In today’s marketplace, small businesses face numerous challenges. These challenges include problems as wide-ranging as client dependence, founder dependence, constant fatigue, money management, and the age-old issue of quality versus growth. Factor in the difficulty of surviving in an economy full of well-established companies and multinational corporations and it’s no wonder so many small businesses go under within the first few years of their existence.
Communication is one of the biggest and most overlooked challenges facing small businesses. Having a robust communication system can be a primary influence in determining whether a business fails or flourishes. For small businesses communication needs to be unified, data-driven, automated, efficient, and user-friendly for a business to really thrive in the modern world.
Customers, employees, and owners are all affected by ineffective communication systems. Bad communication creates tension between customers and employees, builds resentment between employees and business owners, and generates distrust between customers and owners. Many of these problems can be resolved by installing the right communication system.
Weave’s phone system eliminates communication problems plaguing small businesses. Before we discuss how Weave’s system works, let’s take a closer look at the specific communication difficulties small businesses encounter on a daily basis.
Common Small Business Problems
The customers of small businesses often don’t see the emails sent by the business. Even worse, they don’t answer phone calls if they don’t recognize their business’s number. These missed communications lead to missed appointments, which invariably cause scheduling problems for office staff and reduce profits.
Communication gaps occur between business owners and their employees as well. Post-it notes and emails go unnoticed, causing confusion and frustration between team members. In the worst cases, invaluable information regarding individual customers doesn’t reach the owner, and this failure produces inaccurate communication which can severely strain relationships.
Missing communication also impacts a business owner’s personal relationship with customers. If business owners don’t get the right information about the people they serve, their relationship gradually atrophies because customers feel that the business doesn’t care about them.
The opposite of missing communication is overwhelming communication. When businesses send out reminders and confirmations too frequently, their customers start to get annoyed and sense that the business doesn’t trust their planning and decision-making. Unorganized communication efforts end up being repetitive and nagging instead of succinct and informative.
Business owners can similarly overwhelm their employees by checking up on them too regularly. Most employees prefer being given the opportunity to work freely and responsibly. If business owners are constantly monitoring customer service techniques, glancing over their employees’ shoulders, and sending out never-ending to-do lists, employees understandably become frustrated.
Business owners also fall into the trap of sometimes being too communicative with their customers. The opposite, however, is more often the case; customers try to get ahold of businesses at every conceivable hour. Mechanisms are needed to keep communication consistent but not incessant.
Though small businesses usually have the best of intentions for their customers, getting ahold of a business owner can be tiresome for customers. If a business only has one phone line, customers inevitably call multiple times just to reach a secretary. Customers who deal with this issue start considering the benefits of getting healthcare through larger providers.
Employees of small businesses are multi-tasking heroes. They normally man the phones, check customers in and out, maintain customer records, and manage virtually every other task necessary for the upkeep of the business. If they are working with an inefficient communication system, they are distracted from vital tasks by round-the-clock calling and emailing.
Small business owners are never able to relax. While in the office, they’d like to be able to focus on providing quality care to their customers, but they often are summoned to troubleshoot the random demands that pop up throughout a given workweek. While at home, their phone is always ringing at the most inopportune times. It seems like they work around the clock.
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Weave Helps Streamline Business Communication
"Amazing technology has simplified our patient communication immensely! We are fairly new and can't wait to learn even more Weave features... customer service and tech support is SPOT ON and can't be beat! " - The Eye StationSchedule Demo
Sometimes customers are called in for an appointment that takes only a few minutes. Businesses are guilty of wasting customer time because their communication systems are inefficient. What could be handled over the phone or even by text takes up half the customer’s day when drive times and time off is taken into consideration.
Employee time gets wasted at long, drawn-out team meetings that don’t arrive at any firm conclusions. Employees also get roped into running information to business owners instead of focusing on their own tasks. These inefficiencies could be avoided by employing tools such as video conferencing and team chat.
Business owners are frequently the hosts of these inefficient meetings. Again, their intentions are good in these situations; they just want to understand and ensure that their business is running smoothly. Little do they realize, they could better serve their customers and employees by reducing meeting times and increasing communication efficiency.
Your customers often travel long distances to visit your business. This distance means they need to be sure they will get the attention they deserve at the appointed time. Businesses should be able to reach these customers at a moment’s notice, whether it be via call, text, email, or online chat.
The limited numbers of small business office staff lead to the obstacle of the lunch hour. At many businesses, when the secretary leaves for lunch, the wheels of the business grind to a halt. If staff can be reached even when away from the office, there is a greater likelihood that customers will be taken care of in a timely fashion.
Business owners can’t stay at their office 24/7. They need the flexibility to get away and not feel perpetually tethered to the business. At the same time, it’s essential that business owners find a way to effectively communicate with employees and staff in emergency situations, even when they’re off the clock.
Communication Solutions for Small Businesses
Weave’s phone system ensures that customers never miss vital information from their medical, dental, or optometry office. Customers can choose how they wish to be contacted. Features like two-way texting allow customers to receive information from a business immediately and conveniently.
Information is much more likely to be properly relayed between business owners and their employees with Weave’s unified phone system. Owners and employees can chat from their work stations. In addition, they can post notifications and make changes to customer histories that automatically save to the electronic records that appear whenever a particular client contacts the office.
These same electronic records prove invaluable in keeping businesses informed about any updates to their customers’ histories. Weave recognizes how important relationships are to the success of a small business. A unified communication network that brings together calling, texting, emailing, chatting, conferencing and social media makes customer-business relationships a priority by making sure no significant communication goes missing.
2.Oversight and Analysis
Weave’s phone system allows office staff to schedule reminders, confirmations, and other updates they send to customers. By scheduling automatic notifications, businesses avoid overwhelming their customers. Customers can even choose the manner in which they are notified, making the communication process simpler and more personable.
Owners don’t need to micromanage their staff with Weave’s system. Since VOIP phones give business owners the ability to record calls and get reports on vital statistics regarding call success rates, employees can focus on their day-to-day work and then receive informed feedback from their supervisors. This data-centric oversight empowers all members of a small business team.
3.Interactive Voice Response and Automated Attendants
Weave’s system cuts down on caller wait times by using both interactive voice response (IVR) and automated attendants to get customers directly to the member of the business they need. IVR technology interacts with the human voice in a sophisticated way and automated attendants respond quickly to caller requests. Automation speeds along communication, leaving customers relaxed and satisfied.
These same automated functions save employees and owners massive amounts of time. Two-way texting is another major time saver, allowing staff to respond to multiple inquiries at once. When tools such as IVR and automated attendants are functioning properly, business owners can finally take it easy when they’re not at the office.
4.Chats and Video Conferencing
Many customers now prefer texting with their small business contacts to calling. Weave’s phone system understands this demand and enables businesses to text and keep an extensive record of texts in order to better serve texters. This same sort of texting can be utilized between office work stations, keeping owners and their staff on the same page even if they’re no in the same room.
Video conferencing through Weave’s phone system helps unify a workforce that can’t always be in the same place at the same time. Plus, it provides business owners with a way of bringing their group of professionals together for a quick pow-wow at almost any time. Meetings don’t need to be a drawn-out affair; they can be just as effective in a short, 15-minute window.
5. Bring Your Own Device
Bring Your Own Device is a relatively new concept to small businesses. It means that employees and owners can use their personal devices (smartphones, tablets, computers) to take care of work tasks. While this may seem like an intrusion of private time and space, it actually gives employees and owners alike the freedom to get away and still keep up with their workload.
This freedom is especially necessary for small businesses because their staff is so limited and spread out. Weave’s system gives employees the ability to check phone messages through email and to respond through text, thereby protecting the personal time of staff while also answering customer questions in a timely fashion.
Contact Weave for a Demo
One of the most difficult challenges facing businesses today is communication. Weave’s system solves the problems of communication by unifying communication, providing intelligent oversight and analysis, automating many telephoning functions, equipping office teams with chats and video conferencing, and integrating multiple devices. Contact us today to see how we can solve your small business’s communication problems.