Communication forms the backbone of any team. The ways we work and communicate within our teams is transforming thanks to companies such as Slack, Yammer and countless other internal communication tools bringing easy to use functionality like group chat. These technologies are allowing employees to have more freedom than ever - providing the ability to continue collaborating effectively with teammates whilst travelling or working remotely.
At Clinked, we focus on the intersection between internal teams and external clients - where client knowledge lives. This intersection brings an interesting challenge for many client facing teams that need to both speak with their internal teams as well as clients. While internal communication tools help teams, at Clinked we're opening up the abilities for the functionalities of collaborative communication, including group chat, to occur in a secure, worry-free platform that can be opened up to external parties such as clients and syndicate groups.
We thought it was important to visit why this is so important for client facing teams and us at Clinked.
Let’s start at the beginning:
What is communication?
"The imparting or exchanging of information by speaking, writing, or using some other medium." - Oxford University Press (1)
In many businesses, internal and external communication are often thought of as two separate channels. However, they are very much linked to each other, particularly for client-facing individuals and teams. Both play essential roles in building trust and transparency, which are needed both internally with employees as well as externally with clients. Strong external communications will maintain great client relationships, while your internal communications will motivate employees to put in all of their efforts to helping build these external relationships.
Today, mobile devices are the standard communication tool allowing activities to occur via voice, messenger, email and applications. In the UK, where Clinked is based, it's estimated that 95% of households have a mobile device (2).
What are the top technologies enabling collaborative communication?
One company that has become a very familiar name in the teamwork and collaboration industry is Slack. Slack helps teams stay organised by keeping all conversations in an easy to navigate environment. You can share files, video chat and even integrate tools like Google Drive, Dropbox and Asana. There’s no doubt that using a tool like Slack will improve productivity within your internal teams and create better workflows.
However, internal teams are not the only relationships that needs technology - many tools are not addressing the needs of those requiring enhanced communication with external parties.
What are external parties using to communicate?
The technologies mentioned above may be opened for external parties to participate with internal teams. However, this brings both security concerns for businesses to account for. As such, teams are often pushed to default to email for back and forth collaboration.
Email communication can include information about highly sensitive projects and data submitted by outside groups and individuals that could be better served in a secure channel like a client portal, FTP site or VDR. By communicating via email, there are two key challenges: 1. requirement for enhanced protocols to ensure safe, secure email management and 2. lost knowledge when team members leave organisations or working group.
Another trend has been for messaging applications such as WhatsApp, Telegraph and WeChat to be one-to-one real time chat. WhatsApp has answered the charge by creating WhatsApp for business and starting to allow API integrations via Twilio for business to keep on trend with external communication trends (2).
The use of email and chat system independent of each other may help streamline effective communication with external parties. The lack of integration however creates difficulties of cluttered and unmanageable chains of communication. Often knowledge gets lost or needs aggregation into shareable documentation for knowledge or status sharing between parties.
Is there a way to better way to manage internal & external communication needs?
This is the issue that Clinked is addressing to enable this intersection to focus attention equally on internal and external communications. With Clinked, parties from each side can be managed in groups from a central environment, while still keeping the groups separate from one another in permission based, secure channels.
Whether planning events for clients, sharing files with suppliers or catching up in a 1-1 chat with partners, Clinked can make it easy to maintain knowledge of all collaborative communications in a central location while teams and external parties can still leverage the systems, including emails and mobile applications, as they like. Keeping everything in one organised, seamless platform that can also be fully white-labelled to align with company or client branding.
For many organisations, without clients or external parties there would be no team.
The adoption of collaborative communication tools with internal teams shows the potential positive impact, when used effectively, of them. The way teams communicate is important and technical tools really help. However, it makes us ask - Are we forgetting the reason behind the team? The people allowing you to operate and grow your business?
Interested to learn how Clinked can help collaborative communication between your team and external parties in a single secure and mobile oriented platform? Contact our team here to schedule a demo or try a free 10-day trial to see how it works anytime.