One of the straightforward ways in which a business can enhance communication efficiency, while at the same time reducing communication costs, is by ensuring that most of the communication is carried out via email. In this article, we will be looking at some of the steps that need to be taken/some of the measures that need to be put in place, in order to leverage on the power of email for business communications. Those include:
Setting up a reliable business email system
This is the first and most obvious step that you need to take, if you are keen on using email for business communications. Many considerations have to be made here. These include considerations like the one on whether you will be using a subscription fee-based email system, or a free webmail system. There is also the question as to whether you would be hosting your email server in-house or whether you would be using a web-based/cloud-based email server. Then there is the question as to whether you are to have a single email address for the entire business, or if you are to have the different staff members in the business having their individual email addresses.
Setting up a reliable business email system is not just a question of investing in reliable email communications infrastructure. It is also a question of coming up with business systems (procedures and routines) that will ensure that the system is used effectively and efficiently.
Sharing the business email address widely (with the business contacts)
Here, we are looking at the whole range of business contacts: from suppliers to clients and on to employees, shareholders, contacts in government offices… and so on. By sharing the business email address widely with these business contacts, you are sending them the message that the business can be reached through email. They are subsequently likely to consider using email (rather than, say, the phone), whenever they wish to communicate with the business.
Encouraging the business contacts to carry out the bulk of their communications via email
This is a question of sending the message, directly or indirectly (to the business contacts) that your business prefers to communicate via email. If you make this preference clear to the business contacts, they are likely to be (subsequently) inclined to communicate with the business via email. This is especially the case for contacts who wish to curry favor with the business: like, for instance, the suppliers, job applicants and so on.
Encouraging staff to carry out the bulk of their communications through email
Understandably, some staff members may prefer to carry out the bulk of their communications through the phone – because dialing numbers and speaking into a phone is easier than typing out an email. You therefore have to take some time to sensitize the staff members on the advantages of email communication, and why it would be a good idea for them to carry out the bulk of their communications via email.
Training staff on the proper use of email for business
Beyond encouraging staff members to carry out the bulk of their communications through email, you also need to go a step further and actually train them on the proper usage of email in business communications. This is a question of training them on things like how to compose proper business email messages, how to reply to business emails promptly and how to proofread emails before sending them. It may also be necessary to train them on how to differentiate between important emails and urgent emails as well as on the rules governing the copying, carbon-copying and blind carbon copying of business emails. Further areas for training include those of privacy and the legal aspects of email communications. Without this sort of training, the employees may not be able to use email effectively for business communications.