Small businesses are the backbone of the American economy, employing 48 percent of the total U.S. workforce, according to the SBA. As a small business owner, it’s imperative that you’re providing your employees with the tools they need to get their jobs done. One way to do that is by implementing quality unified communication (UC) and collaboration tools to support more efficient communication.
UC tools integrate voice, video, mobility and collaboration activities like instant messaging, resulting in a streamlined user experience and greater business productivity. The UC and collaboration industry has experienced tremendous growth and innovation in recent years. Analysts from BCC research estimated the global market for UC and collaboration solutions totaled $22.6 billion in 2014 and $26.5 billion in 2015. That growth is expected to continue with spending hitting $62 billion in 2020. While UC may seem like it’s just for enterprises, small businesses stand to benefit from the technology, too. If your business has yet to implement UC, it’s time you took a closer look.
Must-have Communication and Collaboration Tools
In any business, clear communication is a necessity, but for small businesses — where an individual can often be a whole department — cross-team communication becomes even more vital. To encourage effective, productive communication among small business employees, we’ve put together a list of must have communication and collaboration tools for small businesses.
Enterprise-grade Conferencing Tools
Even though small businesses are often thought to be contained within one location, conferencing is still an important communication tool. Conversations between small businesses and their suppliers, employees and customers happen daily. Therefore, it’s critical they have the tools to communicate effectively. However, opting for free conferencing tools often results in poor quality audio and service interruptions that could jeopardize customer relationships and business productivity.
With 99.99% uptime and 24/7 operator support, InterCall conferencing provides the reliability your business deserves. Users also enjoy enterprise-level features like call recording, playback and detailed reporting. Shareable, memorable personalized links allow hosts to easily engage attendees via email or IM. Calendar integration allows hosts to send meeting invites that are pre-populated with their conference call details in just one click in Outlook or Google Calendar. To start or join a call, participants simply click on the link.
Flexible work environments are clearly the future, so applications that support mobility and allow employees to work from anywhere at anytime are extremely important. InterCall’s MobileMeet, our free iPhone and Android app for Unified Meeting 5, helps employees connect with customers, prospects, partners and colleagues – across the country and overseas – with just a tap on their smartphone. MobileMeet still provides users with complete call management capabilities, by showing users who’s talking on the call, storing meeting profiles for quick access, enabling meeting scheduling and allowing users to invite participants to join a meeting with an SMS, email or a call. Users do not need to dial in manually or enter the conference ID.
Real-time Collaboration Capabilities
It’s paramount that small businesses collaborate in real-time to ensure clear communication, improve productivity and allow for quick team decision making. One way to foster collaboration among employees is with Unified Meeting 5, which allows employees to engage in audio and video conference calls, and share presentations, screens, documents, applications or their entire desktop. Users can even zoom in on what is being shared and annotate the application or slideshow directly. With Unified Meeting 5, users can also gauge opinions by polling meeting participants and then displaying the results live in the meeting or upon meeting exit/entry. And to accurately capture the discussions and outcomes of meetings, call recording allows participants to review the information, including all visuals, annotation, polling, audio and video, and share with those who were unable to attend.
Communication and collaboration are at the heart of every successful small business. To create a culture that encourages shared responsibility, teamwork and productivity, start implementing UC tools into your small business. If you’re interested in learning more about InterCall products or speaking with a representative, call 877.314.4341.