In October 2016, smartphones and tablets finally overtook desktop as the leading format for web browsing globally. Small screens increasingly equate to big business and companies of every shape and size are having to take steps to accommodate the mobile revolution.
It’s not just consumers and customers who have embraced mobile either. It’s highly likely that suppliers, business partners, employees, clients and contacts of all types use mobile. The modern business communication system needs to recognise this.
Corporate communication has already changed significantly over the last ten years as connectivity and business agility have become more important. It’s now all about being mobile, ensuring you can communicate with a variety of parties no matter where you are or what time it is. Communication is becoming more fluid, with smartphones enabling us to communicate not only via telephones on the move, but also by email, social media and instant messaging.
The expectations of clients and customers have shifted to incorporate mobile. As a business owner, it is important to assess whether your corporate communication is mobile enough for your own needs as well as the expectations of customers.
As already mentioned, mobile devices are now the preferred format for web browsing overall worldwide. There is more than one way to interact with a business or brand, however, and apps can offer a more streamlined, purpose-built user experience.
According to the results of a survey conducted by customer experience management company TeleTech in 2015, many customers prefer to interact with companies through mobile apps, although this does depend on the type of business they are engaging with.
Nearly two thirds (63%) of those connecting to their bank on mobile do so via mobile apps for example, compared to 42% who use a mobile site and 20% who use text/SMS. (Some use all three, in case you’re wondering why the figures total more than 100%.) Over half (51%) prefer to use apps to interact with their mobile phone carrier, compared to 43% who use browsers. Retailers are almost evenly split, with 48% of customers using apps and 50% using mobile browsers.
What these figures demonstrate is that without building or commissioning a dedicated app, or integrating third-party apps, your company might well be at risk of losing out on business to rivals who provide that option.
Instant messaging and mobile integration
Many modern businesses permit staff to work on the go or from home. There are many benefits to flexible working patterns, including increased morale, employee wellbeing and a more dynamic and fluid approach. Employees who are connected on the move, for example, are able to attend events and maintain business relationships across the country and beyond international borders while still being kept in the loop with regard to what’s going on in the office.
In order to do so, however, they must be supplied with the right equipment and resources. To maintain effective communications with remote workers, you need to ensure you have instant messaging applications and call rerouting, such as that offered by hosted private branch exchange (PBX), in place. This will allow you to keep track of staff and get in touch with them at any time. It will also help keep remote workers feeling included, so that everyone is synchronized no matter where they are, without productivity or morale being adversely affected.
Don’t depend on email
Email is a hugely important communication tool for nearly every business. According to Radicati’s ‘Email Statistics Report 2017 – 2021’, email use continues to grow even as other methods of communication including instant messaging, social networking and chat are experiencing strong adoption.
Across 2017, the total number of business and consumer emails sent and received each day will reach a staggering 269 billion, and this is expected to continue to grow at an average annual rate of 4.4% over the next four years, reaching 319.6 billion by the end of 2021. Email might be the most common way for both employees and customers to communicate in the 21st century, but that doesn’t mean it’s the most effective, or the best suited for every situation.
Emails can be easily overlooked or lost in a crowded inbox. Some might be bounced by an over-zealous spam filter or be lost to a technical error. They can be impersonal and responding to a slew of emails can be time-consuming, while a method such as instant messaging can allow for a swifter response.
There’s certainly a place for email in the modern business world, but utilizing a full range of communication methods and tools can improve your overall communication strategy. New tools and technologies are being developed all the time, so be willing to embrace new communications tools as and when they arise. Take the time to develop and implement a fluid mobile communications system that works for both your employees and customers and you should soon find yourself reaping the benefits.