We live in a global marketplace where rapid changes in technology have made it as easy to work with companies on the other side of the world as with your next door neighbour. However, sometimes communication between offices can become disjointed and confused, leading to misunderstandings. In this article we’ll look at five ways you can use technology to improve communication between offices.
Yes, it’s easy enough to pick up the phone and call a colleague in another office but not only can it be expensive if you’re calling overseas but you can end up playing a game of “telephone chase” as well. Instant messaging tools such as Windows Live Messenger and Skype let you exchange text messages with your contacts; you can also set your status to “away” or “do not disturb” so you can be contacted at the best times. Skype has additional features too, such as free phone calls to other Skype members and basic video conferencing.
Talking of video conferencing … One of the biggest drawbacks of global trading is the time and cost of overseas travel and while some can be avoided through use of the phone or email, that’s never going to be as good as face to face communication. However, the latest high definition video conferencing solutions let you see every gesture and expression in crystal clarity. You also have the option of using a room system which means the entire boardroom can see and be seen.
Online CRM tools
Every successful business keeps a detailed database of its clients and prospects but if your staff are based in different offices it may be difficult to keep that information up to date. By using an online CRM (Customer Relationship Manager) tool such as SalesForce, HighRise or SageCRM you can give all your staff access to the same information. Client details can be updated and visible instantly, no matter which office they are accessed from, meaning everyone is up to speed with developments.
Document sharing can be tricky when communicating between offices. It’s often the case that staff email a copy of a document backwards and forwards, making changes along the way, but this can be problematic if, for example, someone uses an older version or changes are accidentally deleted. The solution is to use something like Dropbox, Google Drive or SharePoint, which let you use one universal document storage area so everyone is working from the latest version.
Sometimes sharing data is not enough, perhaps because you want to make changes on the fly, or share a range of multimedia material with your team. Interactive white boards such as SMART Boards let you share and collaborate on anything you can display on your computer monitor both locally and remotely. SMART technology comes in a number of shapes and sizes, from small mobile Podium devices to installed SMART Boards and flat panels, and software allows you to share and collaborate via computer, laptop and tablet too.
There are many ways you can use technology to improve communication between offices and we hope this article has given you a few ideas. If you’d like more information, why not speak to one of our experts today? Call us on 0118 336 0010 and we can advise you on a number of remote communication tools, including SMART boards and video conferencing options. You can also fill in the form on the right to receive a free ebook on How SMART Boards Enable Enhanced Communication & Collaboration.