Like a good relationship, all good business is based on strong communication. Any successful business person will tell you that’s because the foundation of business is relationships – with your employees, partners and vendors, and most importantly with your customers. Building these relationships through strong, clear communication is what differentiates a business that thrives from a business that fails.
In 2019 there are more tools to facilitate communication than ever before and improved market research continues to provide insight into new strategies that really work.
Here are 7 of the most effective communication trends of 2019 that will really make a difference for your business.
1. Virtual Reality Isn’t Just for Video Games Anymore
Giants like Walmart and General Electric have both implemented groundbreaking training programs that rely completely on VR . These training programs allow employees to do hands-on trainings from their home offices rather than sending them to on-location training. Anecdotal evidence shows that VR training programs help employees absorb information better, leading to better outcomes early on in an employee’s career.
Virtual reality can also be used to improve communication with your customers. It can be used to provide customers an immersive view of a product or implementation that isn’t yet complete. You can show off the best your business has to offer without having to commit to the build, and it can help narrow down requirements for a big project. If your business is real estate, commercial or residential, the applications of VR are clear – show a property without the open house.
While VR may seem like a steep investment, it could fundamentally change the way you do business for the better.
2. Get in on the Live-Streaming Communications Trend
Businesses have long known the value of recording their communications with both employees and customers and posting that content on the Internet. Live-streaming offers all the same benefits but in real time. Having a conference or training but don’t want to foot the bill to get all your employees in the same place? Live-stream the event so that everyone can “be there” simultaneously. Hosting an event that you wish all your customers could attend? Live-stream the event so they can “attend” without leaving their homes.
Live-stream technology hasn’t always been the most reliable, but new technologies and better Internet infrastructure adds up to a seamless experience for everyone involved. It allows you to communicate with both employees and customers in real time and share experiences that were previously limited to in person.
3. Investing in Cloud Storage Solutions
Today’s cloud storage solutions provide businesses with more benefits than ever before. If you’re looking for new ways to store, share, and collaborate, cloud solutions can help you do that by offering:
- More storage space: When it comes to sharing a large amount of data with a lot of people, the cloud offers more storage capacity than any on the ground solution your business could buy, and it’s much cheaper.
- Easier access for employees: Cloud storage allows your employees to securely access information from anywhere without the hassle of a VPN.
- Easier access for customers: Instead of requiring your customers to sign onto a website or going through the hassle of sending multiple large documents via email, cloud solutions allow you to send your customers a direct link to the information they need.
- Cleaner Collaboration: If you have remote teams, collaborating on big projects, cloud-based solutions allow your teams to see edits in real time and better track how changes are made.
4. Commit to Mobile Solutions
For years the standard for remote communication has required your employees and customers to be at a computer, with reliable Internet access. While this is still a great solution for scheduled, team or client meetings, it doesn’t allow for the flexibility now required for people constantly on the move.
The best thing you can do to really take your business mobile is invest in company cell phones with excellent data plans, at least 4G if not 5G, and invest in a communication application that runs well without WiFi.
Committing to mobile communications with your customers means investing in web solutions that are as accessible on mobile as they are on a computer screen and making sure that your employees are as accessible outside the office as they are in the office. Your website should be built specifically for mobile and all your contact us tools – forms, phone numbers, email links – should work from a mobile device. Any worth it website solution will ensure offer mobile accessibility as part of their base package.
5. Take Video Conferences to a New Level
Video conferencing has long been an essential tool for business communication, and the same players – Skype and GoToMeeting – have dominated the game since the inception of the video conference. While both solutions have worked well for years, they both have their glitches and they both require users to download programs to their computers in order to access the service. Their mobile solutions haven’t kept up with the times either, making it hard for on the move employees and customers to make the meetings you want them to attend
Luckily, there are some new solutions available that enable your business to take video conferencing to a new level. Applications like WebRTC provide internet-based video conferencing solutions that don’t require a download. Just send a link and your employees or customer can access the video conference anywhere anytime.
6. Invest in Your Content
Having a website with informative content about your business and your products is no longer enough when it comes to communicating with your customers and potential customers. If you want to enhance your communications with your customers and generate leads, then you need to expand your online content strategy to include a blog and a presence on all the major social media platforms.
In the past, these content platforms may have seemed extraneous, but now they’re expected. And it’s not something you can just have the intern do part-time. The content you share via all your online platforms is what separates you from the competition, so you need to make sure it’s top notch. Either hire an expert in online content to work for your business directly, or outsource to a high-quality content company that will produce professional content for you.
7. Automate Your Communications
Keeping regular, open communications with your customers is a hefty task, and unless you can hire someone to be responsible for it full-time, you’re guaranteed to miss opportunities to meaningfully engage. Unless you find a good solution for automating your communications.
That’s where a customer communications management system comes in. You can produce all the content you need to within the system and then schedule that content to be delivered at a specific time via multiple different communications platforms. This cuts out the time and hassle involved with creating and sharing content for individual platforms.
Choosing Digital Communications Trends that are Worth It
All of these 2019 communications trends are worth a serious look, but most businesses won’t be able to invest in all of these solutions. So, how do you choose? As with any business decision, it comes down to what will benefit your business the most.
Take a look at where your current communication strategies are breaking down or wearing thin. Choosing a solution that addresses those weak links is the best decision you can make, even if the cost seems high.
For more suggestions about how to take your business to the next level, check out our blog, where our experts share what’s worked for them.