Strong, successful communication isn’t just another asset to your business. When done right, professional communication can boost your reputation, culture, and bottom line. And when not prioritized, challenges inevitably arise. The impact of business communication echoes across all facets of an organization, including the following:
- Employee happiness: According to a report from The Economist Intelligence Unit, 52% of employees cite poor work communication as being directly responsible for added stress, 44% point to it as a leading cause of project delays or failures, and 33% report that it negatively affects morale.
- Customer satisfaction and retention: In the recent Global State of Customer Service Report, 90% of consumers report that customer service is an important consideration when choosing a brand. Meanwhile, 58% of consumers worldwide are likely to end their relationship with a business due to poor customer service.
- Profits: Inadequate internal communication can cost companies $62.4 million per year, finds an SHRM report. And Forbes reports that subpar external communication can cost companies $75 billion annually. With this much of the company’s success at stake, fortifying your portfolio of business communication strategies has never been more important.
For business leaders looking to strengthen communication across their organizations, learning and implementing a few key business communication strategies can significantly improve individual and company-wide performance.
5 successful business communication strategies
Although there are several niche business communication strategies to consider—which may apply to your business—we’ve listed the top five universal strategies that all businesses should regard as critical:
Strategy #1: Focus on clarity and conciseness
Purpose: To ensure the message’s intent is clearly communicated to the audience with minimal confusion and misunderstanding.
- Provides a better chance for the message to fully land as intended
- Avoids confusion and misunderstandings that can lead to interpersonal issues between employees, lost business from dissatisfied customers, and missed business opportunities
- Creates an easy-to-follow pathway for readers’ next steps
- Reinforces the message author as a thought leader who has a clear vision and plan
Internal example: To illustrate the reasons behind an upcoming company restructure, a CEO wants to share their company’s mid-year health report. Rather than emailing employees the report and having them decipher information (perhaps incorrectly) for themselves, the CEO should condense the information into small bites of key information, calling out key statistics and clearly stating what they mean and why they support the decision to restructure.
Customer-facing example: A marketing leader is planning to roll out a campaign in the next few weeks detailing the company’s new and improved makeup line. Instead of announcing the new line with just images and product names, the marketing team should ensure that benefits, key improvements/differences, and product information (i.e., price, ingredients, availability, etc.) are explicitly stated in a way that ensures consumers will have all the information they need up front to make a purchase decision.
Strategy #2: Keep communications consistent
Purpose: To ensure alignment across all communication channels so that the brand image is focused and customers know exactly what kind of experience to expect.
- Reinforces brand strategy
- Provides rules for consistent content and design
- Aligns your teams for unified brand outreach across your business
- Ensures consumers have the same experience with your brand no matter which employee they’re communicating with
Internal example: Marketing employees at Brand X struggle with the discrepancies they see between the brand voice they are asked to use and the brand experience they live every day. To improve morale as well as promote a more cohesive brand identity, the team lead can use employee feedback as well as customer communications to create a new brand style guide. This will facilitate both consistency and authenticity. They can then implement a digital writing assistant like Grammarly that can quickly compare communications against a custom style guide to verify brand alignment and the right word usage within individual documents.
Customer-facing example: A customer is corresponding with an employee and having a positive, on-brand experience, but they need to transfer them to another employee to better assist them with their issue. To ensure that the other employee provides the same positive, on-brand experience, they can use that same custom style guide feature in Grammarly to ensure the correct verbiage and avoid jargon.
Strategy #3: Humanize your brand
Purpose: To show an appropriate level of empathy and friendliness, providing the audience with an opportunity to emotionally connect to your brand while fostering long-term relationships. Benefits:
- Enforces trust and transparency
- Improves the ability to establish and maintain meaningful internal and external relationships
- Gives your brand a relatable persona that both employees and customers can connect with
- Distinguishes your brand from the competition
Internal example: A new start-up company is deciding how to set itself apart. Creating mission statements, brand values, corporate initiatives, and employee-wellness events will give current and prospective employees insight into your organization’s persona. This will foster personal connections to the brand that will help keep employees aligned with company values and goals. This also encourages higher employee engagement, which studies show is a strong predictor of higher levels of productivity. All of these things together promote better collaboration, as team members will be more unified in their understanding of the brand as well as their contribution to its success.
Customer-facing example: A consumer is discussing their product concerns with a customer service agent. Instead of having a chatbot or automated voice answer, or having employees strictly stick to a designated script, customer service agents should feel empowered to provide a personal touch to their communications that are still brand-aligned. A digital communications assistant like Grammarly can analyze tone in real time, providing suggestions that better align with brand voice and tone.
Strategy #4: Practice active listening
Purpose: To gain further insight into your audience and show that you’re implementing changes based on their feedback.
- Makes customers and employees feel heard and appreciated
- Provides you with the opportunity to gain a better understanding of your target audience and their needs
- Allows you to have more meaningful communications with customers and employees
- Paints your company in an empathetic light
Internal example: Given the growing remote workforce, your employees may be doing more reading and writing than listening and speaking these days. However, active listening can be implemented into written communication just as easily as verbal conversation. Encourage team members to carefully read and engage with communications from their colleagues and managers to ensure everyone’s voice is equally heard. Let them know that it is perfectly acceptable to ask questions whenever necessary to clarify a point or otherwise deepen their understanding of a message.
Customer-facing example: The Head of Finance is analyzing the past quarter’s revenue report and trying to understand why there was a significant dip in customer sales. They turn to the Head of Sales for an answer, but they are equally unsure. To proactively avoid situations like this, the Head of Sales’ teams should be consistently gathering and reviewing customer feedback, whether through email, social media, or surveys, and encouraging customers to voice their opinions. To double down on their efforts, they should then be regularly showing customers how they’ve taken their feedback and implemented changes.
Strategy #5: Use asynchronous communication
Purpose: Embrace a more flexible workflow that takes into account employees and customers in different geographical regions and their preferred communication mediums.
- Supports a dynamic work environment
- Provides employees and customers with a choice of how they prefer to communicate
- Creates more opportunities for communication and collaboration
- Gives customers and employees the time and space they need to craft optimal responses
Internal example: Global teams that are in very different time zones may have trouble finding time to connect over video or on the phone (especially when working from home). Implementing asynchronous workspaces like Trello or Asana helps employees stay productive and collaborate effectively—even when they are unable to schedule live communications to strategize and discuss project progress.
Customer-facing example: A customer is considering a large purchase, but wants to know more about the product before making a final decision. Offering asynchronous communication options such as email or a support forum will allow the customer to take their time in reviewing the answers to their questions and asking follow-up questions as necessary. This will help them to choose with confidence and feel more assured about both their purchase and experience interacting with the brand. They will then be that much more likely to return to this brand for future purchases. One way to streamline the implementation process is through the use of a digital communications assistant.
How a digital communications assistant can augment the implementation process
An AI-driven communications assistant like Grammarly Business is easy to implement and integrate and can make the adoption of business communication strategies much smoother.
Not only does it check for proper grammar, spelling, and punctuation in real time, but it also analyzes tone and cross-references a built-in style guide that managers are able to customize to suit their business needs.
It also provides administrators with performance and usage analytics, allowing managers to easily spot areas for improvement and optimize procedures.
In a time where the world prioritizes communication, your business should, too.