5 Tools to Help Streamline Communication within your Business
There are so many tools out there which can help streamline your business. Here are a few that we use at Red Desk:
If you are working with a number of people and need to find out dates or opinions quickly then we are finding that using a tool like Smart Survey is more time effective than sending out a bunch of individual emails.
With Smart Survey you can create online surveys and forms which can be suitable for Customer Experience, Employee Engagement, Market Research and more.
We’ve opted for the basic free package which allows 15 questions per survey and 100 responses per month. If you find that you are needing to gather more data then packages range from £30+ a month.
If you have been homeschooling recently then you might be familiar with MS Teams. However, have you used it for business? We do have a love/hate relationship with it but we are finding that for clients that have a lot going on then it is great for keeping track for different threads.
Previously we had emails going back and forth but it was time-consuming checking that we’d read and extracted information each time, especially since things moved quite fast. We are now using the General Posts function on Teams and have summaries of conversations that we’ve had about different projects and we just add to the particular threads when we get an update. To make sure we know the other people that we have read the posts we are putting a thumbs up on the post.
This is a big old beast of a CRM but perfect for our one client that has lots of different businesses and contacts that they are communicating with periodically. We are still learning our way around it but the Reports function is proving invaluable as we can keep track of tasks for each project and segment that we are working on. This is a big improvement on the Word document we used previously.
Over time, we will use SalesForce for sending mailouts and more automation. But for now, it is working perfectly well for what we need.
Slack is a multi-functional communication dashboard, that allows you to communicate with your whole team more instantly. You can use Slack to replace email, texting and phone calls so that everything is in one place and easy to find.
All communication is organised into channels which are easy to create and allows you to group your conversations with the right people.
We use Slack with one our international clients which has team members spread far and wide. It is a very fast, effective and multi-layered way to manage your working scheduling and communications. You can follow threads, reply directly or tag an individual within the group.
If you, like many, are working virtually, then a WhatsApp group for your team is a free, simple and extremely effect tool. Use your WhatsApp for simple messages keeping all your team members in the loop as well as for a bit of a morale boost with the occasional shared jollity. Make sure you add allowing it to become a quick and easy to use asset.
For more ways to streamline your business please contact us.
Streamlining – How Can It Help With My Business?
We have previously written articles on Managing Your Workload and The Art of Delegating which you may find useful, but for this blog we have decided to focus on Streamlining and how it can help improve your business.
Definition of Streamlining
Google defines Streamlining as “make (an organization or system) more efficient and effective by employing faster or simpler working methods”.
Streamlining Business Processes
Your business invariably works through many business processes everyday, you may go through the same procedures each time you get a new client, process an order, update your website or add products to your online shop. It is therefore essential that you create a process for each action to ensure you and your team are working efficiently.
For example, when taking on a on a new client, it is important to understand their needs and integrate them efficiently into your workflow. The best way therefore to work efficiently is to develop a set of business processes and find out which ones will apply to each new client.
Depending on how complicated the process, it may be wise to document the process and make it a formal procedure, similar processes can be informal and not documented.
When Red Desk takes on a new social media client we always follow the same process:
- We draw up a social media plan which is agreed by the client. This determines how much content we will need to create each week and how much time will need to be dedicated to the project.
- The project is then divided up and allocated to the most appropriate team member.These processes are then integrated into the individuals’ workflows
- We will set-up a schedule for the work and a communication channel, this can either be a messaging software or simple email depending on the client. This way everyone knows when work will be completed and ensures we meet all deadlines.
- Finally it’s important to set up a process for monitoring results and feedback, for us this involves monthly and quarterly stats reports.
When we are working with project-based clients then it is important to write procedure notes and review these on a regular basis. The reason being that you may not be working on this constantly so need to pick up where you left off quickly.
Other useful project management tips:
- Create templates for commonly used documents or emails
- Keep the templates in well labelled files
- Have a good filing system
- Have a document which lists the various processes and then cross-check with the documents (can number them accordingly)
- Automation is good – if you are lucky to have access to software that automates processes then it is worth investing the time in researching how it works and using it – it will take up some time but in the long run will be worth it
Sometimes you’ll need to streamline your clients too. Have an audit to see which fit in with your new, sleek business model and have a strategy for dealing with those that are causing hold ups.
- Pass on the work to another team member
- Speak to the client and give them new expectations
- Part ways with your client (tough but it might be best for you both in the long run)
On our next blog we’ll look at some of the online tools out there to help you streamline your business.
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