Unified communications. It’s a technological concept that is changing the way businesses connect with employees, customers and leads. But the concept of “unified” communications can’t just stop with the technology. Sure, phone calls, instant messaging and video conferencing are all great ways to reach your audience, but the message you send when you communicate needs to be as unified as the system you’re communicating from.
Technology can be a great equalizer within a company. Communication technology doesn’t just give every department a voice, it gives them a megaphone. Customer service and support can now interact on social media, online forums, email, over the phone, through instant messaging, etc. Same goes for sales and marketing departments, and (maybe to a lesser degree) other client-facing functional areas of the company. The problem many companies are experiencing, whether they realize it or not, is there are a lot of voices speaking for the organization, but they aren’t speaking with one voice.
This, of course, can lead to problems. It presents an image of inconsistency that can leave prospective customers confused and current customers frustrated, ultimately hurting your brand as a whole. This means your overall communication strategy has to go beyond the technology. Technology, after all, is just a means of communicating. It’s the people behind it that add (or subtract, in some cases) value, and that’s what businesses need to keep in mind.
Taking all of these factors into account, it underscores the importance of establishing strong internal communication habits before you can really start communicating effectively externally. Managers and leaders across the organization need to work together to build a communication plan that aligns the goals of each department with those of the company and ensure that all customer-facing employees are pushing the same message.
In an age of technology, it’s never been more critical to make sure the right message is getting out (think of some of the horror stories of businesses arguing with customers on social media). Communications technologies are powerful tools, but are only as effective as the people using them. Specifically, unified communications systems are a great means of building internal and external relationships, and, if properly implemented, can lead to a more unified company message.