No matter how big or small your business is, communication and collaboration are an integral part of every business. These are essential elements, as communication with partners, companies, remote employees and customers is constant, and it is essential that it is correct and effective.
On the other side of the same coin, the importance of communication can lead to big mistakes if it is not done well. Any failure in the communication process can lead to long delays in project timelines, strained business relationships and lost profits. Being able to understand, avoid and properly remedy communication errors in a business environment could save the entire company a lot of headaches.
These problems have increased exponentially with the pandemic, as more and more employees have started working from home. The COVID-19 crisis has not only led to deaths around the world, but has also pushed us to change many of our traditional ways of doing things. This meant that both the internal systems and the customer experience of all types of companies had to adapt and evolve to accommodate the needs arising from these new and unprecedented times.
Despite the loss of time and misunderstandings, it should also be noted that there are infinite solutions to make communication more efficient and fluid, both within the team and with clients, without being in the same place. When there is a communication gap within your organisation, when messages are not carefully transmitted and received, the potential for small and large problems increases. It is therefore essential that companies and legal teams find the right tools and methods to avoid these mistakes and achieve a seamless flow of information.
1. Messaging tools
If you work with a team, you know how important it is to have a good, job-specific messaging tool to ensure that communication is fast and reaches the right people. Applications such as Slack offer a more fluid way of working. You can connect with your team individually or in a group, without cluttering your other personal messaging apps. Slack prides itself on being a “digital headquarters” for any type of business. Through private chats as well as dedicated channels, you can organise your team and make sure everyone is on the same track. Make it even better by integrating Slack with other automation applications. This will make your processes and workflows better connected.
Pro tip: for encrypted communication in case you are working on a very secretive project, take a look at Signal. When it comes to outbound communication, chatbots can be a great solution for you. Chatbots accompany the customer while browsing a company’s website and also deal with customer queries and complaints.
These tools not only use machine learning and are able to provide intelligent responses in a matter of seconds, but can also handle thousands of complaints and queries at once and respond well to them. This will allow you to sift through all the messages you receive and focus your energy only on the ones that really matter to you, while an automated tool effectively takes care of all the others.
Over the past two years, we have all discovered the different ways in which you can talk to someone face-to-face and virtually, while everyone is at home. As more and more professionals decide to continue working remotely, whether full or part-time, it is essential to have a good knowledge of video conferencing tools.
As we imagine a post-COVID world, we must take into account new technologies and learn how to optimise the digitalisation of our business to offer the best service we can. We need to improve our customer service and learn to meet our customers where they are.
You can choose from a variety of options such as Google Meet, Zoom or Skype, among others. Our advice is to make sure that you and your whole team stick with just one of them. Get to know the invitation system, integrate it with other organisational tools, such as Calendly, and make sure to always check if you are muted or if your camera is on. We have all seen and heard things that probably should have remained private. Etiquette in video conferencing is essential, especially if there are many people on the call. Establish simple rules of order so that no one talks over others and so that you don’t have to see or hear unwanted scenes.
3. Real-time editing and version control
For all legal teams and contract drafting departments, this is a must. When you are working on a document with other people and each person is doing different tasks such as editing, revising and updating the same file, it can be difficult to keep track of all the changes that are on the same page. It is therefore important to make use of a tool that allows real-time editing and version control.
This means that all changes will be automatically saved in all accounts of the people working on the same document and will be displayed in real time. This process accelerates any collaborative effort and makes communication seamless. An extra is to try a tool that also allows you to add comments, so that team members can ask questions and show their ideas without having to rewrite the document.
In addition, with the version control tool you can always check the modifications made at a later point in time and have access to the comments at any time. These two things that may seem simple at first glance can change the rhythm of your work and show a great positive impact on your team’s processes.
4. Keeping up to date
Last but not least, there is a more practical piece of advice that is not directly related to technology, but to society. We need to make sure that we use the communication tools at our disposal to hold weekly or regular meetings with our teams, to keep track of what each other is doing and to exchange ideas and feedback on the work of the group.
In any firm or legal team, it is vital that employees interact with each other, ask for review and have brainstorming sessions to adopt new ideas to help the firm grow. These moments of collaboration are crucial to keep everyone up to date with what is happening in the company and to promote a more collaborative environment.
Not only that, but it will allow each team to have a context that makes it easier for them to complete their tasks efficiently. By fostering this culture of sharing resources and ideas, different team members can quickly bring diverse expertise to novel situations, and can make connections that will ultimately dramatically improve your service or product.
That said, we encourage you to make the most of digital connectivity to optimise your team’s communication and take the collaborative effort to the next level. Lack of communication can lead to disastrous results, not only in terms of business purpose, but also in terms of internal morale. Studies have shown that not only can companies lose profits due to communication errors, but there are also intangible impacts such as loss of focus, lack of innovation and a drop in morale.
Using the right technology to avoid these mistakes and achieve smooth collaboration is a key step in ensuring that every idea shared or draft sent is perfectly interpreted. Communicating well, both within your team and with external users, is a goal you can certainly achieve, using the right tools and fostering a culture of useful collaboration.