Communication in business is essential. Not only does it keep everyone on the same page, but it enables you to work quicker and more efficiently which is especially crucial if you want to create more income as a growing service provider. So, if you’re ready to streamline communication once and for all, take a look at the 3 amazing communication tools for business that we recommend.
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How to Organize and Streamline Communication
We are big on organization and streamlining here at Team TM + Co. For all of our communication needs, we start by using the best tools around. This is what fuels our business success, especially with so many moving pieces.
Within your own business, you likely have different departments and areas that deserve their own special attention. With the proper communication tools, you can communicate within these areas separately with ease. No longer will your marketing communication be jumbled in with your client tasks (that’s just a mess for everyone!). So, if you find your communication is feeling off, it may be time to reevaluate your current communication lines.
There are 3 big communication channels that we suggest refining. They are your Email, Slack, and Task Comments in ClickUp! Each tool offers a different user experience and outcome. They can work fantastically within your business, but you need to understand why you need them (and when to use them).
So what exactly makes these 3 so special? Everyone is (of course) comfortable with email, but have you given Slack a chance yet? In Slack, you have the option to send DMs, as well as create channels for departments and clients. Then, by using ClickUp as your project management system, you’ll be able to comment on specific tasks to finish work quicker. This could look like communicating on threads within comments, attaching images and files, reacting to give quick approvals, and linking to other tasks and documents within ClickUp.
Let’s dive into how to use each of these communication tools in a little more detail.
How to Efficiently Use Email in Your Biz
First up, we have the ol’ reliable: email. Don’t get us wrong, email is great! But we beg of you, don’t use it as your source of direct communication. Especially once a new project has started.
Did you know that the average person receives over 100 emails a day? That’s a whole lot of info to filter through when you’re trying to get work done. And don’t get us started on those reply-all threads! If your inbox is receiving emails constantly all day, just think of how long it takes you to sort through them all. This is how vital information gets lost and pressing deadlines are missed. Email should only be used as an official communication tool; mainly during a project onboarding process by sending contracts and invoices and to confirm meetings.
When it comes to how we use email as a communication tool, it’s no different. Once we’re officially working with a contractor, all of our communication stays in Slack and ClickUp. The same goes for clients. Once the project has officially started, we limit the number of emails we send each other. This allows for all of our communication to stay streamlined and in one place.
The only people who should be reaching you through email are those who aren’t within your internal team or who aren’t active clients.
Pro Tip: If you find your email is too overwhelming, add auto-labelling. This applies a filter to people who often email you so you can always easily find their emails. You can also auto-star these emails too!
Utilizing ClickUp’s Task Comments for Communication
If you haven’t noticed already, we LOVE ClickUp! (we talked about why it’s our fave PM tool here.) Instead of using email, we use Task Comments in ClickUp to keep on top of updates and important communication regarding specific project tasks. This allows us to easily cross-reference our tasks and any comments left by a team member or client (yay for streamlined communication!).
With task comments, you can ask & answer questions, provide approval, or give feedback. The best part is that you can do this for anything related to a specific task. Having all of the comments in one place allows you to read through everything that’s going on with that particular task (and not have to search through multiple email threads or messages). They also help to keep tabs on the task’s history and how you’ve been working on it, including any links that a team member, client, or even yourself has added within the comments. This way, you don’t have to jump back and forth between communication channels to find the information you’re looking for.
Slack: The #1 Communication Tool for Service Providers
Finally, we come to Slack aka the best communication tool for service providers. Honestly, it will become your main hub of communication – ie. the place where everything goes down. Within Slack, you’ll find a few things to provide a top-notch user experience.
First up are Channels. Your channels are essentially internal conversations that are based on topics or departments. You can create a channel and invite anyone relevant to it. This is perfect for different departments of your business or different contractors working on your team. When we use Slack, we like to also send ClickUp updates to department channels. By doing so, we get an overview of everything happening in that department (all stored in one convenient place!). This could include status updates, assignee changes, comments, or attachments.
Slack also allows you to send Direct Messages that enable you to have one-on-one conversations with anyone on your team. You can also use direct messages for anything unrelated to specific tasks, or when you need a faster response than sending a comment in ClickUp. Slack also gives you the option to create Group Chats. These are similar to direct messages but are for a larger group of people. You can use them to get feedback from a group of people if it’s not related to a specific task.
The Mentions and Reactions ability of Slack provides you with quick updates on content. You can also view Unread channels to go through anything you’ve missed. (we like to mark channels as Read once we’ve dealt with them within ClickUp!). Even more, Slack acts great as a sharing hub. You can share files, documents, and links to files. To make it even easier, integrate Slack with your Google Drive, so you get an alert when someone shares a new file or folder with you!
Using Slack with Clients
Slack is a no-brainer when it comes to working with your clients. You can create a dedicated channel for each client so that you have one place to share links, documents, and images. This way, messages don’t get lost in your client’s overrun inbox or accidentally sent to their spam folder. Plus, you can set a notification schedule, so you’ll only receive notifications on your desktop or mobile device during your designated office hours. (Yay for boundaries!)
It’s also great for communication within your team with the use of audio messages (limiting the need for another tool) and video calls, streamlining your internal operations even further.
If you’re using Slack with multiple external clients, we recommend investing in Slack’s paid plan too! The paid plan is worth it just for the use of private channels alone, improving your client experience by creating a smooth way for clients to stay up to date on project statuses and being able to communicate with you directly (and in one place for you).
For more info on the best ways to use Slack, check out our 3 Slack Tips blog.
At the end of the day, the best way to create streamlined communication is by letting everyone know how you intend for your communication to work. Especially when it comes to clients. Let clients know what to expect from the get-go in their new client welcome guide so you can establish boundaries and set expectations.
Now, your clients know when they’ll receive a reply (and when you’ll be taking a well-deserved break). Be clear about when you’ll be actively online, the times you log off, and the days you are off (trust us, you’ll thank us later).
And, most importantly, set up your communication tools early on so that you can take these tips and put them into practice!