Anyone who has owned or worked for a business knows that the continual advancement of technology goes hand in hand with the advancement of business communication. In the last ten years alone, the tremendous technological advancements that have taken place in communication have changed they way we do business so drastically that we view the communication trends of pre-2000 as ‘vintage’. So in a conversation about current trends, be aware that in a few days they will be old trends.
Cloud computing is the latest trend to hit business communication. The most simple way to describe cloud computing is by comparing it to an electricity grid. A ‘cloud’ of shared servers provides resources such as software and data to a host of other computers – all on demand. In reality cloud computing is the natural evolution of the web-based world of communication. It takes the management of the technological infrastructure out of the hands of the IT professionals, who can now focus on their areas of expertise such as development. The use of cloud computing from a business communication standpoint brings in the discussion of finance. Small to medium size businesses no longer have need to purchase, set up and maintain their own server. Capital expenditure budgets are reduced, possibly entailing a conversion of those dollars to the operations expenditure side of the ledger. Another huge benefit to cloud computing in business is how it lowers the barriers of entry into the market. New businesses can simply supply themselves with the appropriate equipment to manufacture their product, a computer and an internet connection, and be ready to communicate to their customers.
The book reader is one of the latest trends to appear on the business communication horizon, but it is not clear if purveyors of commerce have fully appreciated its potential. The book reader has the ability to scan printed material, recognize the characters and using text-to-speech software, play it on the user’s computer or mobile audio player. In other words, you could listen to this article on your iPod. Most business people receive their email on their phone and check, now large volume documents, contracts, training manuals and other printed matter could be downloaded to any device. The affect on business communication is potentially quite significant, but the software is not widely tested or used as yet.
Social media networking has officially crossed over from only being used socially to an important and viable method of customer relationship management (CRM). Using tools like Facebook, blogs, public forums and wiki sites, business can better know how to attract and keep their customers. CRM begins with acquiring new customers through contact management, sales and customer satisfaction. Enhancing CRM occurs through excellent business communication and the use of customer service tools such as product experts and ease of purchasing. Retaining customers occurs through loyalty and reward. CRM software or databases can notify the business owner of long term clients and create the ability to recognize them through promotional measures.
Streamlining every phase of business communication will always be a trend in business. Making it easier for your client to send and receive materials or communication from you is increasingly important. Many companies are choosing to create interactive websites whereby the client can attain a report, invoice or product information whenever they feel the need. This creates a whole new level of service quality, as well as opening up the field of business communication. No longer does the client have to wait for 9 am Monday morning.
PowerPoint presentations have been around for over a decade, but they are still a valuable audiovisual tool in business communication. Dynamic presentations aimed at teaching the client about the product or service are full of impact and have a much clearer result than a one-dimensional oral presentation. Even telephones are being used in a more purposeful way in business communication, and not always for talking. Email, text messaging and internet are readily available and highly useful tools for any business person. Plus book readers (as previously mentioned) will soon allow business related documents to be read on a cell phone.
Technology will continue to advance and new communication devices will emerge. The trick to successful business communication is in keeping up with trends and learning how they can make your business better.