In the modern age, where customers can search for a business, find reviews, go through their website and competitors within a handful of minutes, it pays to be on top of everything so that your reputation and professionalism isn’t called into question. One of the best ways to do this is to keep on top of your communications.
There is a great scene in the middle of the 2010 film The Social Network that perfectly highlights the absolute necessity for a businesses communications to be running smoothly at all times. In the scene, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg calls his business partner Eduardo Saverin, furious that Saverin has closed the bank account that was paying for Facebook’s servers to keep running. Zuckerberg says, “if the servers are down, people will switch off, and that can’t happen.”
It perfectly captures the need to ensure your business is running at optimum levels at all times. With that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the ways your business can achieve this:
Prepare for the Worst
As the saying goes – fail to prepare, prepare to fail. It pays to be a bit cynical in business. You have to expect that there will be times when something might go wrong. Adverse weather can lead to power cuts, meaning that any unsaved work could be lost. Every business should update all of their PCs and keep backups of files in the Cloud or a similar service so that you won’t have to make any apologetic phone calls to clients in the aftermath, making you look unprofessional and inept.
Stay Connected at all Times
Not every business runs from central New York or London. Your business might be based in a rural or coastal area where internet connectivity might not be the greatest in the world. In this instance, it is a good idea to invest in off-site servers and pay a little extra to ensure that all of your employees have 100% access to the web at all times. In this era of constantly connected smartphones and social media, you need to be online and on-form 24/7.
Being connected goes far beyond just keeping the business running. Not every business runs exclusively from an office. You might have remote workers or managers who travel the globe on a regular basis. In this instance, it pays to consider ways that you can keep in touch with each other – for the sake of the business and your wellbeing. It can be lonely as a remote worker. It’s good to know you can still communicate with your colleagues at the drop of a hat.
Fortunately, apps such as WhatsApp, intranet systems, and online chat systems have enabled employees and clients alike to communicate instantly with each other, which is important in today’s hyper-speed business world. You no longer have to sit at a desk waiting for an email anymore. Everything is instant, and that leads to increased productivity and good relationships.
Call for Backup
The days of saving all of your files to nothing but a computer and a USB stick are long gone – or at least they should be. The Cloud and other accessible servers are your friends. Get into the habit of saving all of your data, ensure you have the best antivirus software you can afford and keep your computers running at full speed by removing any files and software that you don’t need. It will ensure that you will have everything you need when you’re communicating with clients, and there won’t be any painful waiting times on those conference calls.
Invest in the Best Tech
Times are sometimes tough in business, but if you are not prepared to invest in yourself, why should you expect your clients to invest? Investment in the best technology to suit your business is a good way of showing your customers and clients that you aim to be the best in your field, and is most likely going to protect you against any unnecessary connectivity issues.
For example, if your business relies on making conference calls several times a day, you want to invest in the best technology that will ensure that your clients won’t be disappearing halfway through a call, unable to hear you properly, and so on. Having to reschedule business calls costs time and money, and could hurt the reputation of the business as word gets around that your comms are not up to scratch. Consider investing in conference call technology such as Conference Town to ensure there are no hiccups in the communication between you and your clients.
The Smartphone is Your Friend
The smartphone is the Filofax of the 21st century and in many cases a hugely important part of running a successful business. It could also be a lifesaver in the event of a communications blackout. There are thousands of apps available for running your business via smartphone – from invoicing to Google Drive to Dropbox, and with 4G and emails available 24/7, you should be able to keep communications going as they were from the comfort of your fingertips.
You can link your work emails to your phone, speak with clients and run your social media accounts from your phone. The latter is especially useful for those out-of-hours Facebook messages and Twitter queries. You don’t want to keep customers waiting too long for replies on social media. If your notifications are set up correctly, all social media communications can be dealt with the moment they arrive on your screen.
Keep an Expert Close by
Whether you’re a billion-dollar tech company or a small start-up, you’re going to need an IT/communications expert close by for those unexpected and inevitable moments of panic when something goes wrong. If you can afford to have a full-time IT staff member, it is definitely a good idea to invest in one, as it could potentially cost you a lot more to keep calling somebody out. If you don’t have somebody on site, search your local area and find a reputable company who offer these services, and negotiate a deal for them to be your go-to guys for all IT and communication problems. You won’t be sorry.