting to perfect communication both internally and outside.