Last month we began a discussion on improving productivity and talked about ways to get organized. This month we continue on the topic of productivity and will touch on another area to improve: communication.
The best way to begin is to recognize the typical forms of communication: verbal (meetings, telephone), written (memos, reports), electronic (e-mail), etc. Nowadays, part of a communication system includes information storage and the efficient retrieval of it, which we discussed last month. Any weakness in such communication system can make productivity suffer.
A good example of an efficient communication function would provide for when a representative responds via email to a customer inquiry, for that email to be automatically tagged to the customer’s profile in a database; this is provided in a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system. Telephone communication–or the notes from that conversation–should be attached to that record as well. Feel free to ask us about CRM software solutions that work with QuickBooks.
Part of a good communication system is information storage, as mentioned above. For example, a centralized collaboration suite to manage email, contacts, and shared calendars is great for efficiency. Such system, if made accessible from any computer remotely greatly improves the chances for efficient communication. An example of this is Microsoft Exchange Server; part of this system is Outlook Web Access, which provides remote access to your email, contacts, and calendar.
A great add-on to this concept is a ‘smart phone’ or PDA. These phones allow synchronization with the central repository of information, giving you access to email, contacts, scheduling, and more, while on the road. This extends the power of communication from your desktop to your hip/pocket. You heard of having the world at your fingertips–now you can have the world in your pocket.
Whether heard, spoken or read, words are making the world a small place to live and play. Today’s technology affords us the luxury (and sometimes need) to be connected with everyone all the time. Now we can truly be in constant communication!